Silves

Monday morning the 3 of them went for a run as the sun rose. On the way down to the marina, they saw a roadblock with numerous people sitting on the side of the road outside of their cars.  It seems that Sunday night was a party night and many of these people were only heading home in morning (and weren’t quite sober). Unclear on whether they were arrested or just being detained until they sobered up.

After they got back from the run, we headed to Silves which is an inland town about 30 kms from Vilamoura. It is also in the direction of where the Portugal wildfires had started (they were at Monchique on Monday but heading south). We figured Silves would be OK (and it was) but it was clear that there were major fires in the area from the smoke haze in the sky over the whole area. On a side note, it is nice to know that people worry about you when something major like wildfires are taking place.  We have had numerous family, friends and even work colleagues checking on us to see if we were OK.

Silves is the former capital of the Algarve and is a small town (about 30000 residents) with the major landmark being the Castle. They are not entirely sure when the current Castle was built but they believe somewhere between the 8th and 13th centuries. The Moors occupied it and expanded it and it is remarkably well-preserved. However, they reckon the Romans were the first to use it as a castle in 201BC! That is probably the oldest place I have ever visited.

Driving around Silves is a major issue as the roads are very small and can hardly fit a car down them. B reckoned I was within a hand width from hitting the walls at points (when I say hand width I don’t mean the size of your hand, I mean the thickness of your finger!). Fortunately (despite the backseat driving) I did manage not hit anything at any point. We did have to park at the bottom of the town and walk up to the castle (which wasn’t as easy as it sounds given it was around 35 degrees C). By the time we were finished with the castle, the only thing on my mind was where we were stopping for a beer on the way down.

We spent the afternoon relaxing at the house and then in the evening after dinner we headed to the marina for ice creams. August is clearly the busiest month in Vilamoura. The traffic to the marina was backed up to such an extent that we took an early turn and packed at the far end of the marina and walked the extent of it to get to our standard gelato shop. There is also a distinctive change of tourists present in August – mainly families with young children. When we have been here previously in June/July it was generally couples (with the lady usually dressed up in high heels, make up plastered on etc). The quantity of people in the town feels like has doubled from what we are used to from being here in June/July. Add to that the extreme heat – even at 9am it was around 28 degrees – it probably isn’t the best time to actually come to Vilamoura.

Until later …

P, H, B & S

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