My European Vacation – Portugal!

August 16, 2016 at 7:15 am Leave a comment

How time flies!  I’m just getting around to posting about my wonderful vacation to Europe that I took in April of this year.  I traveled to five countries in four weeks.  It was fantastic and I saw so many wonderful things!

I started in Portugal with my friend Donna.  We stayed in the Algarve, the southern coastal area of Portugal.  This is the second time that Donna invited me to join her in her condo in Albufeira.

The amazing Oura-View Beach Club where we stayed in the Algarve.

The amazing Oura-View Beach Club where we stayed in the Algarve.

Of course we had to have dinner just up the street at our favorite restaurant Donaldos

Enjoying delicious Fish Cataplana at Donaldos

Enjoying delicious Fish Cataplana at Donaldos

We drove along the coastline and visited some places that we missed the last time we were there.  There are so many beautiful beaches!  These are just a few.

Praia da Oura

Praia da Oura

Praia Da Oura is the beach just steps from the condo.  It was relaxing walking along the water and discovering all of the rock formations.  What a beautiful place!

Golden sands of Praia da Marinha

Golden sands of Praia da Marinha

Overlooking the cliffs of Praia da Marinha

Overlooking the cliffs of Praia da Marinha

Praia da Marinha with its golden beach and magnificent cliffs is one of the most beautiful beaches of Portugal, and is considered one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Europe, and one of the 100 most beautiful beaches in the world!  I can definitely see why!

Standing on the hill overlooking Praia da Carvoeiro

Standing on the hill overlooking Praia de Carvoeiro

White stucco houses with terra cotta roof tiles. And a lone pine tree on the cliffs of Carvoeiro.

White stucco houses with terra cotta roof tiles. And a lone pine tree on the cliffs of Carvoeiro.

Praia de Carvoeiro, a traditional, small fishing village originally surviving on tuna catches now has, not surprisingly, become a popular resort.  The beach town has a beautifully sheltered sandy bay and spreads out just in front of the square with cliffs protecting it on either side.  I love the stucco buildings with the terra cotta roof tiles we saw all throughout Portugal.

Listening to Fado music at Vivaldos

Listening to Fado music at Vivaldos

Another of our favorite restaurants is Vivaldos, a seaside restaurant just steps from our condo along the boardwalk.  We were thrilled to find that there would be a Fado singer one evening.  Fado music, originating along the waterfront in the early 1800’s, speak of life, struggle and passion. It is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and is infused with a sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia. It is beautiful to listen to, and to watch the expressions of the lovely singer.

Castelo De Silves

Castelo De Silves

Excavation sites and garden area of the Castelo de Silves

Excavation sites and garden area of the Castelo de Silves

The Castelo de Silves is a castle in the town of Silves.  Built between the 8th and 13th century, the castle is one of the best preserved of the Moorish fortifications in Portugal, the most important Moorish fortification resulting in its classification as a National Monument in 1910.  It was fascinating to see the archaeological excavations, and to imagine how the people lived all those many years ago.  It is believed that around 201 B.C. the Romans conquered Silves, transforming it into a citadel of their occupation, and commercial center that prospered for the next five centuries.

Several artifacts on display at the museum

Several artifacts on display at the museum

While in Silves we also visited the Municipal Museum of Archaeology of Silves.  The exhibition begins with an array of prehistoric artifacts dating from the Paleolithic period (1,5000,000 to 10,000 BC) to the Modern Period (15th to 17th centuries).

The picture above shows a gravestone in the upper left from the Iron Age (7th to 2nd Centuries BC), a head in the upper right from the Christian Medieval Period (13th – 14th Centuries) and some vases from the Bronze Age (2nd Millennium BC).

Model of the cistern-well found in the 1980's

The cistern-well found in the 1980’s

In the center of the museum, and the reason the museum was initially built, stands a Cistern-Well discovered in the 1980’s.  The shaft with a diameter of about 8 ft. surrounded by a 4 ft. wide spiral stairway gallery covered with a semi-circular domed ceiling.  For lighting and ventilation purposes three semicircle domed windows were open between the gallery and the shaft.  Access to the water was accessed through the circular opening.  The well was constructed of red sandstone.

Now we’re off to Spain!  My next post will tell of our adventures in Barcelona!

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