Further South in Portugal

October 15, 2017 - Lagos, Portugal



This morning was an 11.30am start so we had plenty of time to sleep in, take a leisurely breakfast and pack our bags before we had to be ready for the bus. Margaret took the opportunity to walk up into part of the old town with her camera while I waited anxiously by the bus and our bags. Alex mockingly scolded her for being twenty seconds late for the bus but Margaret was unrepentant as she likes to use up all the available time.

From Evora we drove south to Beja where we had an hour to walk around the castle and the town. Today was Sunday so the Castle was closed and we probably saw the best of it from outside the walls anyway, judging by the small glimpses through the edges of the gates. The town itself was very quiet as well and we were keen to find somewhere shady to sit with a cold drink. Every café with tables outside was in the full sun without umbrellas so we ruled them out. We didn’t have the audacity to do as some locals had done. At one café near the church there were four older men with one of the café tables and chairs sitting in the shade of the trees on the other side of the road from the café. They also had a bottle of wine in an ice bucket to keep them going. Well done guys.

On our tour of the town we found some older walls and buildings in the back of an apartment parking area but not much else that grabbed our attention. We completed a circle back to the spot where we were dropped and found a little shop for a couple of lemon drinks to keep us going.

After another two hours driving south in the bus towards the coast at Portimão we came to Silves where, despite phone calls from our driver, a new council rule meant we had to park the bus down in the town and walk up to the castle on top of the hill. It was interesting to walk the battlements of a Crusader castle and see the views over what had been a valuable river port. There was very little information about the castle or the Crusader occupation but there was an interesting exhibit on attempts to re-introduce the Iberian Lynx and how they stabilise the fox and rabbit populations and stop foxes from raiding farms and towns by necessity. A couple of Lynx mean fewer foxes and more rabbits for the foxes to hunt. I am not sure what happens if the Lynx population increases to a point where it is forced to scavenge.

The walk up to the castle as well as walking the battlements in the full sun had made us quite thirsty and I suppose the tour itself was taking its toll so we decided that a seat in the shade and a cool drink was in order. We had thought of a beer but when given the chance we had a home-made lemonade with ginger. With almost no coaxing they even added some sprigs of mint plucked fresh from pots outside the café. Very, very refreshing and, combined with a shady spot in the breeze, gave us energy to walk back down the hill. As usual we were on time but the last to arrive and be counted as present.

We had another hour and a half in the bus before we arrived in Portimão which is full of hideous blocks of holiday apartments. According to Alex some of the unfinished ones were abandoned after the 2008/9 financial crisis and others have been left because of illegal practices by the developers.

Now that we were near the Atlantic coast we took the opportunity for a ten minute stop at a coastal vantage point before heading on to Lagos and the Marina Club Resort. The resort has a large, lagoon-type pool so Margaret took the chance for a swim but I opted out because I was suffering from a head cold and its after effects.

After restraining ourselves in Silves we decided to reward ourselves with a beer at the bar. We asked at the bar about snack food but were told that anything would come from the hotel restaurant so it would be better just to go over there. We hummed and hawed for about ten seconds before deciding to walk around the marina to find a bar serving dinner. We ended up at a place called Madness, which didn’t appear to be mad at all.

Grilled chicken breast with cream and mushroom sauce for Margaret.

Tuna steak with onion and pepper sautéed in olive oil for Max.

Glasses of house red and then coffee to finish. €49.

My cold made today very tough but luckily we were here for two nights and I resolved to take another sickie the next day to rest up some more.



It was very quiet around Beja on a Sunday
From Castelo de Silves
Castelo de Silves
A refreshing Lemonade, Ginger and Mint drink
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