Museu de Portimao

 We decided it was time to catch up on some culture, so a visit to the Museu de Portimao seemed a good idea. It is housed in an old Sardine canning factory down on the river front in Portimao.
It is situated next to the Yacht Club and has good parking.
The man who greeted us seemed familiar to us and indeed he was on duty at the site at Alcalar when we visited there. 
The first room we went into was a special display of the history of the Portuguese guitar.
A very interesting display of the instruments and the making of them and film of some of the Famous artists who play them.

The rest of the Museum is dedicated to the Sardine processing industry and all it's side shoots including packaging and canning. Lots of original machinery and of course the original factory floor with all its washing and processing systems. A very well constructed Museum and well worth a visit

Birdspotting trip to Quinta do Lago with Ton

A very early start to the day for me. 7.00 am and still dark, for a bird spotting trip with our neighbour Ton. He is from Holland and as his car has only has two seats , Sarah kindly let me go alone. We went to the area of Quinta do Lago, best known for its golf courses,but fortunately set amongst lakes and bordered by the estuary of the Ria Formosa national park. It is a bird paradise as no hunting is allowed in the reserve. We spotted 60 different species during the day, Sixteen were new to Sarah and my  list for this year, and as we have decided to do what the Americans call a BIG YEAR, (in which they count as many different species for a year as possible),we were very happy with the result. Notably Booted eagle, Black necked grebe,Jack Snipe and below. Spoon bill, Common Waxbill and Purple Gallinule or Swamp Hen.
Great day and great company , Thank you Ton..

Abicada and Alcalar.

Had a day of historical ruins today. First visit was to ruined Roman villa at Abicada. Not really signposted at all but hidden at the end of a dirt road surrounded by a fence. They have run out of money and have closed the excavation down. Shame as it looks to be a substantial complex..Set at the head of the estuary looking out to sea in a commanding position. Hopefully it will be properly explored in the future.

 From here we went to Alcalar a little way inland up a lovely valley, to visit the site of a ancient Necropolis.
These are funeral temples from the third millenium BC and are set on a hillock. One of the temples has been reconstructed into what would have been its probable form.
Also the remains of a Lime Kiln and a Thollos are very interesting



Barrage da Bravura revisited.

We last visited this Barragem in Spring 2010 when it was full of muddy water after a winter of much rain. This year is a different tale.. Two dry winters have left it very low on water, but the plus side is that it was very clear and we could see some very large fish. The miniature Daffodils were out but the Cistus still only in bud. It was a very pleasant temperature and we sat on the banks for a while listening to the silence, broken only by the birds singing.. Sadly the Hansel and Gretel restaurant was closed until the new year..

Bordeira walk, Boxing day.

A glorious day, Boxing day 2012 and we took the Scooter over to Bordeira to walk in the hills. The heather both white and purple was flowering and the whole area looked a picture. This was a great finish to our Christmas and another corner of this lovely country discovered.

Lost before we start !

Eucalyptus in flower.

White and then purple heather.

Martinhal to Barranco

Still trying to finish the south coast path of the Algarve we walked the bit between Martihal to Barranco passing through the river valley of Rebolinhos. Martinhal, although a nearly new, purpose built resort, has a very nice beach. You walk up over the cliffs to the east and drop down into a little cove with a stream flowing down to the sea. Lots of bird life on this bay and very peaceful at this time of year. The route then continues over the cliff tops and along to Barranco. This beach has a wild camp-site and road down to it from  Raposeira is not signed anywhere. You find it by luck or asking other people. This is another fine walk in unspoiled surroundings

Martinhal beach.

Rebolinhos river

Rebolinhos beach

Barranco bay.


Castelejo and Cordoama

A quick trip on a windy day to the west coast and found a group of Para Gliders throwing themselves off the cliff. Very Interesting but not for us. The sea was great with big waves and we wondered what would happen if they landed in it...........

Salema to Furnass

In an attempt to complete our journey along the Algarve coastal pathway we found another stretch that we had not done before. Starting in Salema on the outskirts of the town we walked west towards Sagres ending up in Furnas. It is a completely unspoiled stretch with little or no development and many lovely little beaches on route.
Not many tourists come to this area except to surf so it is very quiet. Just how we like our walks. 

Alte, Silves and Boca do Rio with Keith and Carol

We took our new pals Keith and Carol up to Alte, supposedly the prettiest village in the Algarve, on a gloriously sunny day. They fell in love with the place and we walked up the valley before having lunch at our usual cafe. From there we visited Silves and the castle finishing with a trip to Boco do Rio late afternoon.

Mexlhoeria Grande walk

Another birding walk down to the shore and some inshore lakes and marshes where the locals go to the sand bars to dig for clams. It was a Saturday and the small track was like the M1. But we found peaceful corners everywhere and lots of birds.

Trail of the Tides Bordeira

We found a new walk in the western Algarve near to the town of Bordeira.
This started near the coast in Carrapateira and took us inland down a beautiful river valley.
We spotted a very strange new bird that looked just like he had a big red smile. It turned out the be a Common Waxbill ( very uncommon ) to us. It was introduced from Africa into the Eastern Algarve some years ago and seems to be flourishing. The little hamlet of Vilarinha is set in a lovely spot at the head of the valley and we decided that if we wanted to settle in this area, then that would be the place for us.
Nice walk great scenery and flowers starting to bloom.