Tuesday 23 November 2010

Haul Away to Santiago.

There was a footpath that went a couple of kms along the cliff top from Boca do Rio to Salerna, the nearest village, so after breakfast on Sunday we set forth up the hill in search of elevenses. What we found was a lovely little fishing village with a couple of cafes and a gift shop.
There is quite a big English influence on most of the Algarve and along with grilled sardines, one of the cafes was offering Full English Breakfasts. Very tempting, but we managed to resist and just had coffee. We have promised ourselves that when we’re on the boat we’re going out at least once a month for a Sunday breakfast in a cafe. Fried bread, big pot of tea, grilled tomatoes, the lot!

When we got back we turned back onto the now familiar N125 for the final 12kms to Sagres, and the end of the world as ancient mariners knew it. When we got there were quite a few other vans already parked up; we’ve noticed more and more of them the further towards the end we’ve got, and at Sagres there were lots. Probably because there’s a lot of good surfing and kite surfing to be had here. On the whole they are very well behaved and responsible; we all know that we are only tolerated by the locals as long as we spend some money and don’t make the place look like a gypsy camp.
We walked from the town to the very impressive and impenetrable looking fortress on top of the cliffs at the Punta de Sagres; Portugal’s Land’s End. We paid our three Euros each to get in, only to find that the whole place was a reconstruction of what they thought the fortress might have looked like before it was destroyed in countless wars and an earthquake, if indeed there had ever been a fortress, and if had stood where they think it perhaps might have. Possibly. Whether it was or not, it was worth the entrance fee to see the Spiderman antics of the fishermen catching sardines from the top of very high and very vertical cliffs.
On Monday morning we said goodbye to the Algarve, turned away from the south coast and started our long journey back to Calais and the UK. We’ve got a ferry booked for the 16th Dec and a week house sitting in France before then so we’d better get going. As we went north we were surprised how quickly the scenery changed and how green everything got. It wasn’t long before we started to notice cows and sheep in the fields and even some pigs having a dinner of acorns under the cork-oak trees.
We stopped in Odemira for elevenses; nice bridge and river, and then pulled up just north of Sines at Santiago do CacĂ©m. Without really meaning to, we walked up to the church and castle on top of the hill where we found a very helpful tourist info office. The lady gave us a free town guide with an illustrated walk, so even though we’d only gone out to find somewhere better to park, we spent a very enjoyable and informative afternoon finding out all about the seven hundred year history of a lovely little Costa Azul town.
This is the old fire station right in the middle. Tight corners and 1-in-4 hills all round it.

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