Portugal (Algarve) The almost incessant rain in the UK was getting on my nerves, so when I spotted a good deal on a flight to Portugal I packed a bag and headed for the airport.
Cliff Top Path Thursday - Early morning flight to Faro, where I picked up my hire car before driving the 38 miles (62km) down the A22 motorway to HPB Rocha Brava.As there were still a few hours of daylight left by the time I'd picked up the keys to my apartment and unpacked, I headed out for a walk along the cliffs.Here I am on the cliff path. The Farol de Alfanzina lighthouse is visible in the distance.
Er? I walked west to slightly past the Praia do Vale de Centeanes, where I came across this table and chairs perched on the edge of the cliff. You'll have to take my word for it that they were quite close to a really big drop as I wasn't inclined to venture any closer than this.
Praia do Vale de Centeanes That's the Praia do Vale de Centeanes down there. It was very tempting to pop into the beach bar for a beer or two while I watched the sunset, but it had been a long day already and I was keen to have a fairly early night.
Sunset I had to hang around on the cliffs near my resort for a few minutes to catch the sunset, but it was well worth the effort.Time to head home for a bite to eat and an early night.
Barragem da Bravura Friday - I'd decided to venture fairly far on my first full day and drove for around 45 mins to the Barragen da Bravura to go for a walk near the reservoir there.Here's my hire car parked in the car park of the Hello Goodbye restaurant (there was only one other car there!).
Barragem da Bravura The Barragem da Bravura itself is only a few minutes walk from the car park.
Drought Apparently the Algarve was suffering from a drought at this time, as can be seen from the low level of the reservoir, which would be expected to be pretty full at this time of year, in complete contrast to the UK, where there was very much an excess of water (which is why I was here in the first place).
Hills After walking along the bank of the reservior for half an hour or so, the trail turned inland and started to climb into the hills. The reservoir is still visible in the distance.
Highest Point From the highest point of my walk, there was a lovely view of the hills to the north.
Lone Tree I do like a nice photo of a lone tree.
Barragem da Bravura A couple of hours later and I was back at the dam.
Renault A photo of my hire car in front of the reservoir.
Apartment An hour or so later and I was back at my apartment for a late lunch. This is my living room.
Cliff Path After lunch I decided to go for another walk along the cliff top path. This is the path just in front of the Rocha Brava resort (where my apartment was).
Cliffs There are fabulous cliffs all along this section of coast.
Praia do Vale de Centeanes Passing the Praia do Vale de Centeanes (again).
Praia de Vale Covo That is a big sea cave. There are many such caves along this section of coast. I would be a bit nervous if my house was built on top of one of those. It's bad enough walking over them!
Seagull Does it feel like it's staring right at you?
Algar Seco After half an hour or so I arrived at Algar Seco, which is basically a bonkers bit of coastline that's been eroded by the sea in weird ways.
Carvoeiro Boardwalk On leaving Algar Seco, I took the Carvoeiro Boardwalk to, er, Carvoeiro.
Praia de Carvoeiro (from the East) And here's the beach at Carvoeiro. This is from the east side of the beach looking west.
Praia de Carvoeiro (from the West) And this is from the west side of the beach looking east.
Carvoeiro I think it makes the town look a lot smarter when (almost) all of the buildings are painted white.
Speedboat That looks exciting. There are boat trips from most of the towns and villages along the coast, visiting the sea caves and such.
Praia de Carvoeiro I just thought that looked interesting.
A (sort of) Door A sort of door to add to my interesting door collection, even though, strictly speaking, it's a former door that's been bricked up.
Praia do Vale de Centeanes On the way "home" I stopped for a rest at the beach bar/restaurant at the Praia do Vale de Centeanes.
Sink Holes On the way "home" I got a good view of some former sink holes that are now just part of the coastline. But you can see clearly where the water had eroded massive holes all the way from the top of the cliffs to the bottom. Total distance walked today - 12 miles (19.3 km)Total ascent today - 2,129 feet (649 m)Total descent today - 2,129 feet, (649 m)
Leaving Carrapateira Saturday - Longest drive of the week today, around 50 miles all the way to the west coast of Portugal. I parked my car in the tiny town of Carrapateira and headed into the countryside.
Hills For the first hour or so I was walking through these pretty hills. The photo is a bit washed out as it was taken almost directly into the sunshine.
Praia do Amado But soon enough I had reached the coast and was presented with this fabulous and almost completely deserted beach.
Rocks The rocks on the beach were a spectacular range of colours.
Praia do Amado This is the northern end of the beach in the earlier photo.
