Travels

To the Algarve - Olhao & Tavira

A journey down the west coast of Portugal on a cloudy and rainy day led us to this small coastal road to Sines, where we could watch the crashing Atlantic ocean against the cliffs.

We stopped for a fast sandwich on the go at one of the only cafes open on Christmas day in Sines before continuing on to Olhao. The weather soon cleared as we made our way over the small hills that separate the Algarve from the rest of the country. We got into Olhao in time to catch the last blues of sunset on the rooftop terrasse. We also met some nice storks that make their nests in the rooftops of the local buildings.

Morning view from the terrasse

Morning view from the terrasse

Olhao was to be our home base for the next week or so, and the place we stayed (across from one of the main cathedrals in the old city) was perfectly located to enjoy the waterfront, restaurants, and local shops.

After a relaxed breakfast, we decided to sight-see around our little town for a bit. Olhao is a working fishing village, not quite as kept up as some other more 'tourist' towns like Faro, Lagos or Albufiera. We found it extremely charming, though, especially as the sort of urban decay you find in places like Olhao are very photogenic.

The twin veggie & fish market buildings on the harbour in Olhao

The twin veggie & fish market buildings on the harbour in Olhao

Food in Portugal is dirt cheap. Eating out at night, we basically had our choice of every restaurant. While not exactly cutting edge in terms of interior design or lighting (some were so enbathed in a greenish flourescent glow that we passed based on that alone), most serve up freshly caught sea-food and sparkling vinho verdes in generous proportions.

Later in the afternoon we took a short drive through the winding east-west secondary roads to Tavira, another small town. Finding it relatively deserted (it was December 26, after all) we enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the historic centre and drank coffee outside. Further afternoon sandwiches commenced. (I love sandwiches!)

On our way home to Olhao, we took a short detour up one of the hills, where we could get a pretty good overview of the south coast:

Towards the ocean

Towards the ocean

Towards the hills

Towards the hills

We got back to Olhao in time to take in a full sunset on the roof. We just got such beautiful views over the town, that it's hard not to post every single picture.

Looking to the second main church in Olhao

Looking to the second main church in Olhao