A visit to Sagres
27 October 2009 | Lagos
Steve drove us to Sagres one afternoon and we visited the fort built on a windswept shelf-like headland about 3 km from Cape St. Vincent the south-western most tip of Europe. The promontory of Sagres was important for sailors because it offered a shelter for ships waiting for favourable winds before rounding Cape St. Vincent with it's potentially dangerous coastal rocks.
Like the fort in Lagos the entry fee was cheap as not much of the 16th century fortress remains with some restoration in the 20th century. Although it was a sunny day the wind was strong and the scene quite stark and atmospheric making it easy to imagine what it was like for the cold soldiers years ago keeping their lonely vigil, tirelessly pacing the fortress battlements with their sheer drop below and the sound of wild waves crashing on the jagged rocks. There are several interactive displays on various topics including a giant pebble compass rose - 43 m diameter, divided into 32 segments instead of the usual 40.
On the west side of the promontory there is a series of caves gouged out by wave power from the tall cliffs and the noise of the waves flowing in and out of them was deafening, with the resulting spray towering impressively high into the air - so we took a few snaps of it. Another reminder of the power of the sea.