Portugal
Barranco das Cachopas

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    • Day8

      Arrifana and its Ribat

      November 13, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

      I knew we wanted to head south today, and when I put “Arrifana” in my Google offline maps (which work GREAT btw), up popped “Ribat de Arrifana.” With a castle icon next to it. So off we headed. But first we got detoured by signs to Monte Clérigo with binoculars next to it (symbol for picturesque). A few miles walking on headlands, café on the cliffs, and finally we arrived at the Ribat.

      As we later learned at the municipal archaeological museum in Aljezur, the Ribat was an Islamic religious site, where the ruins of nine mosques have been discovered. It was also a fortress and place where warriors off to the holy wars were blessed. And a burial site. With spectacular views!

      Aljezur has a moorish castle. We walked up to it. The Portuguese flag flies there because it was one of 7 castles in Portugal conquered from the Moors. The local museum is very interesting and has artifacts from the Iron Age forward.

      On the way home, we couldn’t resist a turnoff for the Praia (beach) and found ourselves on the other side of the glorious Amoeiras beach, which has a wide river snaking around the hills to empty in the ocean. Tomorrow back to Lisbon.
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      Traveler

      What a fabulous adventure. I’ve not seen a smile on Joe’s face before…love it!!

      11/13/21Reply
      Traveler

      I do love the ocean from any shore!

      11/19/21Reply
       
    • Day8

      Aljezur

      November 13, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

      A lovely little town on what used to be a river that went straight into the ocean at Praia Amoeira. But the 1755 earthquake pushed the river underground and the town was essentially cut off from the sea.

      There are ruins of a Moorish castle, ruins of moorish settlements all over the place, a lovely municipal museum some beautiful pieces found in the castle from the 10C, and signs that the town is stubbornly refusing to bite the dust.
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    • Day37

      The Fisherman’s Trail, the easy way

      April 30 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      Following more of Evelien’s footsteps in Portugal we finally reach one of the areas of Portugal that we have much looked forward to to visit: Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina. The North part of this nature park still being Alentejo, the South part ending in the Algarve. A 100 KM stretch of Europe’s best preserved coastlines, known by surfers for its waves and ecologists and biologists all over the world for its unique flora and fauna. No mass tourism, no mass development - and hence the best way to explore this nature park is by foot while following a multiple day hiking trail through areas no car can reach. We come by four wheels, however, and therefore only partly follow the footsteps my sister and brother-in-law took on this trail some years ago. Doing the trail the easy way, one could say, although we do face some challenges of our own in there next few days. But more of that later.

      We take it slow and follow a similar route from town to town, while stopping wherever we can along the way to walk up to the beaches and cliffs from a parking lot. A couple of times we take longer hikes on parts of the trail, and other times we watch other people hike past us with their walking sticks and packed backpacks while we chill on the beach in our swimwear. The temperatures have finally risen more consistently and we enjoy the feel of summer on our skin and in our minds. Tim calls me crazy, but I even fancy a swim in the (chilly) ocean! The cooling sensation followed by a light nap in the sun feels like freedom.

      Our first day on the trail starts at Porto Covo, a small fisherman’s town with again little whitewashed houses decorated with blue or yellow borders. Mom, you asked us the question whether these colours have any meaning. We hadn’t given it much thought before but since you asked we start to share your curiosity as to why these towns consistently have similar looking houses across a wider region. We haven’t been able to find a conclusive answer though: some say it is symbolic to reflect the sky (yellow for the sun, blue for the sky that apparently looks more blue in Alentejo than anywhere else, something to do with the way light is reflected in this region in combination of good air quality). Some have heard that it’s protecting residents from malifice (be it spiritual or flies). Our camp ground owner shrugs her shoulders when we ask her the reason: “it is mandatory by government rules to do so in Alentejo, to protect the traditional landscape”. At least it explains why the tradition lives on even today.

