Sunday, July 14, 2013

Farol da Barra da Lagoa

Not lighthousesI didn't expect much of Barra da Lagoa, as I hadn't heard much hype. I figured it would be worth a trip since it was close to Mestre Calunga's and there was a hiking trail of interest.

Barra da Lagoa is a neighborhood bounded by the lake to the west, the canal to the south, and the ocean to the east, although a small part of the 'hood is south of the canal. One of the main attractions is the beach; I was more interested in the trail to the lighthouse, which I couldn't find much good information on. So I arrived at the beach with a vague notion that the trail was south of the canal and easy.

MarRight off the bus you can see two structures that are lighthouses on a miniature scale. If this was all the "farols" were, I was going to be disappointed. I crossed over the footbridge to the south side of the canal and found myself in Azorean "streets" - hilly, twisty, concrete footpaths. One direction led to an obvious path along the shore. The end of the trail was an enormous boulder with a nice view of the ocean, Barra da Lagoa, and the hill. It wasn't until I turned around to look at the hill that I was certain the lighthouse was real.

To the lighthouseThen, the trick was to find the trail. I had several false starts, one of which resulted in muddy feet (pro tip: Don't hike in Havaianas). It turns out the trail to the lighthouse is only about 30 feet or so after the trail sign. Ironically, I hadn't noticed it on my way in, and I ran into some women on my way out who found it while actually trying to get to the big rock. The trail is not well maintained and is quite steep, and I wasn't sure I was even on the right path until I finally peeped the tall structure close to the top.

At the foot of the lighthouse there was a nice 360 view, but, even better, the lighthouse door was open. Unlike some lighthouses that have accommodations, this one is just a tube with a ladder. Obviously, I climbed it. The top was windy but had an even better view.

DoorAside from the nice hike (which was not easy, given the rapid elevation gain), I was surprised to like Barra da Lagoa as well as I did. The beach was nice, although at this point I'm succumbing to Beach Fatigue. The neighborhood has a strong Azorean influence, rather like Costa da Lagoa, and a substantial tourist infrastructure.

This was my last big Floripan adventure: Tomorrow I head for home.

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