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Coimbra, Portugal

Written on: Sunday May 17th, 2015

A journal entry from: South Africa, Europe 2015

Moving on from Albuferia we went a little way down the coast to one of the more attractive towns on the Algarve, Lagos. It was here that Prince Henry the Navigator lived while he developed his navigation school in nearby Sagres. It's easy to see why as when we got to Sagres, found on the southwesternmost  corner of continental Europe, we were nearly blown into the ocean by the fierce winds. This is the beginning (or end) of the newly opened Rota Vicentina, a 240 km long-distance path that runs along the wild and largely undeveloped south western coast of Portugal. Seeing this as another opportunity to train for our upcoming Compostella hike we tried out the path first at Cabo St. Vincente in the very south, then in the middle, at a lovely little village named Zambujeira and finally at the northern end in a place called Porto Covo. This was indeed fairly gruelling but very beautiful hiking. We did a couple of plus-20 kilometre stretches going up and down cliff top paths, across sandy beaches and by picturesque coves.  We expected to see a good variety of seabirds but were also startled to encounter water buffalo and onyx. This is a place where fishermen still fish in the traditional way in tiny boats that seem somewhat inadequate given the ferocity of the ocean. From the coast we headed the van about 300km north to a charming little medieval village called Obidos which is lovely with its whitewashed houses and cobblestoned streets (makes good natural speed bumps for the crazy Portuguese drivers).


From Diane and Gregg on May 20th, 2015

We think that National Geographic would lucky to have many of your pictures ! Take care