I found myself at the southwest corner of Europe in Sagres, Portugal. At this point, I had been traveling for six and a half months and burnt through about 20 or so countries on the continent. Picturesque Sagres stood atop swooping cliffs overlooking massive beaches crawling into the ocean in the alluringly beautiful Algarve region of Portugal. It also happened to be situated on the most southwestern tip of Portugal. This meant different waves would hit the region from the west and the south.
After knocking back a few too many Superbocks (my favorite Portuguese beer) in Lagos the last few days with what seemed like a never-ending stream of Australian backpackers, the tranquility of Sagres was a welcome break.
There weren’t too many people around in the town as I searched for my hostel the ‘Funky Monkey.‘ I quickly found out Sagres was one of the premier spots for surfing in Portugal and wasn’t just known for being the corner of Europe. If you weren’t there to surf at the Funky Monkey, there wasn’t much to do. The hostel itself was quite a cool place with great landscaping, a pool in the back, ping pong table and a weird Foosball table with a concave pitch that apparently was what people in Spain use.
Following a day of chilling on one of the giant beaches under Sagres, drinking Superbock and watching the waters filled with people surfing, I decided to get off my ass and give it a go. I had only surfed about four days previously in Indonesia, so needless to say, I wasn’t the coldest beer in the fridge. I followed suit after my new found German hostel friends (Funky Monkey was pretty much all Germans) and rented a board and wetsuit from the local surf shop. I spent the next week surfing at various beaches within an hours drive of our corner of Europe as one of my new friends had a car with him. We’d strap all our boards onto the car roof and drive to the beach where MagicSeaweed.com told us had the best surf. All of us were at beginner levels so it was fun and nobody took it too seriously. I managed to improve a lot, able to get up on the board and dig into a few waves around chest high.
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When I couldn’t find a car to go to the beach, I would take my skateboard and ride there. Funky Monkey was about one to one and a half kilometers away from the town of Sagres on a slight downhill slant. At the end of the day, I was able to go for a long cruise all the way down from the town with my surfboard in hand to the hostel. I discovered this route my first day in Sagres. While I was searching for the hostel I ended up riding downhill with my backpack in search of the hostel.
Arguably the best part about Sagres, besides the constant sun and great vistas, were all the cool travelers I met at the Funky Monkey. The staff working there was awesome too, coming to hang out and surf with us during the day sometimes, then coming to chill at night to roll a few cigarettes and knock back a few more Superbocks. If you were gonna drink a lot at night, you were going to get ‘Superbocked,’ because it sounds like you’re saying…
I look back on the relaxing slow life at Sagres with a bit of nostalgia. In retrospect, I probably should have stayed longer to see a few more epic sunsets. Unfortunately, I had booked a fast upcoming flight to Belgium en route to meet my sister in Amsterdam from another coastal town in the Algarve. I will be back to Portugal and the corner of Europe, Sagres, with hopefully more advanced surfing skills. That place was too fun.