Keith on February 16th, 2012

Keith did not take the attached photo’s.  Extramadura is a national park in Spain and is our next place to visit when we leave Portugal.  It is known as big bird country.

A Dutch couple on site who are birdwatchers and, him a photogrographer asked Keith to  take them to see the flamingo’s.  The result was an enjoyable afternoon, some exchange of information and knowledge.

The waders were taken on the Algarve, the birds of prey, at Extramadura.

Enjoy, Keith.

 

Keith on February 3rd, 2012

Yesterday, Thursday, we took a drive in land and ended up in Mertola.  We drove through some very arid and desolate landscape, not exactly scenic.

Mertola is built on a ridge at the confluence of two rivers.  At  the highest point is a castle and the remains of Roman settlement.

The bronze effigies of varies animals relates to the towns situation as the centre of a national park.  On the plaque explaining the reason for the monument it states that it celebrates the presence in the park of the depicted species and there international importance.  It then goe’s on to say that it was unvieled by dignitories including the town mayor, who, according to the plaque, enjoyed hunting. Umnn.

Keith on January 31st, 2012

We leave Portugal on the 1st march and travel to Ceseres in Spain, a days journey.  Plan to stay for six days.  From there to Mulhouse in France, three/four day drive.  A few days there, leave it open ended, lots to see.  Then, time permitting, to Krakow, Poland.  Three days driving.  Will need at least a week there.

Across Germany, Belgium and to Dunkerque to catch a ferry on the 29th March.

Keith on January 29th, 2012

This part of the Algarve is not subject to the same level of intense development as the western Algarve.  It is still largely rural with  small scale agricultural and fruit growing.

The people are friendly, when we go for a walk they acknowledge us either with a gesture or verbal greeting. We have noticed that the population in the rural areas is mostly of retirement age. Indeed, if they did not carry on maintaining the small holdings the deterioration of the land would be even greater.  It strikes us that with the coming of tourism and the building of large detached properties, mostly for incomers, it as changed values.  It is no longer economically viable to grow produce.  It is quite sad to see the land, houses and buildings falling in to disrepair with signs of neglect evident.

Once you adjust to the local culture it is a lovely place. They have a relaxed life style and a strong social bond.

If you want to spend time in warm sunshine with a relaxed atmosphere good value food and friendly people, visit  the eastern Algarve.  Just stay away from the tourist hot spots and go rural.

Keith on January 29th, 2012

Most communities in the Algarve still have municipal markets selling a variety of produce.  Meat, fish, fruit and veg.  They vary in size according to the local community.  Some traders are selling their own produce.  What is nice is the variety, not only in terms of produce but, also the number of traders.  It allows you to select produce in the quantity and from the stall of your choice .

Yesterday we shopped at Tavira, one of the larger ones.  As you enter the building there is a literally a buzz.

Keith on January 29th, 2012

As we wander and drive around the area we, or rather Jan, spots various trees, shrubs and flowers.  Some are colourful, some simply unusual.

Thought it would be nice to share them with you.  There will be more. Camera was playing up, well operator error.

Watch this space, more pictures to come.

Keith on January 26th, 2012

They grow into large shrubs in the Algarve.  We have seen some nice ones in the gardens.  If you planted them in the UK it would shirvell up.

Keith on January 17th, 2012

Ann instructed me not do any more blogs about how warm it is, this one is about how cold it is.

Sunday night it rained quite hard.  Yesterday it was windy.

The temperature dropped to 9° last night, now thats cold.

Do I detect a wave of sympathy heading our way across the ether?

Thought not.

Keith on January 15th, 2012

When we get up in the morning we have to open the blinds at the front of the van. A signal to our neighbours that we are up and about.

Keith on January 12th, 2012

If Portugal imposed a tax on single use carrier bags they would be in the black inside a month.