If someone told me I would be in the bluest waters in the world a couple of weeks ago, I would not believe them in the slightest! But, here I am, in Lagos, enjoying the sunshine (for half the day), the warmth (when I’m out of the wind) and one of my favourite hostels so far. It goes to show that not all hostels are the same, and when I stepped into TagHostel, something just felt different. Rather than a party hostel, it’s more of a big family home, and rather than pub crawls and beer pong tables, there were family dinners and pictionary. Just what I needed to unwind and detox from a couple of weeks of drinking and eating myself silly, all coming to climax in the wedding!
Lagos is absolutely beautiful, and while I slept for a significant amount of time on the bus on the way, I still managed to capture glimpses of all of the beautiful beachside towns of the Algarve region. It just tells me that there’s always more to see, even when you think you’re ticking places off your list, you only add three or four more back on. Lagos is in the Algarve region or Faro region in the South of Portugal, the last part of land that was officially handed back to Portugal. At one point it was the centre of the European slave trade, early settlement of the Carthaginians who were recruiting Celtic tribesmen in the war against the romans. Following the Fall of the Roman Empire in the 6th Century, the town was occupied by the Visigoths, with the Moorish people arriving in the 8th Century- all very similar to much of Spain’s and Portugal’s history! The town was fortified within the city walls and the Lagos Castle, which only fell in 1755 due to the tsunami, a repercussion of the HUGE earthquake (remember the one that flattened Lisbon- yeh that one), which wiped out a THIRD of the population here. Nowadays, much of Lagos is occupied with the tourism and fishing trade, especially near the coast, but inland, farming and forestry mostly contribute to the economy.
There are SO many beautiful beaches in Lagos, every cove and turn there’s a new beach, but some are only accessible via the water! Day one I hiked to the lighthouse and visited the beaches I could access, day two I took a kayaking tour to access the ones I couldn’t get to, and some caves too! You only had to paddle one way for the kayaks, because of the winds, you may never get back. Which made for a VERY cool journey back to the pier. Made even colder if you FALL IN like the couple at the very end of our little kayak train… whoops. Via the kayak and land, I visited the famous rock formation “La Ponta da Piedade”, meaning but not literally translated from Portuguese to mean the Garden of Mercy. It’s where they have the bluest waters in the world! Gah.
Lagos has a bit of a funny weather pattern at the moment, with the sun only coming out after 1pm, but when it does, MY OH MY it is heaven on earth. It’s a pretty good excuse to tuck away in a coffee shop of the mornings and update ze blog for mamá, write in le journal or draw, and again, just what was needed after the last few weeks. Lazy days on the beach, playing with the dog at the hostel- that’s right, TagHostel has a dog named Urso (bear in Portuguese), home cooked meals and not so quiet games of cards and pictionary (yes, of course my team won) made for a great couple of days.
Note: Make sure when you book tickets for transport, accommodation, events etc, you book them for the day you actually want to travel!! I may have accidentally booked a bus ticket to Seville for the 29th of May… on the 29th of May. Whoops. It meant I quickly had to snag the last bed in the hostel after I had already checked out, and book ANOTHER ticket for the following day, but all was well.
Note number two: Make sure you check accommodation via a map or at least check the COUNTRY you are booking it for. I may have accidentally booked a couple of nights in a hostel in Córdoba, Argentina instead of Córdoba, España… Luckily wasn’t too difficult to cancel and didn’t cost a thing!
Ah the lessons you learn..