      Still in Porto Covo, a first challenge arrives. The display of our car suddenly lights up: “check transmission”. We experienced some vague display warnings before, that after a call with the owner appeared to be solved by simply re-opening and closing the doors (it’s like when IT asks you whether you have tried to reboot your troublesome computer yet), so we try a couple of things but the warning text and beeps stay present. Looking at Google and the car’s instruction booklet it could mean a number of things: small to big, cheap to expensive, quick fix to long waits for specific parts… We aren’t getting any wiser. Thanks to some helpful suggestions of family members and another call with the owner, we eventually drill it down to a probable defect break light switch causing the cruise control to be out of order and more importantly, the break lights to not work. Instead of driving to an automobile repair shop 70 km away we try our luck at the local shop for automobile parts. It’s so small that it’s hard to spot and while it should be open according to the time table we find the door closed. Looking through the window and walking around the building we ponder about what we should do next. Right then, a car pulls up. Some neighbours must have warned the owner about two customers at the door, as the guy steps out of his car and welcomes us inside. And luck we find: of the specific part we need he has exactly one item in store and we can buy it from him for a decent €22 only. We replace the item ourselves and like that, are on our way.

      From Porto Covo we slowly make our way down (via trails and beaches) to Vila Nova de Milfontes where we have one of the best dinners we have enjoyed this trip at a small local restaurant. The owner is super friendly and welcoming, the food is even better. The guy isn’t particular about sharing his culinary secrets: when we compliment him about the mushroom dish he explains exactly how we can make it at home (“it’s very easy!”) and a little while later we hear him go into detail about another recipe at one of the tables. Thanks to the vibe and hospitality it feels like we are having dinner at a friend’s place. I am sure the owner is a good friend to have! At the camp ground we make another friend, feline this time. I meet her somewhere between the sanitary building and our van when she cheekily follows me “home”. Requesting cuddles and staring at us from a small distance when we’re getting ready for bed, it is hard to close our curtains on her. In the morning a surprise awaits when the first thing we see outside is the same two piercing eyes. The whole morning she stays right with us: chilling, sleeping, cuddling. The little charmer almost tempted us in getting Musang a sister cat, if it wasn’t for her fat belly and shiny fur showing us she is already living her best life.

      On day two we include a longer hike. It is on these cliffs that we witness one of this region’s unique natural features: this is the only known site worldwide where storks nest in cliffs. On various cliffs and sometimes in groups of three or more, we see nests inhabited by one or two storks. The breeding season usually starts in April, but we can not spot any chicks yet at the time of our visit. It is very special to see these giant and beautiful creatures against a backdrop of dramatic cliffs and waves. Nature continues to amaze us later in the day when we walk, swim, and relax on probably the prettiest beach of entire Portugal. Thanks to not being easily accessible it is almost deserted (except a few naturists scattered here and there) which adds to our joy. We end our day at Zambujeira do Mar.

      Day three takes us all the way to Odeceixe, where we enter the Algarve and continue our rhythm of hike, beach, repeat. The only two incidents to disturb our zen takes place in Odeceixe on the way to one of the beaches. The first happens a little bit by our own caused misfortune of missing the correct turn and getting stuck into town. The hill town of Odeceixe is a little over 40 square meters with less than 1000 residents. This translates to: tiny narrow one way streets that twist and turn up the hill in a steep manner. No place for a camper van like ours… we are lucky that the one choice of direction we have somewhere midway allows us to skip a street with a warning sign about its width being “>less than two meters<“ (we are more than 2 meter wide), but soon after, our luck runs out. At the final turn to the top of the hill, where we will be able to resume our way on a normal road, we find ourselves in a tricky situation.

      The turn ahead has a rough 90 degree angle to the left after which it’s a 20 meter long steep slope up (our estimate: at least 15%). To our immediate left are houses, to our immediate right a thin little wall at the height of our knees is separating us from the valley below. In front two old local men who see us coming and by the look on their faces they too foresee the trouble we are in. They pause their walk to witness how we make a first attempt to go up. Making the turn, we realise furthermore that the road is only half paved: big chunks of loose gravel slip under our wheels. Pressing the gas pedal does nothing more than spinning our wheels echoing a loud noise against the whitewashed houses, and letting it loose for just a little bit the weight of our van immediately pulls us back down. Tim has to react quickly to react on the van losing grip, jerking us dangerously close to the side of the houses, and manages to keep us straight but not up. Midway the path we have to give up trying to make the van move, and pause to restrategise.