Praia do Amado That view point in the foreground is where the previous photo was taken from. Magnificent view. No people!
Cliff Path Again I was following a cliff top path.
Cliffs The rock formations in the cliffs were spectacular.
Cliffs As were the cliffs themselves.
Coastline More amazing cliffs and coastline. You should see how many photos I discarded!
H I'd already walked past K, J and I before I twigged that there was a sequence going on. Doh!In my defence, having seen the K and the J, I first though they might be like the letters that I'd been discovering during my trip to Crans Montana that I think were spelling out Crans Montana.
A Trap? When I first saw this gap in a safety fence I thought the fence was broken. However, the rest of the fence is in very good condition. Then I notices that every safety fence I came across had the same sort of gap. So I think the gap is so that you can stand in front of the post and get a photo of the view without the fence in it without having to walk out into the dangerous area (like everyone that I saw was doing anyway!).
Map It was at this point that I noticed the map etched into the big "H" that showed a trail and where all of the other letters were. So it appeared that the letters went from K to A (in the direction that I was walking), which made it all the more annoying that I'd missed taking photos og K, J and I. Although not annoying enough to go back.
G Suffice to say that I got photos of G, F, E, D and C (although I haven't included them here as you can probably imagine what they look like), but of B and A there was no sign.It's slightly disappointing that some degenerate has decided to deface G. It was the only one I saw that had been defaced though.
Flora There was a lot of flora along the cliff tops, but it was all tightly packed, bushes. You wouldn't want to have to pick your way through that if you lost the path.
Praia da Bordeira Another fabulous beach.
Praia da Bordeira They do know how to make a nice boardwalk around here.
Praia da Bordeira This would be a great place to come if you don't like your beaches to be crowded.
Scorchio The last mile or so of the trail was gently uphill along this soft sand path. Walking uphill on the soft sand was quite hard going, especially in the blazing sunshine and I was very glad to get back to the air conditioned comfort of my car.
Praia da Cordoama As I'd driven so far to get here, I didn't want to head straight home, so I drove a few miles south to the Praia da Cordoama (where Judith and I visited last year).I was planning to walk along the beach for a bit, but the tide was in so there wasn't much beach to walk on. So I headed up onto the cliffs instead.Some paragliders were just packing up as I arrived. Doh! It would have been nice to have seen them in action.
Praia da Cordoama A selfie on the cliffs.
Praia da Cordoama No idea who that is, but he's got the whole place to himself.
Praia da Cordoama No idea who they are either, but they've also got the whole place to themselves.
Beer Back home a while later and it was time for a well deserved beer (or two). It was a nice treat to find these dark lagers in the supermarket as they mainly go for the cooking lager around here.
Sunset I was going to walk down to the cliffs to watch the sunset, but once I'd opened a beer I couldn't muster the enthusiasm to put my boots back on. However, from what I could see of the sunset from my apartment, it looked like I might have missed a good one. Must make more effort!Total distance walked today - 7.4 miles (11.9 km)Total ascent today - 712 feet (217 m)Total descent today - 712 feet, (217 m)
Monchique Sunday - It wasn't a long way to Monchique (about 25 miles), but it was a winding road up into the hills and it took almost an hour to drive there. As I arrived early I was able to park my car in the small square in the middle of town before heading off on my walk.You can drive up this road. The steps are just narrow enough that a car's wheels will sit either side of them.
Banksy? There were a few of these around town, painted on walls and such.
Monchique Before long I'd left the town and was climbing steadily into the hills.
Trail The trail was wide and flat and pretty easy going.
Door An interesting door.
Foia After about 90 minutes I was approaching Foia, the highest point in the Algarve, on an actual paved road (I saw no traffic), which made for very easy going indeed.
Foia I think this is the marker for the highest point. However, slightly annoyingly, it's inside a military compound (that's their fence you can see in the foreground) so you can't actually get to it.
Foia Great views to the north.
Foia Also great views to the south, although they're a bit into the sun so not ideal for photos.Almost right in the middle of the photo you can just make out the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.
Monchique Having entertained myself with the views for a while, I retraced my steps back to Monchique, where I happened on this pretty little alleyway on my way back to my car. I would have also happened on it on my way out earlier, but a "helpful" local insisted that I was going the wrong way (even though I could see from the GPS trail on my watch that I wasn't) and sent me off down another road. Tcheeeeeer.
Clint Another potential Banksy.
