Fisherman's Trail Portugal Portugal Main

Day 0: Copenhagen to Sagres

The alarm went off at 3.45 – I felt that I’d barely fallen asleep, but was still a relief, as I was dreaming that I’d overslept. After a quick shower and standing breakfast we were ready – my wife had “volunteered” to drive me to the airport, through the sludge and rain. 

The departure boards stated that the 5.45 to Lisbon would depart on time. One hundred plus other passengers were also up early and the flight was full. There was a slight delay due to de-icing. As so often before, I was asleep as the plane hurtled down the runway. We landed in Lisbon on time, but difficulties getting the door open, a bus to the terminal and a 10 minute wait for a plane blocking the access road, meant that I had to run for the connection to Faro on the Algarve coast.

Safely in Faro, my backpack collected, I left the arrival hall and walked out into beautiful sunshine – how different than the weather I left in Copenhagen. The bus along the coast would leave in an hour or so, so there was time for a cup of coffee, and time to enjoy the warmth of the sun. The bus to Lagos left the airport on time and for the next two hours I watched small towns, and a dry and hilly landscape pass by. Arrival in Lagos was scheduled to be five minutes after the bus to my final destination, Sagres, was scheduled to depart. We arrived five minutes ahead of schedule and I rushed off in the direction of the only other bus I could see where passengers were getting on. Luckily it was the local bus to Sagres. With a minute to spare, I saved a ninety minute wait for the next bus. A lot of school children, many English speaking, were on the bus. The bus stopped at a number of small towns and villages along the way, often driving along small roads to get to a village and often having to turn the bus around in small spaces, to be able to drive back along the same road and on to the next village.

Sagres sits on the western tip of Portugal, with cliffs and beaches – and little else. It’s primarily a surfing town and being on the tip of Portugal it has beaches pointing both south and west, so there’s almost always surf weather as the rolling waves hit the coast from the Atlantic. As many pictures from the coming days will show, the coastline is dramatic, cliffs with sheer drops and beaches, many inaccessible.

The bus dropped me outside the hotel and despite it being early afternoon, there were no problems checking in. It was the first day the hotel was open for the season, so everything was super clean and shiny. The room had a great view over Sagres Fort, a fort with one defensive wall to the east, whilst on all other sides, the fort was protected by the sheer cliffs of the headland. I went out to see what the town had to offer. There were many small guest houses catering for surfers, a couple of hotels and a number of surf shops to rent gear. Sagres is probably most famous for sharing it’s name with one of Portugal’s most famous beers. But as I later found out, it isn’t brewed in Sagres, but in Lisbon.

I bought a beer and a sandwich at the only supermarket, walked along the cliffs and waited for the sun to set – sunset is at 6pm at this time of year.  Whilst waiting a Brazilian guy cycled by on his mountain bike and stopped for a chat. He came from Brasilia 5 years ago (actually today was his anniversary in Portugal)), had never seen the sea before he moved to Sagres. He told me that he cycled out on the cliffs to see the ocean pretty much every day. But he still didn’t like taking a dip!

In the 4th century AC, a pile of human remains of Vincent of Saragossa drifted ashore at what is now Sagres, protected by a flock of ravens from the vultures flying above. Vincent was a Christian martyr who had been slaughtered and his remains sent to sea. The area was given the name Cape St. Vincent. St. Vincent’s relics were transferred to Lisbon 800 years later, still accompanied by a flock of ravens, and why the birds are part of the Lisbon coat of arms.

After seeing the sunset, I went back to the hotel to repack my backpack for walking tomorrow, had a ham and fig pizza and will went to bed early so that I’m ready for the, albeit, short first leg tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *