The Wind Compass, inside the fort at Sagres
When we started our epic journey, I had the west coast of the Algarve firmly in mind. Known for its cooling breezes on warmer days and its wild stretches of Atlantic facing beach, I planned a visit to the Costa Vicentina. Unfortunately, by the time we had completed last Monday’s walk at the Barragem de Bravura and our sojourn at Figueira beach, it was already mid afternoon.
The uppermost thing in our minds was a drink. Water, wine, orange juice- almost anything would have done by this stage! So, what did I end up with? A tin of Sagres, the locally brewed beer. I am not, by nature, a beer or lager drinker, but the popping of the can was bliss to my ears. Parking the car on the clifftop at Sagres, we almost ran downhill to the nearest kiosk. Michael selected his favourite, Fanta orange, and sat, staring vacantly at yet another beach.
Mareta, the town beach at Sagres, with the Fortaleza in the distance
I had planned to call at Sagres on my way back from the Costa Vicentina. The last time I had been, it was a chilly, overcast day, early in the year. Not today!
The town has an interesting history and is closely linked to Henry the Navigator, who set up a nautical school locally. He helped to finance the Portuguese voyages of discovery, and by the time of his death, in 1460, landings had already been made at Sierra Leone in Africa. An amazing achievement for the tiny caravels! The Sagres link above takes you to Wikipedia, for some details.
Having got a second wind, it was time to stroll through the town and along the Rua de Fortaleza, the approach to the mighty fortress. Of course, Michael wanted to know why we couldn’t just have parked in the enormous parking bays beside the fort. Where’s the drama in that?
The Rose Compass, or sundial
The approach to the fortress walls
Details of the Rose Compass
The church of Senhora da Graca
Inside the simple church
The beautifully peeling bell tower
The original church plan
The purpose of the Rose Compass is a little uncertain. It may well have been a navigational aid, or just a sundial. The setting is undeniably powerful. Soaring cliffs drop away on either side of you, as you gaze out at the open sea.
Work on the huge battlements is ongoing, and not entirely sympathetic, but I found myself moved my the place. A path leads out around the headland, with majestic views.
The shoreline crumbles beneath you
With canon still poised, ready!
Far distant Cabo S. Vicente lighthouse- the most westerly spot in Europe
The beacon, closer to hand
Yellow polka dots mingle with the plumy aliums
The view back to Mareta beach
The feet were tiring as we headed back through the hefty tunnel entrance. Tiny Praca da Republica, the main square, has a choice of restaurants with outdoor tables. ‘A Cabana’ suited us nicely. I imagined it would be a lively spot on an evening but it was time for the drive home. It had been quite a day!
Even as I was taking this walk, I just knew it had to be one of my Jo’s Monday walks. What I could never have imagined is what took place last week. On Sunday, 30th June, I received a walk from Christine at Dadirridreaming, back in Australia after a wonderful European holiday. She and Stuart had taken the walk up Glastonbury Tor one rainy day on their visit to England. We joked about the weather!
In this virtual world of ours, it’s easy to miss comments sometimes. Christine’s last comment to me, on 1st July, I didn’t spot. She was advising me that I should link my walking logo to my Jo’s Monday walk page, as she had done. I have, Christine. I have! How very typical of this dearly loved woman, and I’m in tears again as I share this with you.
It’s hard to follow that, isn’t it? But when you have some time, please return here and share the walks of my other contributors last week. There are some very fine ones.
Drake takes us to beautiful Berchtesgarten :
It was wonderful to have been joined this week by Laura. And only 3 weeks after back surgery, that’s impressive! : http://telltaletherapy.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/walkabout-1-st-margarets-to-rye-house-circular/
Jude took me down Memory Lane with a glorious evening stroll around Derwentwater : http://smallbluegreenwords.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/a-lakeside-evening-stroll/
You will certainly not have ‘the blues’ when you see Elisa’s post! It made my heart skip : http://elisaruland.com/2014/06/29/hiking-shorts-the-pacific-blues/
A friend you may not know, Kat, has introduced me to beauty and thrills in Corsica. It’s one not to miss : http://www.thecorsicablog.co.uk/2012/09/hiking-la-restonica/
And last, but never least, Yvette has gone on a Summer break, but not without leaving me a great post : http://priorhouse.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/walking-in-rva-street-portraits-3/
It’s been an emotional week, hasn’t it? I’m off out walking very soon but will catch up with you all this evening. Have a good week my friends.