Portimao N125 Bridge I'd driven over this bridge a few times already, but as you're not allowed to take photos while you're driving, I detoured into Portimao to find a spot to get a nice photo of the bridge from. This spot seems to have done nicely.I then returned to my apartment for some lunch.
Farol de Alfanzina Lighthouse As there was still plenty of daylight left, after lunch I headed onto the cliff top path again, but this time heading east.
Floating Rock There are great cliffs in this direction too.
Sea Cave That is a big sea cave!
Praia do Carvalho As it was Sunday, there seemed to be quite a few locals on the beach.
Praia do Benagil Benagil is a popular and pretty little village, with a super beach. They also run a lot of boat trips from here to the Algar de Benagil, which is the most spectacular sea cave along this stretch of coast.
Praia do Benagil Here's a boat returning now. He looks like he might have overcooked his approach to the beach a bit.
Sea Cave Slightly further along the coast I stumbled across a sea cave that you could see down into and there was a boat in it! That can't have been easy.
Praia da Marinha I walked as far east as Praia da Marinha, which is supposed to be one of the most picturesque beaches in the world.
Arco Natural From the same spot I could also see the Arco Natural, a double Durdle Door. A minute after I took this photo, a speedboat whizzed through one of the arches (which probably doesn't help with erosion), but I wasn't quick enough with my camera to capture the moment.
Arco Natural A couple of minutes after that, this much larger boat nudged as close as it dare to the arches. I reckon it would have fir through, but it would have been a squeeze and there would likely have been all sorts of forms to fill in if the arch had collapsed onto it.
The Big Blue Or, in this case, the big grey as I've converted this photo into black and white.
Algar de Benagil There's a safety fence around the hole into the top of the Algar de Benagil sea cave and every single time I've ever walked past here (five now I think) there has been one or more imbeciles inside the safety fence either taking a selfie or having their picture taken.That guy is standing four feet from the edge of what looks to him like a cliff. However, it's not a cliff. It's a roof. There's about four feet of rock under his feet and then about a hundred and fifty feet of air and then the ground. That safety fence is there for a reason you dunce!
Farol de Alfanzina On my way home the sun was getting quite low in the sky, so I got a nice silhouette of the Farol de Alfanzina against the bright sky background.
The Coffee Shop I stopped into The Coffee Shop for a swift beer on my way home. Again, I was lucky enough to find another dark lager, although the lady had to go and search for it in the back as they evidently don't sell enough of them to keep it close to hand.
Sunset Having missed what looked like a good sunset yesterday, I was determined to make more effort today. And I wasn't disappointed.
Sunset Total distance walked today - 12.1 miles (19.5 km)Total ascent today - 2,497 feet (761 m)Total descent today - 2,497 feet, (761 m)
Ilha do Rosario Monday - Less than a half hour drive to the start of today's walk.I discovered this apparently abandoned structure of some sort near the designated start, so decided to park my car under it, out of the sun.
Levada For the first half an hour or so I followed this levada (small canal). There was no water in it for the mile-and-a-half or so that I followed it.
Odelouca River The levada runs next to the Odelouca River. I'm not sure why you'd need a canal next to a river, but there you go. There must have been a reason.
Burning I'm glad I wasn't walking downwind of that.
Sky-vada Eventually the levada I'd been following became a sky-vada (that's not a real word, I made it up) and I could follow it no further. So my trail headed off in a different direction.
I can see my car from here! After another 90 mins or so I could see my start point again.
I can see my car from here! See, I told you I could see my car from here.
Door Yet another interesting door. It's rich interesting door pickings in these here parts!Time to head home for some lunch.
Praia do Vale de Centeanes As my morning walk had been particularly not at all challenging, after lunch I had a stroll down to Praia do Vale de Centeanes. I was going to stop for a beer but it was well busy so I didn't bother.
Sunset For sunset today I'd decided to head to this little observation deck that's situated about half a mile east of the Farol de Alfanzina. I arrived about 30 mins before sunset, just to make sure I didn't miss anything.
Sunset Total distance walked today - 4.5 miles (7.2 km)Total ascent today - 184 feet (56 m)Total descent today - 184 feet, (56 m)
Sunrise Tuesday - Up early enough today to almost see the sunrise! This was the view from my apartment's balcony.
Foia - Almost I was heading high again today and the start point for my walk was only about half a mile from Foia, the highest point in the Algarve.
Autódromo Internacional do Algarve There was a good view of the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve from here.
Tony Hart View Looking east, where the sun was still fairly low in the sky, there was a nice Tony Hart view of the distant hills.
View West However, I was, initially at least, heading west.
