Wednesday, April 19, 2017 | Germany – Bavaria, Nuremberg | Petra
ROOM WITH SEA VIEW
FROM ALGARVE TO LISBON
Portugal | Two weeks have passed by since we have left Morocco. Now it is mid-March and we are on tour alone again. Our sweet dream team of the fire department – Stefan, Susanne and Matz – meanwhile is on the way back home to Germany.
All the fantastic experiences we had in Morocco, still reverberate blissfully. Many questions about the country appear in retrospect, many details ask for clarification. And so it is perfect for us, that we can find time and rest at the Algarve of Portugal to relax, to read and to evaluate afterwards. We are particularly interested to explore the coastal region with the destination Lisbon in far distance.
In the largest city of Portugal the trucker team will undergo big changes. A kind of wife swap is announced! Lisa will have some father-daughter holidays with her dad and leave university behind for some days. Petra on the other hand will follow the lead of the migrating birds and will fly back home. Win will come to Nuremberg some weeks later with the truck. We are looking forward to enjoying family and friends and preparing our next big stage of our journey.
But first let’s go to the seaside!
THE TASTE OF SEA
Still regaled by the warmth of Morocco and the sun of Sevilla, Algarve asks for our bravery. Weather changes bouncy between sun, clouds, rain and oft the wind blows hard. They say storm is not before sheep have no curles anymore. For my part even now it’s stormy enough.
Anyway, sunbathing at the beach is not announced. Nevertheless we enjoy the fantastic landscape and the powerful waves of the Atlantic Ocean during our extensive walks along the beach and above the cliffs. Our places for the night we always find directly on the beach or above a bay in the middle of wide nature and often totally alone. Now we can understand why so many people are excited about the Algarve. You can find everything there, from endless sandy beaches and landscapes of dunes up to dramatic rocky shores. Myriads of bays and beaches invitem us to explore them.
Sometimes other travelers betray their favorite beach to us (top secret, of course), where we then directly drive to. This is how we like it. It’s pretty much like unpack Kinder egg.
Ponta da Piedade – typical Algarve
The trip to hidden Praia da Barriga leads over green hills and adventurous rough roads
We love the Praia do Amado and the green mountain scenery around
For more than two weeks we stroll along the coast until we dare to do a side-trip further the east into the heart of the country to Alentejo region. The countryside is idyllic and sparsely populated. Wide plains, small villages, some reservoirs and masses of storks we get to see. We visit the old town of Beja and stroll through the historic downtown of Évora.
The region is famous for its cork oaks, beautiful knobby trees. They grow in forests and are one of the major revenue source in this area. Using traditional methods regularly two-thirds of the bark of the cork oaks get peeled off. It must not be more to avoid dehydration of the tree. About every nine to eleven years the bark can be harvested. It still happens by hand and demands skillfulness of the specialized workers. The bigger a piece of cork is, that can be peeled off the trunk, the more valuable it is for the further production.
As soon the trunk is peeled off, in white color the number of the harvest’s year gets painted on. So we pass many trees with for example a 3 (year of 2013) or a 5 (year of 2015) on it. In Portugal cork is used for a lot of things, not only for bottle cork. Post cards, kitchen aprons, shoes, place mats, fashion items are made from this renewable resource. However we neither get enthusiastic about buying a cork hand bag nor a kork hat. We prefer cork integrated in a wine bottle.
Cork oak forests line the country road in the rural region of Alentejo
RED WINE INSTEAD OF FLAMINGOS
Our way westbound to Lisbon leads through the nature preserve Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado. In this preserve at the river delta of Sado rare bird and fish species are indigenous. Even flamingos can be observed there. Not far from Sado there also should be a Moorish tide mill, we are curious about.
The tide mill Moinho de Maré da Mourisca is located off the local road in a bay. On our arrival wind is blowing hard and very cold. It is not the perfect moment for bird observations, but it is perfect for visiting the old mill.
Its origin dates back to the 14th century and meanwhile its fully renovated with care. A very friendly employee explains the clever mechanics of this tide mill. The mill wheels are worked by the power outgoing tide. In former times thus grain was milled twice a day.
Now we want to have a look at the flamingos from the upper windows of the mill. No chance! They hid from the hard wind. We feel sympathetic towards them.
On this unpleasant cold late afternoon finally the best happens in the former living room and today’s bistro of the mill. In the modern and well designed ambience (the designer’s heart leaps for joy) the fire of a fireplace gutters snugly and there is a pleasant smell of firewood. Isn’t this the perfect place to enjoy the end of the day having a glass of red wine?