Finding a room for the night took on a whole new meaning when deep inside the labyrinthine back streets and alleys which make up Lagos’ old town, BF’s mobile died. We had been making our way to our reserved room navigating by GPS, when suddenly the satellite or whatever impressive kit drives it, placed us on the opposite side of the river, spluttered and went dead. Because I didn’t totally trust technology I had jotted down the address as the phone gasped its last and I vaguely remembered from the map that the street had run parallel to the old town walls so at least we had a point from which to start from. Using our supreme powers of navigation and a lot of luck we stumbled over the cobbles and into the right street.
Knocking at number 22 we were met by Maria, a diminutive lady of about sixty five who spoke to English at all, however she shepherded us into a house a couple of doors down the street. That front door opened into a tiny little room with the steepest narrowest staircase that I have ever seen outside of a medieval castle, and then up to our room on the third floor. That room had the titchiest en suite bathroom just five foot by five and the bedroom measured no more than ten foot by ten BUT, whoopee, it had a balcony. BF and Airbnb had come up with the goods again. For the same price as the cheapest budget hotel but with bags more character we had ourselves a little gem of a place.
We met the occupant of the room below us as we set out to explore. She hadn’t been as lucky as us and her bathroom led directly off the landing. We met her as she was cleaning her teeth. There was actually no room for her to stand and clean her teeth and shut the door at the same time. The only way around it (I suspect) was that she should sit on the loo but who knows; maybe she even had to do that with the door open!
We set out to do some exploring and ended up at the Cafe do Mer cliff top bar for lunch…..and then we negotiated the rocky steps down to a tiny little bay for a spot of sunbathing and swimming.
This tiny little bay was the epitome of the Algarve with its golden rocky outcrops and sandy cliffs and caves. Lagos itself had a lovely feel to it – it was busy but not overly so, touristy but had an attitude about it that it didn’t give a stuff what you thought – you could take it or leave it – and it was full of tiny little craft shops selling some very tasteful products
The usual leaflets and tourist information had been left in our room and one entry caught our eye. The Nah Nah Bah reputedly served what had been voted one of the top 50 burgers in the world by Matador Network. Now as both BF and I are partial to a PROPER burger and I also highly rate Matador for its reporting we decided to check it out. Just a few streets away from us and located in backpacker hostel-land (Lagos old town), the Nah Nah Bah was bursting at the seams. We certainly didn’t mind waiting so settled down on bar stools for some rather splendid mojitos and watched the action.
There were a few small tables at the back, but the majority of customers were seated at long trestle tables. Reggae blasted from the DJ’s box in the corner and large portraits of Bob Marley and Che Guevara peered down on diners from the walls. We were soon sandwiched between a family from the UK and a couple of backpackers from Australia and settled down to order our burgers. I am pleased to report that the meal did not disappoint. BF ordered the award winning toucan burger and I had the amazing blue ball buster. It was so perfect that we actually returned the following week just to check that it hadn’t been a fluke.
Fully satisfied we set off to find out what bars and night life Lagos had to offer and we were not disappointed there either. Several bars and far too many mojitos later I climbed the windy staircase on my hands and knees and feeling like an over-sized Alice who had eaten the cake labelled ‘eat me’, I crawled into the miniature room and had a perfect night’s alcohol-fueled sleep.
The next day we visited the old Slave Market following a recommendation from a friend. This was a small building with an even smaller exhibition (small appeared to be the theme in Lagos) but despite its simplicity, the exhibition was very moving.
We took the water taxi across the little river that ran alongside the town and we visited the long golden beach of Meia Praia and checked out a couple of the little beach bars which have grown up besides the boardwalk at the back of the beach. All too soon it was time for us to catch the bus back to Bensafrim ready for our second, shorter week of work at the farm.