Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Day 12 - Traveling From Lagos to "The End of the World"
Down the coastal road less than an hour away from Lagos lies for centuries what people considered to the end of the earth. Sitting on a promontory overlooking the sea is a fort, once the location of Prince Henry the Navigator's school in the 15th century.
Just inside the entrance on the ground is an enormous wind compass or sundial lined with stones. Historians still are not sure of its purpose.
Prince Henry's school was very progressive for its time. Students were from many nationalities and religions and were required to keep journals of their voyages to study later. Subjects included math, science, and astronomy.
Walking the path surrounding the perimeter of the fort gave us astonishing views of the cliffs, vast beaches, and hidden coves. Teetering on the edges of the cliffs were fisherman with long fishing poles. The rocks inside the fort covering the parched earth looked barren, but on closer inspection yielded tiny wildflowers unique to this area that are adapted to thrive here.
This must have been a magnificent place to study. It was interesting to contemplate that the most famous explorers from the Age of Discovery studied here such as Columbus, Vasco de Gama, Magellan, Diaz, and Cabral. These explorers expanded Europe's knowledge and contact with the world.
We ate fresh tuna and salad at an outside cafe with a grand view of the water. This seems like it would be the perfect town if you want a small resort with whitewashed houses and uncrowded beaches. The ones we saw were completely covered with fine sand.
Back in Lagos we aded into the sandy Atlantic while waves crashed onto the beach. Tonight for dinner we ate at a great outdoor cafe that was perfect for people watching. Some of the people walking by looked burned and tired from a day at the beach, while others marched confidently by with surfboards. Inside the restaurant was live Fado music. At 10:00 pm every store was open including an optical store with a sign saying you could get an on the spot eye exam and fitted for new glasses within the hour. Another vendor with a table full of odd souvenirs including beaded mirrors and neon plastic purses called out, "Looky looky! The best collection around. Most beautiful and very cheap! Three euro for everything " This is a fun town. I'll miss it when we leave for Lisbon tomorrow.