Portugal Sagres 2001.01.16 - 01.18

Southwest Point of Europe

Sagres is a sleepy fishing town at the end of the bus route from Lagos, the southwestern most train stop in Portugal. Every restaurant and every other house in Sagres offer rooms to tourists, though in the slow winter months many are closed.

Sagres is cheap, friendly, and peaceful. Expect to greet anyone and everyone as you walk through town. It doesn't matter if you don't speak Portuguese. Grandma will tell you about the weather with emphasized hand movements. Grandpa loitering the sidewalk will rouse his neighbors to find you information. As in much of Portugal, most everything is in a state of disrepair. But the people are great.

In history, Sagres is famous for its nautical school where Christopher Columbus learned to navigate. Even today, standing on the coast looking at the ocean and sky blend in the horizon invokes the sense that the earth suddenly ends. The courage it took Columbus to sail off the edge is unimaginable.

The blue and red speck in the center of this photo is a fisherman casting his line into the crashing waves 100s of meters below. Locals tell us that several people perish over the edge each year.

Cabo de São Vicente is the southwestern most point of Europe. It's 7 km from the center of Sagres - a 1½ hour walk each way or 10 minute bus ride (only 2 per day).

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