Observations from a 17th century fort  

Coming from the U.S., we’re always excited to visit anything old — especially castles, stone forts, and city walls. Lagos, Portugal has all three.

Even though Lagos has a long history dating back to before the Carthaginians and going through occupations by Romans, Visigoths, Moors and others, the oldest buildings still standing weren’t as old as we thought.

Not a lot remains of the Castle of Lagos, also called the Governor’s Castle, which was built along a section of the city walls at the end of the 16th century on the site of an old Arab castle.

The fort, Forte da Ponta da Bandeira, dates back to the end of the 17th Century.

On the ground floor were a chapel to Saint Barbara and small exhibit spaces featuring photography: road building in Lagos and roller derby (interesting for the photographer’s chosen technique). Not exactly what we expected in the historic old fort.   We walked up the steep stone ramp to the lookout level. What a view! We had a panorama view of the Governor’s Palace, the modern city, the marina, and out to sea.

That’s when we noticed the windsurfers as we leaned over the wall.   We’ve seen windsurfers whipping across open water, but we’ve wondered how they get on the board and start to sail. This was our chance to find out.

Some were so experienced that within seconds they were on the board (so fast that Beth missed even seeing it happen) and deftly handled the sail to move quickly out of the channel. Beth wished they would do a replay so she could see their technique.

Others were less experienced, and it seemed that as soon as they were up on the board, they struggled with the sail, and then lost their balance, and fell back into the water.

Joe was so distressed for one beginner that he finally had to look away, not able to bear the wind surfer’s lack of mastery and obvious frustration.

A few minutes later Beth told him he could look as the last of the wind surfers had now managed to get up on the board and started sailing.

At first the still wobbly windsurfer was not making much progress. He had to swerve right to avoid the tour boats that motored in, including a boat towing a train of kayaks behind it. In moving right he was now wedged between the boats on his left and the concrete jetty on his right. Would he be able to calmly sail by them and out to the open ocean?

We held our breaths, and then sighed with relief when everyone safely managed to sail or motor on, avoiding any collisions.

The fort had provided us with a great view of the harbor and out to sea. That is exactly what it was supposed to do. Who knew we’d have so many things to watch as we stood there, gazing out to sea?



September 2017

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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5 Responses to Observations from a 17th century fort  

  1. I love seeing Lagos through visitors’ eyes as it makes me appreciate all over again what’s lovely town we’ve chosen to live in. I tried windsurfing years ago in Hawaii with my son and can so identify with the struggling surfer. My son picked it up immediately while I spent the afternoon falling off, wretched and muttering under my breath. Like so many things we see in life, it’s hard to recognize the effort and skill involved until you try it for yourself. I’m with you and Joe – I’ll just kick back and take pictures! Anita

  2. I suspect watching the windsurfing would be more fun than actually trying to do it.

  3. plaidcamper says:

    Another lovely Lagos location!
    I tried windsurfing many years ago on a cold lake in northern Britain – utterly exhausting. The sail filled with water whenever I fell over, and it took some hauling to get back up. Might have been easier in warm blue waters…

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