Thursday 28 June 2012

IATTOUR May 29 to June 8 Portugal Part 4

Well, here we were for the last week of our year-long holiday in the beautiful Algarve in Portugal.  This was definitely a great place to finish up our adventure.  There was so much to see and do here in this warm and friendly part of the world.  And...even more fun, we were joined by our friends from Victoria, Mark and Maureen Blaseckie, who were finishing up their own trip through Scotland and Europe.

Dueling texters

Our first morning together was spent in Sagres, exploring Maritime history and returning to join a group of Brits at a seaside restaurant.  Maureen found herself with a table-side seranade after she made fast friends with one of the band--over the ukelele music of George Forman.  Here they are making great music together.

Near the small town of Alcalar, we discovered another historic site--a passage grave that looked a lot like a small "Newgrange" (Ireland).  We really enjoyed finding out some of the ins and outs of local history from the resident archeologist.  Apparently a German couple bought a home nearby and tried to build on to it--only to find that the whole valley and surrounding hillsides are full of ancient sites.  It will be awhile before development continues.

Mark and Maureen on their way to the grottos.

Maureen and Elaine caught red handed

As Luz was just next door and Lagos a short drive away, we spent more time checking out the grottos, cusine, and the fabulous public art in the town squares (not to mention the tile work and graffiti on the buildings).  We also spent time marvelling over the cork products.  How DO they make purses, hats, and necklaces out of cork? 
Finally, it was time to say goodbye to the Algarve.  We hope to return someday--with plenty of more friends and family to play here.

On our way back to Lisbon, we detoured to Sintra again.  This time it was beautiful and sunny.  The gardens were in their full glory and the town was slightly overflowing with cruise-ship tourists.  We brought Mark and Maureen back to our favourite sites and discovered a few more before heading to Lisbon.

Back in Lisbon, we spent many hours exploring the places we had missed.  Thanks to a bus pass, we traveled from one end of the city to the other and up both hillsides on the funicular.

In preparation for our return to Canada, Tony had his hair cut.  As mine was still only about an inch long, I gave the hair salon a miss.

The castle on the hill turned out to have some surprising views and secrets.  St. George (of Cappadocia)'s statue dominates the entrance, Leonardo Da Vinci (of Italy)'s "Camera Obscura" fills one tower and Muslim (as in Spain) tiles are visible in the castle's archeological ruins.  We felt that we had come full circle here.

Mark and Maureen scouting ahead

Peahen and chicks
Trying not to miss any adventure in Portugal, we ordered up a plate of snails (Tony and Maureen shared).  WHAT doesn't taste great when dipped in garlic and butter?

Can I write off attending  a Special Ed Fair in Portugal?

Cool car
Accordian music everywhere

Pretty ironic watching South American musicians play Pan Flutes in front of a Portuguese monument dedicated to the exploration of the New World.  Reverse Invasion?

With a little hard cash, you too can own a bottle of port corked in the year that you were born.

Isn't it funny how the eye edits?
Time for a last evening together in Lisbon
Yes, it is better than Starbucks' internet 

Disco Mo'
After saying goodbye to Maureen and Mark, Tony and I explored a few more sights--including the Contemporary Art Museum and the Design Museum--both very worth visiting.

Art Gallery Shop
We were really impressed with the exhibits at the Contemporary Art Museum--very well-executed, diverse and thought-provoking.
Blue Whale?  Submarine? Arc? Made with 3rd world expertise

Details from the art work

televised head

Checking out the Wifi

Post it notes mural--ingenious! exhibit for the anit-museum buff: all about tools !

Up and down in Lisbon
Wandering the streets, one last night, we found the greatest little spot to eat above our Pension.  The entertainers were out in full force and the food was lovely.  We are so going to miss this!

One last fond look at all that street art
Add caption

I think that the street art says it all...The End?  Not Really!  Thanks so much for your participation in our adventure.  We'll have a follow up soon.