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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Aljezur and the South Coast

Aljezur new town on the way in - Aljezur is Arabic for "Islands"

When we reached the coastal plain from the Sierras, we drove into to Aljezur on the coast. When we got to the centre we realized we were in the larger new town and that the prime area of interest was in the old town nestled below the Saracen castle on the hill, so we headed over and up the steep narrow street which after seeming to become too narrow for cars finally ascended up to the castle walls where there was a fine view of the two towns.

Heading up to the new town church

Castle on the hill (right) and old town calle up to it (left)

Church in the old town

The castle (originally Saracen)

Panorama of the old and new towns from the castle

going back down through the old town

and out again by the river

We then headed on to the beaches in the loop arching out from the village of Carrapateira - Bordiera and Amado. This was a combination of a trddiaitonal surfing beach with an ecological area with wild views over the craggy cliffs on a dirt loop road which ran south to the next beach at Amado before winding back to Carrapateira.

Carrapateira village on the way to Bordeira Beach

Bordeira Beach

Bordeira coast north

Bordeira coast heading south

Amado Beach in the distance

Carrapateira village on the way back

We then headed on south down the coast past a battery of large windmills, heading out to the castle military fortress at Sagres that separates the south (Mediterranean) coast from the west cost.


Sagres castle

Aerial view

View out to the light

Circular panorama

The south coast

The Castle from inside

The chapel outside (above) and inside (below)

A medieval section of wall

We then had to face up to the fact that we still had no bus ticket to get us through to Seville which we had to do smoothly to lick up our rental car and later fly out to Barcelona. We also had no idea of where to drop off the Guerrin rental car, so after getting help at the first camp site we saw and discovering the car had to dropped off at Faro airport, rather than town, we drove on in the evening to Lagos 80 kms west of Faro, where as luck would have it we found the Eva bus terminal got a ticket for next day (albeit with no seat reservation - "just sit anywhere" they said!) and made it to a crowded urban camp site on the way to the Lagos beach front.

The camp site in Lagos town

The freeway to Faro

Next day we managed, after further confusion over entrances and exits, and the multiple rental car sites on the approach to the airport, to drop off the car (actually at the airport arrivals), catch a bus to town walking the last section in the heat because the bus driver let us off too soon at the station and finding the hot noisy Eva terminal unbearable went and sat out our two hour wait for the afternoon bus on the grass in the Faro seaside park overlooking a series of swamp islands become an eco-park.

Faro waterfront

The waterfront over the boat marina

The ecological wetlands beyond Faro

When we caught the bus, the driver suddenly attacked both our day packs with all our passports and sensitive equipment insisting that they be thrown in the lockers under the bus with no baggage receipts and threatening to call the police if we didn't comply, causing us to leave $1000 under the bus for the whole journey. We have been in a lot of buses in a lot of countries but this is the shabbiest performance of any bus company so far.

The road to the Spanish border

Goodbye to Portugal!

The border is the river

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