I’m At A Surf Camp Hostel In The Portuguese Algarve….The Bottom Coastal Region Of This Gorgeous Country
August 5, 2013 by admin
Here I sit this evening, surrounded by Surfing Dudes and Dudesses……an endless film of famous surfer exploits and fabulous waves is playing on the large-screen TV here in the lounge. It’s hamburger night so there’s no need for a dinner trip to the little town of Sagres, here at the End of The World. My theme on this 2nd around-the-world journey has been to visit the four Ends of The Earth that I was aware of: Stewart Island, off New Zealand; Tasmania, off Australia; Cape Town, in South Africa; and (already accomplished) Ushuaia, Argentina in South America.
Suddenly, I heard about this tiny little Cabo San Vincente, here in Sagres, Portugal. It may be the lowest point in Portugal but it’s nowhere near Antarctica. Why in the world do locals think of it as “the end of the world? Well, it has to do with Columbus and his frightened crew. In that day, people knew that the world was flat and somewhere out there was an edge where ships just fell off. It was right beyond that blue horizon calling seductively to the Portuguese explorers when they left this land behind.
Madrid and Seville, Spain also quote and claim Columbus but surely, he called in here on his way into the Atlantic Ocean. Apparently, at that time, Sagres was a pirate stronghold and the fortress on the point belonged to the bad guys, no doubt to keep the Law away. Nowadays, everyone Portuguese has turned into wonderfully welcoming hosts for the August tourists who happily take over their land.
This is the height of the season, but it’s not too bad as far as the crowds go. One reason that I have saved Western Europe for last is that I didn’t want to be part of the swarm. Maybe it’s global economics, but hostel reservations are still easy to come by at the last minute. I sure haven’t seen many Americans over here, though. Germans and Scandinavians are the most frequent, as well as Asians. But, on the whole, tourism is probably down.
On Wednesday, August 7, I’ll bus on to Lisbon where a dormitory bunk awaits me at the Home Hostel where Mamma cooks a three-course meal for guests every night. Ten Euros ($13) is a very good deal for dinner in the capital.
A huge heat wave, blamed on the Spanish Plume, is apparently cooking all of Europe, including normally chilly England. It’s very hot and bright here, too, but there is a constant strong wind blowing off the water, so the heat is not as it is in the concrete avenues of the big cities. You might get blown over and your skin might fry but it’s better by far to be in a small village on the coast. Lisbon is a big city but it’s close to the water and I expect it to be wonderful. Seafood makes all of life better and there is a whole lot of that in this country.