Post Camino R&R Day 8 – Gramacho

Today my hosts took me to the European peninsula’s most western point. A cape called Cabo de São Vincente, Cape St Vincent.

The cape is some 75km west of Ulf and Åsa’s home, close to the town of Sagres, Algarve, Portugal.

Farol in Portuguese above means lighthouse and that was our first stop for the day. Ulf was driving and Åsa and I came along for the ride.

The lighthouse and the area immediately around it was off limit to the public. Cabo de São Vincente was still a barren and fascinating place.

Practice your Portuguese here.

The land on both sides around the lighthouse descended into the water… Steep, steep…

One kept a respectful distance to the edges.

A familiar word and figure appeared on a sign at Cabo de São Vincente.

No, this is not part of Camino de Santiago de Compostela. GR11 instead is one of the European long distance walks, 840km long from here to Bay of Biscay. As the sign notes, you can walk parts of it. I’m sure that it would be pretty spectacular walking up the Atlantic coast.

More information about various walks from Cabo de São Vincente.

The road leading into Cabo de São Vincente. There were quite a few tourists there and trailers were you could buy food and drinks but who can blame them?

After Cabo de São Vincente, we moved onto Fortaleza de Sagres, at the next eastern point, Cape Sagres. Here we are looking back at Cabo de São Vincente.

A man known to history as Henrique I Navegador, Henry the Navigator, built a fort here. A fortaleza back in the fifteenth century. He also set up a navigators’ school.

Only this chapel and a large circle on the ground survive from Henry’s days. A massive earthquake in 1755 destroyed it all as well as devestated Lisbon. And the chapel most likely is more recent.

From here, Henry oversaw the beginning of the European world exploration and domination. Cabo de São Vincente was the end of the old world and Sagres was the beginning of a new one.

Today, you can pay a 3€ fee to get inside the compound and stroll around its edges. Try not to let the strong winds blow you away at this exposed place.

Of course, the inevitable vortexing had to happen here.

This odd building attracted our attention. Sure, you should not enter, but what is it?

The outside sign made it even more intriguing.

Inside, there were several openings through the ground and into presumably caves below. Where water had entered. Yes, from the chamber of sound you could hear waves crashing from somewhere underneath.

I half expected a blowhole effect, of water coming up through the grid like a sudden geyser. That didn’t happen but it was a strange experience.

After completing the stroll around the cape’s edges, it was time for lunch. Down at Sagres fishing harbour. At this interesting looking place.

It reminded me of the now demolished Grotta Capri in Kensington, Sydney.

First, Ulf, Åsa and I were the only diners in the restaurant but more people arrived later.

The restaurant walls up close looked like this. Bottles and rocks set into the walls in various patterns.

The white centre piece from the overview picture contained wine bottles. Presumably with some fantastic wine as there was a display of awards won.

While waiting for our lunch to arrive, Ulf completed his homework for their Portuguese language course. Today was school day and their lecture would begin in less than 3 hours. Nothing like leaving things to the end. Åsa, of course, had done her homework long ago.

The food arrived and I finally got to eat something from one of those famous Portuguese clay pots. I chose stuffed squid, Algarvian style, in a delicious garlicky sauce and with potatoes. Yummy food yet again!!

On food and drink, I have eaten far better food in Portugal than in Spain. Although, vino tinto at comparable prices is far superior in Spain than in Portugal.

After dinner, we drove to Portimão for Ulf and Åsa’s Portuguese language class. Held across this basketball court and behind the plane in that light yellow building.

Their class would take 2 hours and a bit and I spent that time wandering through the Portimão town. Unfortunately the weather was not good, rain and wind.

My impression of Portimão was poor. Partly because of the weather, but I found the town quite unattractive. Rio Arade was brown.

As I wandered along the streets of Portimão, I shot a few photos. Note the clash between the old building in the foreground and the newer taller buildings behind. I liked it.

These are 3 different homes judging by the fact that each one had a different number attached to it.

After Ulf and Åsa’s Portuguese lesson finished, we went out to the adjacent town of Lagoa for dinner. At this place called Restaurante Lamim. Serving “tradicionalmente saboroso” according to their business card. It was another favorite of my hosts.

Lamim’s signature dish was this.

The contents of the pan was designed to feed all three of us which it well did.

Of course, I scooped out the left overs when both Ulf and Åsa were full. That feed was way too delicious to let go.

As we got home, Ulf insisted that I tried another local delicacy. This spirit called Macieira.

The liquor tasted like a mix of brandy and port wine. It did smell like brandy but the taste was a bit sweet. One glass was enough for me. I am a “simple” beer and vino tinto person when it comes to alcohol.

Another gourmet eating day in Portugal. Tomorrow I will leave and be on my own again and the food standard is bound to drop.

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