Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012 Silves

Our night in Evora was very noisy. We had been offered a street facing room or a back lane facing room and thought the street room was nicer. This was a BIG mistake.People were walking up and donw the streets shouting and yelling all night long. It's hard to figure out who was doing it and why no-one stopped them - but it went on until at least 4:30. I was really reluctant to use earplugs because I was afraid we would miss the alarm so, although Evora is a lovely city, it was a bad night! The alarm did go at 7 and we hastily ate breakfast and then hurried down the cobbled streets to the Evora bus depot to catch the bus to the Algarve.

I think we both dozed a bit on the bus as we soon arrived in Albuefiera - at about 12:30. So we are now in the Algarve - a favourite seaside tourist area that faces onto the Atlantic - outside Gibralter. Julie, our Portugal Walks guide, met us at the bus depot and drove us to Silves which is where we are staying for 2 days. Silves is inland - though I'm not sure how far we are from the ocean. Julie seems very nice and helped us find a place to stay in O'Porto after we leave the Algarve. We discovered her on the Internet and also in the "Lonely Planet" Portugal Travel Guide.

Our Silves hotel is across a small river  from the hilltop town of Silves. An ancient Roman Bridge still crosses the river (though no longer used for cars). Silves has an excellent castle where you can see the archaeological work that has been done and walk all around the walls. You can also look down into an ancient 50 ft stone lined well which is the centrepiece of the excellent museum and you can climb down insde an ancient Moorish Cistern inside the castelo. The cistern held enough water for 1200 people for a year. It reminded us of the cenotes in the Mayan Peninsula = though they were natural limestone formations and this seems to have been dug out. Although we have not heard that there is a drought here in the Algarve, we are becoming very aware of the longstanding importance and scarcity of water in Southern and middle Portugal.

The Algarve seems to be a little warmer than the Alentejo at this time of year. There are lots of orange orchards and we actually ate our dinner outside tonight - though it was getting a little nippy by the end. There are some tourists here and tourist shops =- but not the throngs that come here in the summer.

For dinner tonight we opted for the "Tourist Menu" - It included bread, olives, wine, soup, huge pork steak for Mike, sword fish and potatoes for me, plus two giant pieces of cake and tea or espresso - for 30 Euros - quite a good price we thought. Our room is lovely and warm with reverse aircon and a lovely view of the castle and town.

Oh, BTW, I don't think I wrote that we looked up the Castle Viho near Terena on the Internet and we discovered that it was an important archaelogical site dating from the copper age. Scientists have been analysing the charcoal to see what people burned and discovered quite different plants have grown in the area at different times. This probably indicates that there have been a lot of climate changes over the millenia.   So - goodnight.

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