Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Algarve Portugal, Trip Report, Day Four, Part One, Cliffs of Lagos

February14

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The sun on this day was late showing itself and I got some pics of the mist on the Alvor cliffs.

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We had hoped it would clear and when it did, we set of for Lagos. We found Lagos easily and drove down the single lane to the park at the cliffs.

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I included a couple of pics of my husband D. Having a person in the picture gives you some perspective of the magnitude of this glorious place. Look at the person in the picture just above.

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My daughter hiked the Grand Canyon in January and pictures without the sea in the background reminded me of there.

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The cliffs and grottos were formed over time by the ocean continuously battering the rock hills on shore.

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We were surprised to see wildflowers everywhere. Back home these would not make an appearance for months and months. I understand that wild figs cover the hills in late spring. A sight I would love to see.

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This was one of my favouite pics. Imagine the challenge of putting down roots in rocky soil, forever battered by the wind and yet standing so majestically?

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Other trees in the vicinity weren’t so lucky.

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The lighthouse was closed to the public but there was a single vendor selling her woolens by the gate. She was a talented craftsperson and I admired her savvy, braving the wind all on her own.

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In the top right of this picture, you can see the town of Alvor where we were staying.

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We assumed by the monument above, that loved ones had lost their lives on the cliffs. We paid our respects.

Before heading back to Alvor, we spent some time in the ancient walled city of Lagos. See next post.

Kath’s quote: “The waves hit the cliff with more intensity than the shore, because the ocean knows the cliff has that masculine intensity which won’t complain about her feminine energy.” ― Nityananda Das

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Love never fails.

 

Doors of Algarve Portugal

February13

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Doors of Alvor, Portugal

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Doors of Lagos Portugal

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Door of Portimão, Portugal

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Door of Silves, Portugal

Kath’s quote: “Don’t waste a minute not being happy. If one window closes, run to the next window- or break down a door“.- Brooke Shields

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Love never fails.

 

Algarve Portugal, Trip Report, Day Three, Part Three (Mula Cheia)

February12

When we stopped at a gas station to use the rest room, I had the impression that I had been at a similar place before.

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This was the menu of the day when we stopped for gas in Val D’Orcia Tuscany. I had a hunch we were in for a similar experience so we decided to stop for lunch. There was no menu and even though we expected that the owners would speak English because the sign outside of their restaurant said “Take Away”, our server got kind of frustrated with us when we could not communicate. This was no fault of hers. We had not prepared well enough in advance to communicate our needs. Luckily for us, our server got inventive and brought us out two small plates: one with fava beans and the second with pork. So we gestured to the pork and she was very pleased to be understood.

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The pork was absolutely delicious as well as the hand made fries, rice, salad and half a carafe of house wine!

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D was also pleased with his rice pudding and I with my baked apple for dessert. Espressos rounded out our lunch and the bill was 17 Euros for both of us! Even after all that food, we did get hungry that evening and D wanted a feed for fish and chips. First we walked to a place in Alvor called Marco’s. Even though our Google searches indicated that it was open, it was definitely closed. The sign said “See you in March”. D went to fetch the car and we drove to a restaurant that we had passed many times on our way in and out of Alvor.

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The restaurant was called Mula Cheia which we found out translated to the full mule in English. As a result we predicted that we would leave the restaurant very satiated.

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D ordered the sea bass which was tasty but not what D was thinking of when he was dreaming about fish and chips.

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I chose Piri Piri chicken which I loved; the fries and the salad not so much. I was still thinking about the hand cut fries from that afternoon when we stopped at the gas station. But on the whole, another fabulous day in the Algarve.

Kath’s quote: “You can’t go wrong with fish and chips”.-Michael Sandel

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Love never fails.

Algarve Portugal, Trip Report, Day Three, Part Two (Silves)

February9

We didn’t actually tour the entire castle of Silves. With the rainy weather that day we asked how much of the tour was under cover. When the helpful guide indicated that the greater majority of the tour was outside, we made our decision.

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We got a good feel for the rest of the tour by just being inside the vestibule.

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We were awed by the thickness of the walls and the engineering fetes that went into erecting them.

The walls and towers that today represent the Castle of Silves came from the campaigns of the 11th century and public works in the 12th and 13th centuries.

