BootsnAll Travel Network

Archive for the 'Portugal' Category

« Home

Lagos: Cocktail Capital of Portugal

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

So this is how I spent the eve of my 40th birthday… at least what I can remember of it.
[read on]

Portugal Pictures (link)

Tuesday, December 14th, 2004

I’ve posted a few pictures here:

—The Bootsnall photoalbums are a nicer format and it was easier than uploading the pictures on this blog, but I will use some to illustrate future entries of which there are a few yet to come. On damp, dark winter afternoons, I will look at my notes and, if I can decipher them, tell more tales from Portugal.

On a personal side: we are still living in suspension. John is staying at the Treacle Mine, a pub where he has regular lock-ins with the owner. I have packed most of our belongings into boxes, thirty of them, and we are both waiting to hear if we have a new flat. The letting agents are currently credit-checking us (which, in my case, is a bad idea!) and have come across the first hurdle: our current address does not exist (it is not on the Royal Mail database!). Next they want to check whether I am a ‘valid person’. I probably don’t exist, either.

This will be a merry-go-round Christmas!

Images from the End of the World

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

Here, along with the text of a previous entry, are some photographs of Sagres .

Sarges was once considered to be the End of the World. Here, the seemingly endless ocean thunders into sheer cliffs over 100 feet high.

Sagres lighthouse.jpg

Across the bay at the Cabo de São Vincente, the Romans thought that the sun would sink hissing into the sea at the end of each day.


But Sarges was also the beginning of the age of exploration.

Henry the Navigator Prince set up residence here in the fifteenth century and founded the world’s first nautical academy. Magellan and Vasco da Gama went to school here, as did Bartolomeu Dias who discovered the seaway to the Indian Ocean in 1488.

The surviving north wall of the once mighty Fortaleza high on a clifftop dominates the scenery.

Sagres fort.jpg

It is a pity then that the fort itself should be up for a special award for worst developed historical site, if there was such a thing. The ancient walls are obscured by a coat of ugly concrete in dire need of a coat of paint and more concrete buildings are found inside. Only a few remnants of the once seminal school of navigation remain scattered on the site. Still the imposing walls of the fort offer some startling views:

Sagres fort 2.jpg

Sagres fort 3.jpg

Sagres fort 4.jpg

A cobbled path leads around the windswept, rugged clifftop to a modern lighthouse at the tip.

Sagres plain.jpg

Fifteenth century cannons still face menacingly out to sea.

Below the fort, surfers play in the waves. The beach, a bay of golden sand surrounded by spectacular jagged cliffs, is deserted as everybody is in the water.

I go down to sit on a rock and watch the sun fizzle into the ocean beyond the rim of the world. If I had a board, I would be back tomorrow.


Palaces and Churches

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

This blog is running a few days behind.

It seems that no trip, not even a mini-trip, is complete without
a) an episode of food poisoning,
b) a near-death experience.
Mine came when I was nearly razed to the ground by a little red van with flashing blue lights that bounced off the kerb inches away from me after taking a corner too fast. Before I could collect myself, it had disappeared down the Praça de Lisboa.
[read on]

Port in Porto

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

Long entry warning

This morning saw me trudging up the Castello Hill in Vila Nova de Gaia, across the river from the city centre where the world’s greatest port lodges are concentrated. I was heading towards W. & J. Graham’s (est. 1820) because a leaflet inviting me to a tasting was pressed into my willing hands as soon as I stepped off the heavily scaffolded Ponte Luís and—well, I might as well start up the hill and work my way down.

Not that this is a bad start: Graham’s 2000 Vintage Port was ranked in the top 100 wines of the year 2003 by Wine Spectator Magazine—out of a list of twelve thousand.
[read on]

Eucalypts and Grapes

Saturday, November 20th, 2004

Thankfully it wasn’t an infection—just the strangeness of it all, I guess, combined with my greed. One of those plates of food would be enough for two—or even four if John wasn’t one of them!

Tonight was snug and in the morning I almost felt tempted to stay. For a moment at least. What was I thinking? This id Camp Sh*t and after the weekend I think I am the site’s only inhabitant—it is time to move on. Not even the dolphins can keep me here any longer, but I leave with fond memories of sun-soaked days watching them from nearly deserted beaches. Even with all that litter, jellyfish (not a pretty sight on a sore stomach) and smoking chimneys in the distance, it was the closest to paradise I have been in a long time. One day I hope to return (and stay in the Pousada de São Filipe!).
[read on]

A sh*tty end to a bad day

Thursday, November 18th, 2004

There are (very few!) advantages to a polluted beach but one is that I usually find a piece of styrofoam to sit on. I almost wish there was enough of the stuff to carry back to Camp Sh*t—in fact if I was here for the long term I’d be sure to construct something. The nights are surprisingly cold.
[read on]

Having a field-day

Thursday, November 18th, 2004

The tide is well and truly out: Dolphin Bay is almost drained (you can wade across). This means the dolphins were in waters no more than 2m deep. There is no sign of them now (11:15).

A few old men dig in the mud for clams. Blue-green jellyfish the size of dinnerplates have washed up on shore, looking for all the world like ornamental blobs of snot.

The whole of the Portugese coastline seems to be lined with anglers, day and night, and they are out in force today. At first it looked as if angling was a male “club 75+” activity but that is only because most younger people work during the week. I wonder if all these people are fishing for sport or for need. Every now and then, one or the other fisherman pulls in a piece of seeweed. Today they only occasionally land silvery sargos, oval fish the size of the palm of my hand. There can’t be much sustenance in them
[read on]

Market Day

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

The old devil overcharged me! —Bus prices here are a bit of a puzzle anyway: sometimes its 1�30 and other times its 1�15 per ride. I handed over 1�50 and received back 5 cents.
[read on]

Dolphin Beach

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

I don’t know how long I will stay at Camp Sh*t. It could be some time.

After a hard days’ dolphin watching, I had dinner in the snackbar again; this could become a habit. Then again, you have to take the smooth with the rough (sleeping) and I tried to save some dosh by settling for the ‘Prato de Dia’. It was good, but not great.
[read on]