Unnamed Lookout This must be a good place to lookout from as it's got a fire watchtower. However, as far as I could tell, it didn't have a name.
View North There was a fabulous view to the north. I would be walking somewhere down there soon.
Wind Turbines The trail went right past these wind turbines. It's not often you get the opportunity to get so close to them. They're very big and surprisingly noisy. I can see why people aren't keen to have them too near their houses.
Woods The trail descended into woodland for a while before it turned onto a road. There was no pavement and I had to walk on the road for a couple of miles. But, much to my surprise, I didn't see a single car in the 45 mins or so that I was on the road!
Trail Then I was back onto a very well marked trail. These stone posts appeared every couple of hundred yards to indicate which way I should, or should not, go.
Out in the Open The trail climbed steadily until I left the woodland behind
Nice Lone Tree Pic
Car And before long I was back at my car. Time to head home for some lunch.
The Road to Carvoiero After lunch I was feeling enthusiastic, so I decided to walk down the road from Rocha Brava to Carvoeiro, a distance of about two miles.
Carvoeiro Here's the lovely beach at Carvoeiro. I then walked back home along the cliff top path.
Farol de Alfanzina Sunset For sunset today I had decided to head back to the same area as yesterday, but today I was going to try to position myself so that the sun set right behind the lighthouse. This was obviously a bit before the actual sunset as the sun is still a bit up in the sky.
Farol de Alfanzina Sunset Actual sunset.Total distance walked today - 12.2 miles (19.6 km)Total ascent today - 2,057 feet (627 m)Total descent today - 2,057 feet, (627 m)
Silves Wednesday - My last full day today, so I headed to the pretty town of Silves to do a walk starting there.
Windmill After winding through the streets of Silves for a while, I was soon out in the countryside, where I had a nice view of this windmill, which was apparently on my route.
Castle As I got further away from Silves, I had a nice view of their castle.
Windmill Another view of the windmill.
Hills There were trails all over these hills. You could have ambled about here all day. It would be a great area to do a bit of mountain biking.
Windmill Finally at the windmill, although it didn't look like it was going to be doing any milling any time soon.
Silves There was a nice view back to Silves and its castle from the windmill.
Trail The trail heading away from the windmill.
Trail The trail looking back towards the windmill. I probably only needed to include one of those photos, but I like them both and couldn't choose between them.
Levada After about 90 mins the trail followed this levada for a bit. My trail notes said that this levada was connected to the one I was walking along a couple of days ago. I wonder at what point it ceases to have water in it?
Bee Someone has painted a massive bee on the side of this building on the way back into Silves.
Silves Then I was back in Silves.
Stork There are storks all over the place in Silves. I reckon the locals hate them as they build massive nests all over the place.
Storks I assume the plastic stork (the one one the left, obvs) was intended to discourage real storks (like the one on the right) from nesting on this roof. That's not worked then.
Apartment Back to my apartment for lunch. It's just occurred to me that I hadn't included any photos of the outside of my apartment at all, so here's one. It's the one at the top to the left of the lamp post.
Carvoeiro Boardwalk As it was my last day, after lunch I decided to reprise my walk to Carvoeiro. Here I am on their excellent boardwalk.
Clouds Blimey, those are pretty much the first clouds I've seen all week!
Sunset at Praia do Vale de Centeanes I'd timed my walk so that I would arrive at Praia do Vale de Centeanes about half an hour before sunset. Surprisingly there weren't many people there for the sunset so I decided to have a beer in the bar/restaurant rather than just hang around on the beach.
Sunset at Praia do Vale de Centeanes
Sunset at Praia do Vale de Centeanes Total distance walked today - 9.9 miles (15.9 km)Total ascent today - 1,427 feet (435 m)Total descent today - 1,427 feet, (435 m)
Flying Thursday - On the plane I'd been allocated seat 1C, so I was almost sat in the cockpit! (I'll point out that this was taken while we were still on the ground, which is why the door to the cockpit is open.)
The End Rather than finish with a picture of the inside of a plane, I've repeated the picture of the lovely Praia da Bordeira from Saturday. The weather has been super all week and I've had a brilliant time.Total distance walked this week - 58.1 miles (93.4 km)Total ascent this week - 9006 feet (2745 m)Total descent this week - 9006 feet, (2745 m)The rest of the gallery contains photos of some of the lovely flowers I've observed during my walks this week.
Flowers Same as the previous flower, but closing up for the night!
Flowers This is one of my favourites.
Flowers I thought this was the same as the previous one, but now I'm not so sure.
Flowers And I'll finish with my favourite one.