Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 24, Portugal - Salema

Another day gone by - with a beautiful walk and a great dinner.

We started out in the nice hotel with the pool on the roof in Lagos across from the marina - with a variation on our usual breakfast. For me - mueseli, yogurt and fruit. For Mike toast and jam. Plus, of course, 2 cups of coffee - this time served in vacuum jugs not from the multi-purpose coffee machine. An English person in the elevator (lift) complained to me about the weather.

Pete picked us up with our bags at 9:30 my red Rick Steve's bag, Mike's red MEC backpack and the green carry bag that Elspeth gave me - that has our food and other odds and ends in it that would otherwise be in our black Rick Steve's day packs. We like to keep our day packs light for walking. Pete dropped us off at an old chapel by the saide of the orad on the way to Salema and then took our bags on to our next small guesthouse hotel.

For the first part of the walk we were in the countryside passing farms and fields. Then it was down a farily rough track to the Bundes Wetlands - a large marshy area where they apparently grew rice between the wars. A coupld of campervans were boon docked on a side road at one end of the marsh - with all their laundry hanging out to dry.  Onc past the marsh it was up some steep tracks until we came to cliffs above the coast. It was quite grey and cold and windy and we had our picnic lunch (including chicken from the previous nights dinner) overlooking the Atlantic in amongst bushes to keep out of the wind.

Suddenly after lunch the clouds broke up and it was hright and sunny - with a fresh breeze from the north. We walked along the cliffs amongst blooming cistus, thyme, potentilla, yellow daisies and other lovely spring flowers and interesting prickly bushes - looking out to sea to where boats occasionally sailed by. Then it was down off the cliffs to a small golden sand beach - where I had to paddle in the Atlantic waves - some of them quite large. On each side of this beach were abandoned stone fishermen's houses, the ruins of a 17th century Spanish fort (destroyed by the 1755 earthquake), and the last remains of an old Roman villa. In the parking lot were more boon docking campervans. And in the distance the wetlands we had walked around in the morning. More steep cliffs and a rider on a grey (snow white) horse riding near the cliff edge. A final set of treks across the top of the cliffs and then down to the ancient - but also turistic village - of Salema. We found our guesthouse perched on the side of the hill. The manager, Bettina, had left various written messages about checking in without her - because she was shopping. so we found our nice room and made ourselves some tea on the small porch.

Showers and hand laundry and a walk on the new beach below yellow and red cliffs. Dinner at the "/fish House" - absolutely delicious fish soup and mussel stew, plus salada mista, "green" wine, and orange tart. Not one scrpa of leftovers today - we were hungry and the food was excellent. Most of the other clients were English people who seemed to own houses in the area.

Now we are back at the Amare guesthouse where I am writing the blog in the breakfast room. Our total walk - more than 15 km. Tomorrow - a 17 km walk along the coastal pathway to Sagres. Pete will transfer our luggage again. Walking along the coast is really wonderful and reminds me a lot of walking on the Jurassic Coast of England (Dorset) a couple of years ago. I highly recommend it! Good night!

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