Another leisurely day in Vilamoura. The weather was back to the predictable – high 20s, light breeze, no cloud in the sky for most of the day. I reckon the weather stays like this for most of the summer. The breeze tends to pick up from about mid-morning and sometimes becomes quite strong but besides that you would have to say it is ideal weather.
Helen and I were up at a reasonable time and Helen even managed to go for a fairly lengthy run (just under 7km). By the time she got back the rest of the household were still snoring. After eventually rousing the sleeping dead (aka S, M & C) we headed out for a nearby town called Silves. Silves was formerly the capital of the Algarve and has it’s origins as far back as the Roman Empire. On the top of the hill is the Silves castle which has origins from as far back as the 8th century. Most of the construction you can see today dates back to the 12th century. Pretty impressive construction that is still standing about 900 years later. Pretty sure that most constructions done today won’t be standing in 900 years, in fact a lot of them probably won’t be around in 100 years time.
The castle was interesting but not sure it was worth the €11 entrance fee (M & C free and again S was a drain on resources). The best part of the castle was that you get quite a good view of the surrounding area from the castle walls as you can see in the photos. The construction of the houses is very typical of the Algarve with the white walls and orange tile roofs. The area is also surrounded by orange groves and vineyards.
Probably the best part of the trip was I noticed a small shop as we exited the castle and popped my head in and found that it was actually a wine shop. The owner was very friendly and quickly offered for me to taste two of the local ports. I have so far been underwhelmed by the Portuguese wine (only bought and drunk Portuguese wine so far) but their Port is in another league though. I guess you wouldn’t name the country after Port if you weren’t good at making it. He persuaded me to taste the white Port (which you drink chilled) and I immediately knew I was going to have to buy a bottle. And then I tasted the tawny Port and that was even better. So now I have 3 bottles of Port at the house and will have to decide which one I take back to SA with me and what I will leave here for future consumption. Will be a hard choice.
We had parked right up at the entrance to the castle which seemed liked a sensible thing to do when we went up (as it saved the walk up the hill) but then we had to drive down again and through the town. The GPS wasn’t overly helpful in leading us through the smallest streets I have ever driven in. The high pitched grunts from Helen in the passenger seat also didn’t help. I said she should only scream out if I was actually going to hit something and not if I was just close (because otherwise it was going to be one constant scream). Eventually we managed to squeeze our way out and back onto a normal size road with no damage to the car.
On the way back we stopped at our favourite Hypermarket to re-stock on food and upgrade some of the household goods. The meat section is my favourite part of the store. Today they had whole skinned rabbit. Chloe & Helen were not impressed especially since we have rabbits as pets. Horse meat is also pretty common. The fruit is the other thing that amazes me because I thought I knew every fruit that was known to man but clearly not. Today I took the plunge and bought Platerina’s. They looked like squashed Nectarine’s. I haven’t had one yet but expect them to taste similar to a Nectarine (will let you know tomorrow when I actually try one).
Leisurely, late dinner followed by 2 more episodes of Suits, writing this blog and then off to bed. Hopefully we won’t be attacked by the same mosquito that attacked me last night. The fact that the overhead ceiling fan is on (and won’t turn off now) will probably help to keep it away.
Until then … P, H, M, C & S (because he was once again a financial burden this trip)