Today I caught the 9am train from Faro to Lagos. Lagos is known to be a touristy beach town inundated by British tourists. Arriving, Lagos is strikingly a tourist trap, but thats not to say it isn’t nice. The weather today was excellent. It felt like home in Huntington Beach… A nice 75 degrees outside, sun shining through patchy clouds, the beaches packed. The town is cleaned than any of the towns I’ve passed through so far on my way. Portugal as a whole has struck me as much like Mexico. The towns are usually small and buildings in poor repair. There isn’t a whole lot of development or farming going on, but areas can be very nice, especially where the tourists have flooded. There is a lot of graffiti, as much as you would see in Mexico as well. I guess these are characteristics of the second world country on the brink of being economically successful, but held back my corruption in the government. My Portuguese is improving bit by bit, I’ve now practiced using phrases like “I have a reservation.” I hiked my way up to my hotel which was a good 4 miles I believe. When I finally found my hotel (with no printed map, going off memory for the most part), I dropped off my luggage in my comfortable room. Strangely enough they only have 1 type of room, so even if you reserve a single like I did, you still get 2 beds, but it costs 20 euro less than if you reserved a double. There is no AC, but the breeze coming through the window is pleasant. Then its off to the beach for a swim!
Spending time on the beach just brings new appreciation for why so many people flock to Lagos. The water is maybe a couple degrees colder than Huntington Beach, but still very refreshing. The sun was shining down on the white sand beaches lined by cliffs. There are no waves at all, just the occasional wake from little boats zipping past with tourists headed to “grotto tours” which they charge 20 euro for… The sand because of the lack of waves is much coarser than what you see in HB, but thats a plus, it doesn’t hold heat as well so its a pleasant warm, not burning hot, and its easy to get off with just a couple stomps. I floated out in the water for a good hour watching boats sail past and people enjoying the beach. It really doesn’t get much better. I’m a little surprised when a Portuguese woman swims right past me without a top on… but she was over 50, which wasn’t all too attractive.. I’m reminded I’m not in California. After a bit I head ashore, my feet are cold, and I’m hungry. I go back to my apt to shower off the salt water then head down to one of the cafe lining the cliff looking out over the beach and the ocean I was just on. The pizza I ordered was nice, and I think I deserve spending 5.50 euro after hiking my way to the hotel instead of taking a taxi or the bus. Now its time to go explore a bit.
The beach Paria de Camrilo is well know and about a mile from my hotel west, pictures of it show up at most every site you visit about Lagos. I take a few pictures from the cliff above then walk the other direction, back to town to see the other major tourist sight, the Moorish castles left when the Christians forced the Moors off the Iberian Peninsula. They’re need to look at from the outside, but the small fortification on the beach costs 2.50 euro to go in, and is too small to hold much of interest so I took a pass, the other larger wall was really there just to protect the inner most part of the Moorish stronghold, which has long since been replaced by Portuguese houses. I feel a siesta(or what ever the Portuguese call it) coming on, and go back to my hotel for a nice 3 hour nap, feeling exhausted from all the hiking but content.
I’m struck by how good of an investment buying land out here on the western outskirts of Lagos would be. With the European Union’s economic influences, the new economist president, and all of these tourist dollars flowing in, how Portugal could stay as poor as it is for long. I also don’t think the property values must be high since there are so few houses lining the cliffs, mostly just restaurants overlooking the more popular beaches. Properly like this would sell for a good million or so I suspect back state side. Its much like Mexico in that respect too, but without as much corruption, and it being part of an organization like the EU.
My hotel here in Lagos was supposed to have internet, however apparently they’re having technical difficulties. There is an internet cafe down the street, but I don’t think I should spend 3 euros($4) for it, so I’m going to wait till I get to Lisbon the day after tomorrow to post. I don’t expect my hotel in Évora to have internet