From Lagos, we found ourselves back on the bikes again, off to Sagres, a town in the farthest SW corner of the country. The Cabo de Sāo Vicente is the farthest SW point of the country and of continental Europe, so has significance for mariner history. Sagres, in fact, was the home of a famous early Portuguese explorer, Henry the Explorer. Prior to Henry, there was little exploration of the ocean. Mediterranean yes, Atlantic no. The Atlantic was felt to be full of monsters and storms, and ships and skills hadn't developed to permit any oceanic voyages. Beginning with the exploration of the African coast using the famed "caravel", he led more than a dozen expeditions to faraway places, "discovering" the Cape Verde and Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores. He established a sailing school in Sagres, and Portugal became the major early power of the Age of Discovery, producing explorers such as Bartolomeu Dias (made it to the Cape of Good Hope) and Vasco de Gama (first to make it to India). One sees statues of Henry the Explorer all over Portugal.
Sagres has a surf beach feel with surf shops and a ton of cafes. Kiki is happy to find very nice coffee. We had a full day to explore the area, choosing to head to the stunning Cabo de Sāo Vicente - translated means Cape of Saint Vincent. It's a 7km ride along gorgeous cliffs interspersed with sandy beaches to get there. A lookout, museum and lighthouse sits on the Cape. An old monastery existed here prior to conversion to the museum.
On our way back to Sagres, we made a stop at Praia do Beliche, a sublime beach, nearly deserted, surrounded by cliffs and bizarre rock formations.
Next up is the trip up the west coast, the area called Costa Vicentina (again, named after the Saint). This is a coastal dune ecosystem with cliffs and beaches, with little surf towns and strong winds. We'll see how far we get. Our days are passing by, and we have Lisbon in our sites for June 8.