      Partially out of strategy and partially out of worry, I get out of the van (I actually thought to take my phone with me in case I’d need it). I help direct Tim to drive back down in reverse avoiding walls on both sides, the two old men still standing at the corner down below, and not the least of my worry: avoiding the fast way down behind the thin little wall. Having backed up as much as possible, the two men walk past us up the hill we try to conquer and say something to Tim that sounds like an encouragement. Tim hits the gas to try again. My heart stops once when before moving up the van drops backward even more - using every little inch possible without touching the wall - and my heart stops twice when again, the van skids on the gravel midway the road. I can see the front wheels spinning and I can hear the engine roaring, while Tim tries to get grip and make a move. It all takes way too long for both our liking and just when I think it’s an impossible task… The wheels suddenly find solid pavement to get grip and our camper van reaches the top of the hill. A well deserved thumbs up from the two elderly men confirm our success. Ronald, it was a good use of the anti slip training you and Tim once did together! The residents of Odeceixe may find traces of our challenge for a little longer in the black coloured stripes we leave on the road… (yes - we checked the tires and they were still in good shape! :-)). We take a deep breath (perhaps a few!), laugh off our nervousness together, and leave the little town for the beach…

      The second less so zen moment is when we return from the beach to our parking lot, although we are actually lucky this time. A lady who just arrived in her camper van busted two guys smashing in the windows of multiple cars parked right next to us, stealing people’s belongings. Thanks to this lady arriving and bravely starting to shout and take photos they fled before they reached our van. Luck is on our side! With police on the way and some other locals staying with the lady until they arrive we leave the scene and find our camper ground for the night for a good night of sleep, fortunately not reliving any of the challenges of the day…

      These few days were some of the best of our trip (despite the setbacks) and we will long remember the beauty and peace this park brought us! We highly recommend it to all nature lovers, avid hikers or not.
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      Traveler

      nou nou....blij dat ik sommige dingen niet geweten heb..knap van Tim zijn koelbloedig optreden. niks voor mij...Maar wat is het daar schitterend! Fijn om al die mooie foto's te bekijken.Ze zijn ook heel mooi genomen trouwens: complimenten! En hoe fijn is het dat de temperatuur omhoog geschoten is: zomergevoel. De gekleurde huizen: het licht is daar fantastisch en ik kan me goed voorstellen dat het daarmee te maken heeft. Één met het landschap.

      5/9/22Reply
      Traveler

      Wie veel reist heeft veel avonturen.

      5/9/22Reply

      Wat mooi om de omgeving in de lente te zien. Prachtig met die bloemen en ooievaars! Wederom blij dat jullie er ook zo van hebben genoten, afgezien van de akkefietjes. In Papua trekken ze gras/riet uit de berm om onder de banden te leggen wanneer een voertuig vastloopt. Klinkt als een spannende manoeuvre, goed gedaan door Tim! Schitterende foto’s ook 💖 [Eef]

      5/9/22Reply
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    • Day7

      Weekend begins!

      November 12, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

      About three years ago, when we checked out of a hotel in the Algarve, the receptionist suggested we drive back to Lisbon along the western (Alentenjo) coast. We stopped in several random beach towns, each one prettier than the next and decided to come back for a weekend. So here we are.

      We left Lisbon right after my class on Thursday and were in the hotel here by 9. The hotel is not on the beach but in a great location, about smack dab in the middle of the area we wanted to explore.

      Today we walked about 10 miles and got into a routine of driving to some pretty place, getting out and walking for an hour or so, and then driving on. Sometimes up on the headlands, sometimes down on the beach itself. We had a very late and very delicious lunch in a fish restaurant in Zambujeira de Mar — one of those typical Portuguese places where you point to the fish you want (knowing it arrived no more than a few hours ago from the ocean) and then they grill it. Heaven! The bigger fishes are much easier for us ignorant Americans to debone, so Joe and I frequently get one to share.

