Excerpts from 700-word article. Pictures available.

SEASIDE SAGRES RECALLS ERA OF GREAT PORTUGESE NAVIGATOR

A pair of faded blue jeans wave from a clothesline outside the little stone building now, and across the square a woman sells hand-embroidered tablecloths from a truck. Still, it isn't difficult to imagine this gusty crag jutting into the Atlantic as the lonely home and workplace of Henry the Navigator. He was Prince Henry, the son of Portugal's King Joao 1, who, in 1415 sailed with his father's fleet to capture Ceuta and so put paid to piracy along the coast. That done, he retired to this lonely promontory on Portugal's southwestern tip and, removed from the glamorous court life that was his due, became known as The Man Who Tamed the Sea......

Surrounding himself with Europe's best cartographers, astronomers, mathematicians and mariners, he created new techniques for exploration and trained seamen to use them. At a time when th ocean was commonly believed to be filled with monsters, he developed the exact science of navigation...... Christopher Columbus was one of Henry's illustrious pupils at Sagres. Another was Vasco da Gama, the first man to round the Cape of Good Hope en route to India in 1497....

For the visitor, Sagres and its neighbouring Cape St. Vincent, go hand in hand. The cape, Europe's most westerly tip (known to medieval seamen as the end of the world) is named for St. Vincent, whose remains were here by eighth-century monks after he died in battle at Valencia. The story goes that the ship carrying his body to Lisbon from the cape was escorted by two ravens who never left the vessel until it was safely in Lisbon's port. It is this ship and two ravens which are featured on the city's crest you will see on certain buildings today.

Lagos, the harbour from which many of Henry's expeditions sailed, Sagres and Cape St. Vincent can all be visited in one day from anywhere along the Algarve's coast. But it's best to stay. Then you can catch the glorious sunset for which Cape St. Vincent is famous. Watch evening fishermen on cliff perches, their lines dangling in water about 60 metres below. Pick yourself a beach busy with fishermen. Or an isolated cove sheltered from the world.

If you haven't reserved a room at the Pousada do Infante do at least go there for a drink or meal....

Excerpts from 900 word article. Pictures available.

BRING COMFORTABLE SHOES FOR VIRGINIA'S ALEXANDRIA

by Pam Hobbs

It is said you can tell the natives from tourists in this town because they all wear running shoes. Not quite, but certainly Alexandria's citizens are sufficiently wary of the brick and cobblestone sidewalks to wear sensibly flat shoes. Uneven roads and pavements lead to the prettiest part of the city's Old Town, where a hundred blocks square are peppered with more than a thousand buildings preserved or restored to the 18th and 19th centuries. An attractive aspect of this enclave is that it is no sterile re-creation. Most buildings are in everyday use, as offices, shops, homes, galleries and restaurants. The city's oldest dwelling houses the tourist office. Taverns serve meals from recipes used when George Washington was a regular. So dress for comfort, and enjoy....

Since 1732 there has been a settlement of sorts here at the foot of Oronoco Road, a "rolling road" that, so called because hogs' heads filled with tobacco would be rolled down to a warehouse beside the Potomac River. A community sprouted around the warehouse, and by the mid 1740s plans were underway for a proper town. When in the summer of 1749, lots were auctioned, a youthful George Washington assisted in the surveying. Named for Scottish merchant John Alexander who owned much of the land, the town flourished as a seaport through the l8th and l9th centuries. Now tourism is its most important industry...

The Scottish influence is everywhere. Homes and warehouses belonging to some of the original Scottish merchants are here still. The city has its own tartan, and bagpipe and drum corps. Shops display Scottish imports, restaurants advertise finnan haddie. Summer brings the Celtic County Fair featuring Highland games, Scottish music and dancing. While the Scottish Christmas Walk each December has everyone turning out in their Sunday-best tartans.....