Purple Bird

If you missed them, please see parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

As per standard operating procedure, we got up, made some breakfast for ourselves and hit the road with the plan of seeing some sights in the morning and hitting the beach in the afternoon. We went to Faro which is the capital of the Algarve province and found it to be a lovely old town with very little in the way of tourist buildup like hotels and such.

Waterfront of Faro.

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Outside the Sé (cathedral).

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My attempt at an HDR image of the inside of the Sé (cathedral). It’s harder than it looks to get it looking good and I did a really bad job but I guess that’s why we practice.

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More shots in the Sé. Even the churches are covered in tiles.

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A couple artsy shots of the old town of Faro.

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After our whirlwind tour of Faro’s historic district, it’s off to the Rio Formosa Nature Park. Not the most impressive park we’ve ever seen. Fiddler crabs and purple birds. Actually, the bird, called a Purple Gallinule is rare and shy so it was pretty cool to get a photo of one. The park had a hide that let you get close to the pond where they would nest. I just happened to have the camera in the right spot when one walked by so this was the only shot I got.

rioformosa-08.jpgThis is the last working tide mill in Portugal. The mill sits at the mouth of a small reservoir and the tide flows in and out over some blades that drive mills for grinding various grains.

rioformosa-05.jpgHuge aloe vera plant. These are pretty common but this one was quite exceptionally large.

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Prickly pear bush. Kris: “Oh look, prickly pears….yum…(pick). Hmm…my hands seem to be full of very sharp and hard to remove spines.” Sharon: “Perhaps that’s why they’re called ‘prickly’.” Kris: “Well, the ones in the grocery store aren’t….” Lesson learned: prickly pears require more care when harvesting than ordinary pears.

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We saw a few other things like some olive trees (olives off trees taste BAD) and the Portuguese Water Dog kennels but really, the park kind of sucked. So as it turned out, we had wasted a bit too much time on the first two places so we got to the beach at Tavira fairly late. Tavira is at the mouth of a river and has a bunch of low, sandy islands just off the coast which have lovely long beaches. We took a ferry across and spent a bit of time sunning and swimming.

Very long and wide beach. Basically, there are many kilometers of coast with sandy islands much like this so I imagine having a boat would be most excellent.

tavira-01.jpgAfter the beach we toured Tavira for a while. It had a river running down the middle and the original Roman bridge is still there for pedestrians to use.

tavira-03.jpgAnother view of the river and town.

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Believe it or not, this is a road. How can you tell? There are posts….duh!

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Another artsy shot of a street animal. Everyone loves the puppies and kitties!!

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It had been a pretty long day so when we got back to the resort, we had dinner there. The restaurant had looked very nice and had an interesting menu plus, we had a 10 euro coupon from the hotel to use there and if you know me and Sharon, you know we LOVE coupons.

One of the best meal choices we made on the trip. The food was excellent yet inexpensive, the wait staff were outstanding and the atmosphere was classy. We had the Algarvian Cataplana which was clams, prawns, pork and various vegetables and seasonings. This is where we came to the conclusion that Portuguese cuisine requires that, if at all possible, food should always be looking at you. Fish and prawns are always cooked with heads attached. It’s nice though because you always have a severed head with which you can quote Shakespeare. My shrimp’s name was “Horatio”. He was a fellow of infinite jest as well as a most succulent gentleman.

Another fantastic day done. Tune in next time when we have our first bad meal and my only major driving mistake.

Kris

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