Throughout the duration of Tyler’s trip to Portugal, I was incredibly ill. I slept most of the time and felt terribly shivery and gross for most of the time that I wasn’t sleeping. As a result, I didn’t get out for too many excursions, and Tyler’s blog posts have covered the majority of his second week with us in Portugal, where we relaxed in the Algarve.
There was one trip for which I did manage to drag myself out of bed: a day trip to the Fort at Sagres.
Sagres is the most south-west point of Portugal, with a large landmass that juts out into the ocean. The Fort of Sagres occupies this space, a place connected to Portugal’s history of exploration. The Fort may or may not have been connected to the work for Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator:
It is traditionally suggested that Henry gathered at his villa on the Sagres peninsula a school of navigators and map-makers. However modern historians hold this to be a misconception. He did employ some cartographers to chart the coast of Mauritania after the voyages he sent there, but there was no center of navigation science or observatory in the modern sense of the word, nor was there an organized navigational center.
Referring to Sagres, sixteenth century Portuguese mathematician and cosmographer, Pedro Nunes, remarked, “”from it our sailors went out well taught and provided with instruments and rules which all map makers and navigators should know.”
The view that Henry’s court rapidly grew into the technological base for exploration, with a naval arsenal and an observatory, etc., although repeated in popular culture, has never been established. Henry did possess geographical curiosity, and employed cartographers. Jehuda Cresques, a noted cartographer, has been said to have accepted an invitation to come to Portugal to make maps for the infante. This last incident probably accounts for the legend of the School of Sagres, which is now discredited. (Wikipedia)
The location was stunning. Walking along the cliffs, watching birds fly above the waves, and looking back at the rather flat, open space of the fort, it was a beautiful scene. As far as museums go, it was fairly unimpressive. Very little information was offered about what we were looking at, though Wikipedia has suggested that the Fort’s importance is up for debate, which may explain the lack of concrete information at the site.
In either case, it was a lovely day, made even better by a really fantastic seafood lunch. We dined at A Sagres, the closest restaurant to the Fort. While those around us were eating spaghetti and other such nonsense, we requested the daily specials, and were treated to an amazing seafood stew and freshly caught fish.
On the way home we took a scenic route along the coast. We stopped at a beautiful beach, and took a detour for a supposed ‘archaeological site of interest’ that was actually just a field.
Check out our photos to enjoy the view: