Monday, June 22, 2009

I told you I would

I'm not sure anyone is still around, maybe you've all escaped to far away exotic, there's a thought, right?

Anyway, I'm back and I bring some photos with me.

To start with, the reason everyone goes to the Algarve on holidays. The beaches.

Usually the sea is calmer than how it's pictured here, but waves are better for photographs. Anyway, the water temperature was above 20 C which was refreshing enough but not too cold. The air temperature, on the other hand, was above 30 C every single day and in a couple of days reaching 37, 38. So the only thing to do was to head to the beach hoping it would be cooler there and in the meantime endure the heat in the streets melting your brain relentlessly.

When the temperatures allowed it, it was nice to stroll around during the day, though I strolled mostly at night this week. One late afternoon I managed to get to the castle in Tavira to get some photos. It was only a 5 minute walk from my house but it was a hard task with the heat.

This is the main church seen from inside the castle. The trees helped to freshen it up a bit.

Tavira is completely packed with churches (see that white and yellow one at the end?). I believe it was how the Christians tried to establish their religion in a place that was strongly influenced by the Moors. Brief historical information: Portugal was founded in 1143 but it was only in 1249 that the lands in the South were conquered from the Moors, the whole Algarve region in particular.

Inside the castle there is a really nice garden.

It smelled wonderful, I can tell you.

It seems Tavira was conquered from the Moors in 1249. In 1252 a Spanish King decided to conquer it for himself, claiming it was his. After a few harsh words (I imagine), the Kings settled an agreement that involved their children marrying and the distribution of the lands. Since there was a child from that marriage it was agreed that the whole Algarve region would be portuguese. God bless that child!!

It is not clear when the castle was built but it already existed in 1168, when the Moors were in battles against a traitor called Abdalá ibne Ubaide Alá - I couldn't make this up even if I tried.

Oh I miss these pretty little houses already.

As I mentioned before, strolling at night was more pleasant but you needed to stay close to the river and sometimes it was still too warm.

One time the river was almost empty and there was a heron hanging around.

In the Algarve or anywhere in Portugal, you have to have fish, particularly freshly grilled. Even if you don't like it, because you will like it. The only dinner when I didn't have fish was when I had this vegetarian pasta thing. The tomatoes smelled for miles. I had lots of great fruit, strawberries that really tasted like strawberries and that you didn't have to add sugar to, cherries, apricots, figs. Yum.

This was the view from my balcony, on a very stuffy day. See the castle and the churches?

This part of the fortification was really close-by.

And to finish it, a required sunset photo. Days are so long in June. Happy Summer!


murat11 said...

How beautiful, Ms Mood: thank you for taking us all there with you. The tomatoes were delicious, and I can still smell them.

Shadow said...

that's one beautiful place that!

Anonymous said...

yay for holidays! we missed you, d.m.! i hope you enjoyed your soujourn thoroughly:)

missalister said...

Beautiful beach, water, all the photos, so beautiful!!! I tell you, from chilly New England, none of those scenes look a brain-melting 86-100F! But I remember Texas well with those same temps. Ufff! Like the gorgeous Algarve, any activity was best done very early in the morning or late at night. And although I say this partly joking, overall I really did enjoy your Sepiru Chris-like history lesson ; ) Learning hurts my head, is all, but it’s always worth it : )

Niall young said...

I wonder how you managed to tear yourself away from such an atmospheric and beautiful part of the country! Looking at these photos I can almost feel the heat, and as with many places here in England that have existed for many hundreds of years, the sense and feel of history hangs around the buildings.You can almost imagine the voices echoing around the walls and passages.

Nana said...

I can't bear to look at the pictures, especially, sitting at a cubicle whilst it's gorgeous outside! Oh & I'm fasting so the fod pic was torture :S lol. Welcome back.

Rositta said...

What beautiful pictures, I'm seriously envious. Our temps are in the mid thirties but very humid and it's killing me, almost...until I remember the snow. Some day I have to visit that wonderful place, I love castles...ciao

fb said...

I've missed the photos but all the people ran away again! ;)

Just you and your heron...

Chrisy said...

I just love the gardens! Please come on over and visit my party...if you haven't crept quietly in yet...

Preeti Shenoy said...

Loved the pictures! Algarve is beautiful.
Can imagine how hot it is. I used to live in a sea side town which was just as hot.
I miss the warmth and sun here in UK (have relocated to UK now) even though this is Summer.

Devil Mood said...

Murat: I'm glad you could enjoy the gastronomy.

Shadow: Indeed!

Chrispito: Yay for holidays - you should know :)

Missalister: Learning hurts even more in high temperatures. I know, I was looking at the photos and they looked fresh but maybe it is the influence of that garden. It was like an oasis.

Niall: It was all very quiet in the castle - maybe people were trying to listen to the voices.

Nana: Double torture from me - sorry about that ;)

Rositta: Ah humidity is very hard to deal with. But it must make a tremendous change from all the snow.

FB: OH that's true. Well, I often try not to include random tourists in my photos but the castle really was mostly deserted and the streets too.

Chrisy: Hi, sure I will visit.

Preeti: Yes, I can imagine it's a different kind of Summer now. And much much shorter. But often I crave some freshness...

Chrisy said...

...just hopping by again...there's a giveaway for a couple of my anatomical plates that you, or somebody you know, might like...head over to

Violet said...

Oh.. God help me.
how wonderful.

Lucy said...

i've missed your beautiful words!
thanks for sharing your lovely pics and experience

Anonymous said...

All of your pictures are beautiful thank you for taking me there :)