MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lagos and Sagres

Isn't it always the way that as soon as you get to a holiday destination, a nasty bug takes hold of you? It's certainly true with me. I suspect that traveling is to blame, but I am not sure whether it's the plane, or the general stress of traveling.

Anyway, onto the Algarve. Staying in apartments with a large number of British residents, and in a town with a huge number of Irish bars, it felt like Britain in the sun. Maybe that it some people's idea of a great holiday, but not for me. So I decided to see a bit more of the Algarve, especially the area where the ancient Portuguese mariners sailed from. With this in mind I booked myself on a tour of Lagos and Sagres.

The tour bus spent an age picking up people from different apartments and hotels. And there was an large number of different nationalities Americans, British, French, Dutch, German e.t.c. Unfortunately, this turned the tour into a bit of a farce. Some people stayed in the same seats, whereas some people kept chopping and changing. Things then became a bit heated, as couples who had been sitting together were split up. It certainly made the tour a lot more interesting!

Lagos was certainly a pretty town, although there wasn't particularly much to see. It's main claim to fame is that it was the ship building centre of Portugal in the time of Prince Henry the Navigator. So, for me, the highlight was the famous harbour, and here there was a full sized reconstruction of a mid-15th century Caravel.

We then moved onto Sagres, where the ships left for Africa. The tour guide explained that after the death of Prince Henry, the centre of Portugal's maritime empire moved to Lisbon. And Sagres declined markedly after that. It certainly showed, as all that is left is a little fishing village.

Finally, we saw the 'end of the world', Cape St Vincent. The lighthouse is one of the world most powerful, with a beam that can be seen for hundreds of kilometers. It was impressive, although the high cliff did nothing for my fear of heights!


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