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Outside the main doors of the castle, we were invited to tour the beautiful Silves Cathedral. We researched the Cathedral on Wikipedia:

The details about the foundation and building of Silves Cathedral are unclear. In the process of the Reconquista, Moorish Silves was conquered in 1189 by King Sancho I of Portugal, but since the city was retaken by the Moors in 1191, it is unlikely that a cathedral was built at this time. Only in 1242 was Silves definitely reconquered by Christian knights during the reign of King Afonso III, and it is believed that this king was responsible for beginning the construction of Silves Cathedral as the seat of a newly founded Algarve diocese.

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The artistry of the stone masonry and tile work was lovely.

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I had not been in an ancient church before where the statues were “dressed” in real fabrics. The effect was very dramatic.

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I was particularly struck by the madonna near the exit. Not only was she draped in real clothing, her rosary was made of what looked like roses. Additional research unearthed this:

So is this where the “rosary comes from? It would be easy to assume that the word comes from the fact that rosaries have so long been made of rose petals; but in fact, the word “rosary” is derived  from the Latin word, “rosarium,” meaning rose garden or wreath. Joined with an old English word … “bede” … meaning prayer, the term “rosary beads” came to be.  Throughout the centuries-long existence of the Catholic church, the Catholic faithful, devoted to Mary, “The Mystical Rose,” have used the rosary for prayerful devotions to Her.   The circular rosary with its many beads is symbolic of a  rose garden, and praying the rosary by saying the “Hail Mary” at the touch of each bead is a symbolic gift to Mary of a bouquet of roses given one rose at a time.

So now you know. Even though we had GPS, we got pretty lost on our way back to Alvor. We needed to use the rest rooms and we were running out of gas so stopped on what we would later find out were the outskirts of Alvor at a gas station. The story of the amazing food we enjoyed there as will be in the next post.

Kath’s quote: “I enjoy art, architecture, museums, churches and temples; anything that gives me insight into the history and soul of the place I’m in. I can also be a beach bum – I like to laze in the shade of a palm tree with a good book or float in a warm sea at sundown”. -Cherie Lunghi

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Love never fails.

Algarve Trip Report, Day Three, Part One (Silves)

February8

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The view out of our window on day three was pretty dismal. But being the optimists that we are, we told each other that the rain and clouds might clear. I inquired at the front desk for a good rainy day suggestions and we were off to the Medieval city of Silves. We fould Silves quite easily tucked just above the A22 motorway, not far from Lagoa and Portimão.

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As we approached Silves, we turned a corner and suddenly there she was – visible even in the mist and nestling on the hillside, topped off with the most authentic of castles.

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We circled the town a couple of times, not exactly sure how to ascend to the castle. The architecture reminded me so much of Cinque Terra in northern Italy or Nice in Southern France.

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You can see the steep ascent to get up to the castle and church.

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This is the King Sancho I statue outside the castle. The Portuguese won Silves back in 1253 and it was the capital of the Algarve until Faro took over in 1534.

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There is history on every corner in Silves, hinting at its affluent and colourful history as the Moorish capital known as Xelb, capital of Al-faghar, the Moorish province of the Algarve. The origins of the town can be traced back as far as 1000 BC, with a strong Roman history, however it was the occupation in the 8th Century by the Moors which brought a lavish lifestyle to the area. By the 11th century Silves was the capital of the Algarve and the Moors were reputed to have imported lions and other wild animals that roamed freely through the exotic gardens. It was ruled by the Seville-based Arabic ruler Al-Mu’tamid (Muhammad Ibn Abbad Al Mutamid) who became governor of Silves (known as Shalb) and Emir of Seville at the age of 13, and was known as the ‘poet-prince’.

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The area saw many battles between the Christians and Muslims in the 12th and 13th centuries; until Portugal’s King Sancho I and the Knights of Santiago captured the city in 1189 with the help of the Anglo-Norman Crusaders. It was recaptured by the Moors in 1191; and was finally re-conquered during the Christian occupation of 1242 to 1249 during the reign of King Afonso III, who also founded the first Cathedral, thought to have been built on the site of the former Mosque.

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I mentioned above that the day was rainy. As I walked over these cobblestones, I thought how ingenious they were at keeping your feet from getting soaked.

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Even though we parked as close as you could get to the castle, we still had to climb these steps.

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We happened upon these great little liquor and gift shops.

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More about the beautiful castle and church in my next post.

Kath’s quote: “If you are going to build something in the air it is always better to build castles than houses of cards”. -Georg C. Lichtenberg

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Love never fails.

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