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    • Day 7

      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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    • Day 8

      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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    • Day 8


      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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