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Posts tagged ‘Portugal’

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

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This is my entry into the weekly challenge from WordPress.

I love the green growth on the rocks contrasting with the blue blue sky that day, looking out to the cliffs and the sea beyond at Praia de Luz, the Algarve, Portugal

Cliffs at the End of the World

sunrise view from the house

I’m sitting in Sara’s rental house in Luz, Portugal.  Maybe it’s called Playa del Luz or something like that?  Okay, I just consulted my Portuguese expert, Sara B.  Beach is Praia, so it’s Praia de Luz, I think.

The house is a little shabby with cheaper than Ikea furniture, but has lots of stairs and random balconies and patios.  I got lost going to the pool the other day.  You have to go through a bedroom to get there, and the thought that this was possible didn’t occur to me, so instead I kept walking up and down half staircases and looking over balcony railings to see if I was missing a hidden path to the pool.  Finally I realized what to do.  We hung out by the pool all morning and part of the afternoon.  Don’t worry – I’ve been spraying on copious amounts of SPF 45, so although not burning I’m barely even tanning.

We also ventured into town for some wifi, which has become a standard in all of our day trip planning.  The house has a “wifi pen” from Vodafone, which unfortunately 5 different people couldn’t get to work.  When we asked the management lady, she simply agreed that most people couldn’t get it to work and the owner should do something about it.  So, no wifi.  Do you really need wifi to enjoy your vacation? No, not really.  But we’re still looking for it everywhere we go.

Last night we abandoned our plans to grill kebabs at home and instead went to the town of Lagos searching for dinner and wifi.  The town square had little columns with eerie blue lights and a banner stating there was free wifi, but none of our devices could find it.  We tried a tapas place recommended by Rick Steves and got some traditional Portuguese dishes, like Piri Piri Chicken and bacalao cod.  Unfortunately they were also all meh.  The wine was nice, though.  After it breathed for a while we had a spicy peppery blend to pour down our throats.   After dinner we found a crepes bar with free wifi and went to town.  We sat outside on a busy pedestrian street and shared Sara’s headphones to Skype back home with limited success.  Skyping definitely tends to work better with in a quiet room with strong wifi than on a shared public signal in the middle of street full of tourist crowds and musicians passing by.

In between the poolside sunning and the wifi/dinner searching, we did some sightseeing along the cliffs of Cabo Sao Vincente.  There’s an old fort (Fortaleze del Beliche), a convent, and a lighthouse on the southwestern most part of Europe that used to be considered the end of the world!  The buildings were all interesting, but the most spectacular part was definitely the raw landscape.  In every direction we saw tall beautiful cliffs butting up to a deep blue sea.  The wind is crazy, and after almost being blown away yesterday I was a little hesitant to stand right at the edge of the cliff like I usually do and look down, so all of my pictures are taken from a safer distance.  We were all imagining the action back in the heyday of the area – with a fort, a convent and a lighthouse in such a rugged, desolate landscape I couldn’t think past lots of lonely souls.

The concession lady told us that in March and April the sea goes crazy in these parts, with waves crashing over the cliffs!  Since I’ve only seen waves that wild when skirting hurricanes in the middle of the sea, I definitely want to come back and check it out!  Here’s what it looks like in August:

Algarve beach walk

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I know it gets confusing, but I’m in Portugal now. My friend Sara rented a beach house on the Algarve (southern) coast to meet up with friends before she heads south to Mozambique. Luckily I got here in time to see Laurie, Axl and Madeleine Steiner before they head back to Paris. Here’s a pic of all of us together:

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Later on we headed down to the beach to check out the tide pools and grab lunch. The town of Luz is mostly a tourist town, and mostly occupied by Brits. Is it any surprise that the food is far from amazing? The best thing I’ve had so far is churros, which I’ve never thought of as Portuguese before!

So, back to the tide pool walk. We headed from the beach to the cliffs during low tide. The beach is really protected, so when we rounded a cliff at the end of a cove I was surprised to be lifted off my feet by a raging gust! The tide pools were mostly filled with anemones, small shrimp, and tiny fish. Although not the usual La Jolla marvel that I’m used to, they were pretty awesome!

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While the tide was low we kept walking east along the beach/rocks. Eventually we reached the limit of our non-sturdy footwear and gear – I was climbing rocks with slippery flip-flops while clutching my camera, a too-big hat, all the while trying not to get blown over by the fierce wind. When our casual stroll became a challenge we turned around, only to find that the tide had come in and we had to scramble back on the crazy rocks of the beach. No worries – rock scrambling is always pretty exhilarating!

Here’s a few more pics of the beautiful coast:

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