Trip Start Jan 02, 2014
116Trip End Dec 31, 2014
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During the week, Liz and I managed to do some walking and sight seeing, most of it with Ron. As there is still daylight until after 8:30pm, it has been possible to combine the golf (played either in the morning or afternoons) with sight seeing and then when the temperature drops, end each day on a different beach.
On Tuesday this week we visited Silves, a town north of Carvoeira, which has the biggest and finest castle in the Algarve. It was built in the Islamic period, on the sight of Roman or Visigothic fortifications (4th or 5th century) with modifications made during reconstruction in the 14th/15th centuries. It is a stunning red sandstone castle built up high, overlooking the rest of the old town
On Wednesday, Liz and I did some long walks, first along the beach from the lovely fishing town of Ferragudo,
Thursday 1st May, labour day, was a public holiday and all residents of the Algarve had planned family picnics. We headed out to Sitio das Fontes, a park in Estombar village, as we had picked up a brochure about the park, its tidal mill, water wheel and springs. Families had arrived early to set up picnic spots and children were already kicking about in the spring pools. Several men were playing a game of 'Chincalhao'
On Friday after a drive to Lagos and a walk around the marina,
After enjoying a great 10 days with Liz, we returned her, very brown, to Faro airport. We then meandered back to Carvoeira along the scenic route, stopping for walks along the promenades and beaches at Quarteira, Vilamoura and Albufeira.
On Sunday afternoon we headed out to Loule, to witness the biggest religious festival in Southern Portugal, Festa da Mae Soberana (Sovereign Mother Festival). I'm not sure whether it was a coincidence that Sunday was mothers day here, or whether the festival always happens on mothers day, but the brochures indicated that it was the 2nd and largest of two festivals, the first one being on Easter Sunday. I think I read somewhere that Mary is the patron saint of Loule. I think we have now completed our religious preparation for our camino walk, we stood through a 1.5 hour outdoor mass, before following the procession of the statue of Mary being carried through the streets, back to her church, Igreja de S. Francisco. I have no idea how many people were there, but it could have been 10 or 20 thousand. They lined the streets and then fell in behind the procession as it passed......Mounted police, scouts, school bands, marching and philharmonic bands, all escorting the statue, which was carried on the shoulders of about 8 men. A great spectacle.
I think Ron could quite happily move here, he loves the golf and the beaches, doesn't mind the heat and likes the idea that the European ski fields are only a few hours on a plane away. People certainly enjoy a great life style here, but I think I prefer to live in a country where I can still drink water straight from the tap.