      After lunch, a long beach walk, and then a drive to the Sardao lighthouse, where we walked along the cliffs for a couple of miles and then saw a beautiful sunset.

      Though our balcony doesn’t have much of a view, we are going to sit out there and have a few snacks instead of a real dinner. Given our lunchtime feast. Tomorrow we will repeat the routine, except we will head south instead of north!
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      Traveler

      Oh my!!! Spectacular!!!

      11/13/21Reply
       
    • Day2

      Weiße Häuser und bunte Fenster

      February 28 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

      Der Ausgangs und Endpunkt für meine heutige Wanderung ist Odeceixe. Ein kleiner verschlafener Ort mit charmanten Straßen und alten Portugiesischen Rentnern die in den Straßen sitzen und die wenigen Tourist und Wandern den Beobachten.
      Morgens habe ich mich hier schonmal mit Schokokuchen gestärkt, schön! Dann gings auf den Trail "Odeceixe-ao-mar"
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    • Day1

      Parque de Campismo

      February 27 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

      Gestern Abend im Dunkeln am Campingplatz angekommen. Glücklicherweise ging der Zeltaufbau schnell. Ein top Campingplatz mit super Sanitäranlagen und Supermarkt! Zudem traf ich gleich ein junges deutsches Pärchen, Benno und Emmi, und einen Fahrradreisenden Portugiesen, William. Zusammen saßen wir eine Weile am kleinen Camping feuer. So kanns gehen! Nur die Nacht war leider bitterkalt :/
      Morgens war es dann umso schöner als die Sonne aufging!
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    • Day53

      Back into Nature

      June 1, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

      Der Start heute war hart. Irgendwie waren wir müde und unsere Rucksäcke waren auch schwerer als sonst. Wir haben noch bis 10 (oder 11?) in dem Campingcafé gesessen, Kaffee getrunken und mit dem Besitzer gequatscht bevor wir uns aufraffen konnten. Es ging durch Felder bis zum Ort Rogil, wo wir den Cafébesitzer wiedertrafen, der gerade mit seinem Auto unterwegs war. Danach führte der Weg durch die hisigen Süßkartoffelfelder an den Rande des Naturschutzgebietes. Und auch wenn der Weg vorher schon schön war, war er doch ab hier noch schöner! Über sandige Pfade führte uns der Trail entlang der Klippen. Recht zügig trafen wir ein portugisisches Pärchen, das uns fragte wie weit es denn nach Arrifana sei. (da kommt man nicht auf direktem Wege hin, da ist ein Fluss im Weg... Man muss also über Aljezur laufen) Wir haben denen erzählt, dass der Weg bis nach Aljezur machbar sei und nicht mehr allzulange dauern müsste... Hoffentlich empfanden die das genauso und hoffentlich standen sie nicht an diesem Fluss, weil sie doch versucht haben nach Arrifana zu laufen.
      Der Weg führte vorbei an dem Strand von Odeceixe. Ein weite Sandfläche inmitten der Flussmündung. Wohl ideal zum Surfen geeignet. Besagtem Fluss mussten wir dann noch etwa 4 km folgen (auf Asphalt,... Super ätzend...). Dann gab es Chinesisch zum Mittag und es ging weiter zum Campingplatz. Vor vier Jahren endete hier unsere Wanderung und wir hatten eigentlich nur super Erinnerungen an diesen Platz. Wir auf der Terasse vor dem Restaurant mit gutem (und günstigem) Sangria, über uns die Schwalbennester und vor uns der Tanz der Schwalben bei Sonnenuntergang. Nun ja... Sangria gab es nicht mehr, die Nester waren abgeschlagen und der Platz war auch noch verhältnismäßig teuer... Wir werden wohl nicht wiederkommen. Also zügig ins Bettchen und auf den nächsten Tag freuen!
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      Traveler

      Ein Wanderfalke, Hammer!

