Monday, October 12, 2009

End of the World: Tour guides know what they are talking about.

The first break finally came. Yes, equivalent to our fall break with a lack of color changing leaves and wind. This past weekend, we headed on a bus to Lagos, Portugal, home of American, British, and Austrailian tourism, but well worthit considering.

After a long night of galavanting through the small town, we decided we needed to explore a bit further away from the hostel the following morning. The receptionist had shown us a map of Portugal and pointed out a very exciting stroll to the tip, which would only take about 30 minutes. How exciting to reach the end of the world! (If you know your geography, I hope your mind is processing the lack of facts in this already...If you don't, you have more credibility in understanding our unexpected adventure.)

Entonces, after an amazing free breakfast of bread, yogurt, ham, egg and cheese, juice, cafe con leche...I could go on...we put on our beach clothes, flipflops and all, and headed to la punta (the tip). After a series of questioning our route, we asked a tour guide, "Is this the road to Sagres?" (Sagres is the name of the lighthouse, something obviously found at the point of land)He assured us it was so but we avoided our doubts even though he added the words "but you need to take a bus, it's really far from here."

Ignoring advice from a semi-local, we continued onward. We began to see signs for Sagres. We saw the coast on our right and the coast on our left. The tip must have been ahead. Yet, in the heat of the day, after walking for an hour, we came upon the end of the sidewalk. This did not deter us. It should have though. Of course there was plenty of room to walk safely on the side of the highway, so we continued to do so. Two hours later, we turned a corner to see nothing but land in front of us. With the little inteligence we could scrounge up at that point, due to dehydration and loopiness, we inferred that the tip of Portugal was not ahead.

Yes, we finally turned around. We walked a while until we absolutely had to refuel with water and a snack. To our amusement, the only option was to stop at a classy golf resort. (Remind yourself as to what we were wearing...) With our burnt skin and tired legs, we sat down to eat a quick wrap amongst the many British wearing collared shirts and slacks. I asked the waiter, "How far are we from Sagres?" His reply: "Ha. About 40 kilometers." This is when we read the map. The first map we had received was only a map of Lagos. And to avoid ambiguity, the tip of Lagos is not named Sagres. However, Sagres really is the tip of Portugal. A much further walk than 3 hours. Fail on the receptionist's part. Fail on our part. But a grand and unexpected adventure nontheless.

We did actually find the tip of Lagos...the next morning. It was a 30 minute walk. Word of advice, listen to tour guides as they generally know what they are talking about.

Indicator to turn around numero uno.

The beach was beautiful!

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