On the Edge

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Portugal  ,
Saturday, December 16, 2006

Another bright blue cloudless day had us down on Peneco beach after cramming a sizeable load of the the all-you-can-eat breakfast in. I bought two lime Calippo's and splashed through the surf over to the sandy caves, which provide access to another secluded restaurant location. It was hot, scorching summer's day hot, and with only ten days to go till Christmas it didn't seem to add up.

Albufeira's a lot bigger than it first appears. It's not just the old town and the beach-side outlets that grab you here, there's much more. The whole place retracts inland and offers all sorts of amenities, retail areas and places of interest. The location, charm and character of the place has had a huge positive affect on the old crumbs. We spent the best part of the day checking out the remainder of the town, the inland life and the local property prices. It's ear-marked.

Next stop was Lagos, a more distinctive location according to the map with it's large bold letters and city like orientation. We drove through and got a feel. It's very chilled out and not at all city-like, just laid back, quiet and friendly. We took a quiet stroll along the mariner. You could have heard a pin drop.

Just past Lagos out west is a place called Sagres, situated right on the south-west tip of Portugal. It's actually the most south-westerly point in Portugal - in continental Europe for that matter - and as we were only twenty or thirty minutes away (and time was moving fast), I wanted to get over there and see the sunset. I haven't seen the sun dip beneath the horizon since I was on the west coast of New Zealand, almost two years ago. And the fact that the very edge of the continent lay just up the road excited me beyond comprehension.

The road to the lighthouse was amazing, the land either side of it barren, sparse and secluded. Driving out there was weird and felt dangerously close to finding the very edge of the world - cliche maybe, but it was all incredibly surreal. We made it just in time. The landscape was gorgeous: a vast and ferocious ocean surrounding a huge headland of weathered cliffs, all bathing in the golden glow of a steadily setting sun. Perfect. With only ten minutes to go, we clambered down the rocks a little and got comfy on a protruding ledge. The old fella stayed well back - this was high up and stupidly sheer. But it made for one hell of a reward - the colours, the crashing tide and the absolute peace of the moment. None of it costing a penny, every bit of it priceless.

We spent the evening in Lagos after finding ourselves a great deal on a hotel. Forty five euros for three people! The saving paid for dinner. Lagos by night was great and again, the people were outwardly friendly everywhere we went.  It maybe a bit premature for such a bold statement, but even in just a couple of days Portugal has imposed a whole different feel to that of Spain. Things are a lot more laid back here and life seems to go on in a kind of peaceful, very relaxed way without hangup or hiccup. I can see this getting addictive. Of course, the Algarve is a tourist haven and I suspect can be a whole world of difference in the summer. It'll be very interesting to see what the west coast brings..
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