      6/9/21Reply
      Traveler

      😁 von denen haben wir so einige gesehen

      6/9/21Reply
       
    • Day33

      Portugal - Nach 9 - Lisbon bound

      March 6 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

      Die letzten Tage haben wir viele kleinere Ausflüge und Wanderungen in der Ecke um Sagres herum unternommen. Am 02.03. war Tinas Geburtstag, an welchem wir uns Mittags in Tinas Café zum Essen getroffen haben. Hier haben wir dann auch direkt 1kg Kaffee und auch Spüli (alles fair bio und so) gekauft. Jan Prahl, den ich sicherlich 8 Jahre nicht gesehen habe war auch da. Wir haben die Gelegenheit am Schopfe gepackt und sind dann noch nachmittags nach Ingrina an den Strand gefahren und haben uns beim Bier auf den laufenden Stand der Dinge gebracht.

      Freitag war dann Party bei Jan, dessen Eltern Ende der 90er hier ein richtig schönes Haus gebaut haben. Wir haben ordentlich gegrillt und bis tief in die Nacht gefeiert.

      Der Samstag war dem entsprechend etwas ruhiger und langsamer, nach dem einkaufen haben wir eine Brotzeit am Strand gemacht bevor wir die Nacht dann wieder an gewohnter Stelle bei Tina standen.

      Heute haben wir uns nun auf den Weg in Richtung Lissabon gemacht und stehen herrlich versteckt auf den Klippen. Um hier her zu kommen mussten wir ordentlich Luft aus den Reifen lassen - so lässt sich ein 4WD Platz auch mit 2WD erreichen ;)

      Der Sonnenuntergang verspricht spektakulär zu werden. Gott freuen wir uns die Entscheidung für die längere Reise getroffen zu haben!
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      Traveler

      Immer wieder erstaunlich wieviele Leute am 2.3. Geburtstag haben 😂

      3/6/22Reply
       
    • Day24

      Strand von Odeceixe

      October 5, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      Der Strand von Odeceixe ist laut unserem Reiseführer einer der schönsten Strände von Portugal 🙃

      Was soll ich sagen.... er war schon sehr schön... bin mir aber nicht sicher ob er als DER schönste Strand zu zählen ist 😊 Mal schauen welche Strände wir noch so entdecken.

      Die Sonne versteckte sich leider ein bisschen hinter den Wolken, was es somit nicht ganz so warm machte wie am Tag zuvor. Nichts desto trotz mischten wir uns unter die vielen Surfer die sich am Strand tummelten. 🏄🏄‍♀️
      Clara-Marie hat das meiste sowieso verschlafen und als sie dann munter wurde, kahm auch die Sonne zum vorschein 😊☀️
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    • Day67

      Odeceixe

      December 30, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

      Nachdem es fast 1 1/2 Wochen nur geregnet hatte, haben Nico und ich den ersten Sonnentag genutzt und eine schöne Radtour nach Odeceixe gemacht.
      Als wir am Stand von Odeceixe ankamen stellen wir schnell fest, dass wir auf der falschen Seite des Flusses angekommen waren.
      Es blieb uns nichts andere übrig, als die Hosen auszuziehen, das Fahrrad auf den Rücken zu nehmen und einmal durchs Wasser zu gehen.
      Am Strand konnten wir dann wirklich schön etwas Sonne tanken und ein wenig sporteln.

      Auf dem Hinweg haben wir die steilen Berge hinab, fast nur gebremst und beim dem Rückweg musste man schieben, da wir sonst einfach umgekippt wären. 😂

      Odeceixe:

      After almost 1 1/2 weeks of rain, Nico and I took advantage of the first sunny day and went for a nice bike ride to Odeceixe.
      When we arrived at the Odeceixe stand, we quickly realised that we had arrived on the wrong side of the river.
      We had no choice but to take off our trousers, put the bike on our backs and walk through the water.
      On the beach, we could really bath in the sun and do some sports.

      On the way there, we almost only braked on the way down the steep hills, and on the way back we had to push, otherwise we would have simply tipped over. 😂
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      Traveler

      das kommt uns bekannt vor - im Juli waren wir auch da

      3/24/22Reply
      Traveler

      Oh, wie schön! Ja es ist wundervoll dort 😊

      3/26/22Reply
       

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