What would you expect to find at the End of the World? Certainly not a gift shop selling exceptional marine sculptures! But I was very taken with ‘Nemo’ and his friends, even though I’d come all this way to admire a lighthouse and gaze out in the direction of the Americas. Cabo de Sáo Vicente lies at the south westernmost tip of Portugal, and indeed of Europe, just 6 km around the coast from Sagres. It’s a spectacular location, the cliffs rising almost vertically from the Atlantic to a height of 75 metres.
Peer hard at the clifftops and you might observe some tiny humans, just to give you some idea of scale. Not being especially nimble of foot, I usually remain behind the camera on these occasions. Opening time is at 10.00 and fortunately this seems to coincide with the time at which the sea fog starts to roll back, revealing the stacks in all their beauty.
As you round the bay approaching the lighthouse, your eye is snagged by the Fortaleza de Beliche. I never can resist a good fortress, and as we were a little early for the lighthouse it made sense to go there first, though not quite sure what we’d find.
More enticing views, and a rugged path down the cliff, but my right flipflop chose this moment to part company with its sole. Obviously a warning! Running repairs meant that I could at least slow shuffle as far as the lighthouse. Still, a 16th century fortress, once under attack by Sir Francis Drake, no less, was a welcome addition to my walk. Access to the chapel is no longer possible as the site was closed due to erosion in the 1990s. Seabirds glide around the cliffs and dolphins frolic in the water below. Here, nature reigns supreme.
The promontory of Cape St. Vincent (Cabo de Sáo Vicente) was regarded as sacred ground as far back as neolithic times. The Ancient Greeks dedicated a temple here to Heracles, and of course, the Romans were here too. Naval battles aplenty were fought offshore, but it’s easy to imagine this tranquil place as having magical qualities. The setting sun hissing into the ocean was once thought to mark the edge of the known world.
The present lighthouse is 24 metres high and was built in 1846 over the ruins of a 16th century Franciscan convent. It guards one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and is among the most powerful lighthouses in Europe. Much later we could see it from our hotel in Sagres, as dusk fell. But it’s time for a much needed coffee stop, a little more artwork and some great entertainment, watching people clamber onto the giant chair for a photo opportunity. And yes, the coffee and pastries were extortionate, but they were awfully nice.
When we left there was a whole array of takeaway coffee and burger vans setting up in the parking space outside. Understandable, but, as there was no admission charge on the lighthouse, I didn’t begrudge spending a little in the coffee shop. If they’d sold flipflops in the gift shop I’d have bought those too. My one disappointment was not to be able to ascend the lighthouse.
Sagres was an interesting experience and I loved the sea breezes, but I’m keeping posts minimal for now. Many thanks for your continued support. Life remains hot, and busy. Apologies if I’ve missed anybody from the following round up. Enjoy!
Let Drake take you on a voyage of discovery :
Carol shares the beauty of her native Australia :
And Rupali always shares the gift of love :
Midsummer seems so long ago, but you’ll enjoy this offering from Ulli :
Who doesn’t love poppies? Margaret’s an early riser :
Janet’s away on holiday, but she left this treasure before departing :
And it’s a while since Sandra wrote this. The blackberries may be ripe now!
Eunice walks most weekends, in a lovely area, so if you visit her you’ll be spoiled for choice :
I don’t know if you know Aiva, but she does some fabulous walks in Ireland :
And finally, out and about again, Cathy takes us on an irresistible tour of street art :
Wherever you are, I hope that life is treating you kindly. It certainly has its ups and downs.