Jo’s Monday walk : Fortaleza de Sagres

The Wind Compass in Sagres fort

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.

The town beach at Sagres, with the Fortaleza in the distance

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

The Rose Compass, or sundial

Inside the simple church

Inside the simple church

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

The shoreline crumbles beneath you

The canon still poised, ready!

With canon still poised, ready!

In the far distance, Cabo S. Vicente lighthouse- the most westerly spot in Europe

Far distant Cabo S. Vicente lighthouse- the most westerly spot in Europe

The beacon, closer to hand

The beacon, closer to hand

Yellow polka dots strewn among the plummy aliums

Yellow polka dots mingle with the plumy aliums

The view back to Mareta, and beyond

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! walking logo

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!  :

Jude took me down Memory Lane with a glorious evening stroll around Derwentwater  :

You will certainly not have ‘the blues’ when you see Elisa’s post!  It made my heart skip  :

A friend you may not know, Kat, has introduced me to beauty and thrills in Corsica.  It’s one not to miss  :

And last, but never least, Yvette has gone on a Summer break, but not without leaving me a great post :

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.


  1. What glorious weather Jo – odd that while I’ve been writing about the most westerly point on the British mainland you’ve been photographing the most westerly point in Europe!

  2. Another beautiful walk, Jo, with magnificent views. It’s great to know Christine is still reaching out to you.

    I’m sure that tin of Sagres was a great relief and thirst-quencher. You had a very busy day!

  3. Christine was certainly walking with you in spirit Jo. Re-reading her response to my comment describing her last day, had me in tears as well.

  4. Helllllloooooooo Jo! I apologize…my comment on this post went back to the ping back and appeared on my Pacific Blues post. 😛 I can’t thank you enough for mentioning it – it fits in nicely with your gorgeous post. I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone this week!
    Take care!

  5. When I look at these photos I think of a combination of Malta and Corsica. I want to go there some day (Sagres, Mareta, all of it), and if I do it will be cause of your posts 🙂

    1. I hope you make it 🙂 I think you’ll like it there. I have a distinct urge to visit Croatia these days. Split and the islands look sublime. And I’d just have to say hello to Zagreb 🙂

  6. Jo, what a beautiful tribute to Christine – again …. I can see that she keeps your heat warm, wonderful. I never had the pleasure to get to know her.
    Christine would have loved to do this walk with you – and share your moments. Portugal has so much history … just love your ocean images.

    1. Hi Vivi 🙂 This is the more dramatic end of the Algarve and I like a tootle down there now and again. To blow the cobwebs away 🙂 It’s usually breezy but not that particular day. It was a long day because we started with the walk at the dam, then to Figueira beach and then quite a lot more walking at Sagres. But it was all beautiful 🙂

      1. It is a wonderful post, Jo, because it’s so fare of the picture most us have about Portugal. At least the one I have, but it’s the same with Spain and their famous tourist islands – they are very dramatic too when leaving the beaches behind.

    1. Hi Laurie 🙂 Yes, our Silver Wedding anniversary should be spent at Monet’s Giverny, if all goes to plan. I’m getting excited! When are you going to Paris?

    1. The funeral will be 2.30 in the morning, UK time, Lynne. It’s been a sad old week but I’ve celebrated Christine’s life as best I can. Hugs to you and Ron 🙂

    1. Thanks for making me smile, Jill 🙂
      I was on the north east coast of England this morning and it did start out blue! Fortunately we had finished the cliff top walk when the skies opened at 2.30. I think I have photographic evidence 🙂

  7. Just stunned that I was chatting about Glastonbury with Christine one week and the next she is gone. Thank you for introducing us to each other. The solitude of your Algarve beaches seem like a good spot for reflection today.

    1. So very sad, and, as you say, totally unexpected. I had no idea what to do with myself when I first heard the news last Wednesday morning. It seemed impossible!
      We almost arranged to meet when she and Stuart were in Andalucia but our schedules missed by one day. How very strange is life! We can only live and love 🙂

  8. I love the cliffs the most. It well reminds me of my trips to Cape Hedo and Cape Kyan in Okinawa… especially the mix of greens and stones on the ground.

  9. Lovely walk, Jo. I just popped over to look at Christine’s Glastonbury Tor walk. Thanks for the link. I’d missed seeing it last week. Sagres looks like a great place to explore, but your comment, “the shoreline crumbles beneath you” is a tad worrying.

    1. I thought you might, Gilly. She was on her way to yours, wasn’t she? God bless!
      I wasn’t sure if I should post a walk this week, or just focus on Christine’s, but I think she would have liked this walk, if we had managed to meet up in the Algarve. I hope I got the balance right.

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