Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tavira ... our favourite town in the Algarve, Portugal

Monday 2 May 2014

Tavira is about an hour's train ride from Albufeira station and the fare we paid was €11.40 odd for me and literally half that price for Alan who, at sixty-eight years old in six week's time has simply to show his passport to get the OAP discount. The trains are old but efficient. Sometimes it's a little difficult to enjoy the view as you travel along as the glass in the windows is so old it's gone fuzzy.


The day began to be enjoyable while we waited for the train and were kept amused and interested by the swallows which nest beneath the bridge over the lines. Swarms of them were swooping in and out of dried mud nests, not seeming to go to any particular nest (although it's very likely they knew which was home) and being excitedly pushed back by already-resident swallows in that nest. They'd either find one they were allowed in to or would swoop off again in search of some innocent insect minding its own business somewhere. I loved watching them pop in and out of the front door holes, like little corks being let off and being squished easily back in again. You can see a couple of their nests in this shot.
It's a lovely, old-fashioned train station

 We couldn't resist this view of a pub to the back of the station.
Whoever thought bright pink and bright orange were just meant for each other!

Arriving in Tavira we had read in the book of words that the train station is a kilometre or so out of town and were happy to find that it was downhill all the way. And guess what? We stopped for a coffee for Alan (is it not comforting that life can be so predictable?  ) and a lovely fruity Calippo water ice for me. I've grown particularly fond of Calippo water ices and am not sure what I will do when we leave Portugal. They come in strawberry, bubblegum, cola - and probably a few other flavours, but that's what I've consumed so far. There's no little wooden or plastic stick inside. They are rather wrapped in a waxed cardboard cone which you squish at the bottom, going higher and higher up the cone as you eat the bit that has been squished out. Then at the end, sad that it's finished, you tip the remaining juice into your disappointed mouth. Here, I've just taken some pics:

Okay, enough about good things to consume, follow us into Tavira:

A rather nice, strong crest which caught Alan's eye
on the city hall building. (Well, it was at least some type of official building)

This is a rather ancient convent. Perhaps
you can read its inscription below?
I get a real kick out of these centuries old buildings.

The convent from a different viewpoint.

The chicken wire on the inner door panel caught my eye
and the locks were Alan's favourite.

Bouganvillea! We had a really huge one of these
in the garden of the house I grew up in in Durban.
It was the size of our motorhome and flowered for
most of the year. Bouganvillea have a special place in my heart.

This is the Bouganvillea known as Natalia in South Africa.
It was one of the more rare Bouganvilleas there when I was
growing up and I remember feeling so proud that my Mum
had planted one in a pot at our front door. I love it to this day.

A rather stunning staircase and hallway - the entrance to
another official-looking building

I was sooo tempted to cool my toes in this pool outside of
that stunning entrance to the building, but being that no-one else
had the same idea, and that it was likely some nice official would
rush out from said building and stop me, I decided not to
embarrass myself and to remain hot and wishful.

Locals. An uninvasive invasive hip-shot by Alan.
Above and below.

This is where we were heading for lunch. Four years ago, when we
brought Mum down to Portugal with us, we sat here and had lunch.
I can't remember the lunch but Alan swears it was great! That's
why I'm taking to photographing our meals out ... so I can remember them.
This time we chose to sit outside, on the river front and enjoy our meal.

And speaking of meals .....

Mateus Rose wine with Monk Fish Cataplana ... for two ...

'Twas divine .....

Two views from where we had lunch, with
stunning reflections of the buildings in the river.
(above and below)

After that lunch ... another more than two hour sitting ... we were way too heavy to walk much for a while, so wandered down to where the boats were. Boats are like magnets to Alan. Coffee and boats. He just can't help himself. Memories to keep for himself ...

In 2010 we walked this same pavement (below) and I bought an acrylic-enhanced giclee (high quality print of an artwork) of an abstract orange. A painting which now hangs in my hallway at home and which still brings me joy every day. This time I restrained myself, didn't even enter that particular shop because of its huge temptation levels, and consoled myself by buying a lovely scarf and some much-needed cool sandals. I was dying of heat in my socks and shoes.

I don't do at all well in severe heat so once again guarded bags on a red bench in the town park while Alan and camera walked the length of the Roman bridge which still stands. I enjoy bag-guarding. It's really my excuse for people-watching.

 A feature of the red-benched park where I sat.

 From where I sat these trees made an incredible
live-art piece. They seem to have not known that
Spring was well under way and Summer knocking loudly
on the door. No leaves. But their silver branches
against the blue sky were magnificent.

Himself read in the book of words that it's from the time of the Romans, although there's no plaque to mention it's status and it looks renovated beyond Romandom to me. I wonder if he's got the right bridge? He swears he has.

This plaque, at one end of the supposedly Roman bridge
also mentioned nothing about Romans but seemed rather
to be a memorial to some folk in 1383.

This is the bridge. The one dating back to the Romans.

View from the Roman bridge. Take note of the house on
the left. The one between the two bushes. It's a quaintly
adorned hostel ..... and here it is closer ...
(multiple pics recorded here for himself who enjoyed both
the house and taking pics of it)

Now you can see why ... they've mounted gaily painted
chairs on the walls to hold pot plants.
Quite a cute idea and well worth me posting up four pics of it!

From the much-talked about bridge, looking back to the
town square (with the cool pool not meant for refreshing hot toes)

The end of the bridge which leads away from the centre of town.

Looking down river towards the sea
(above and below)

The park where I'm sitting on a red bench in the shade of
the trees is on the right (above and below)

This was a sneaky shot by me. I really wanted to remember this couple.
I think it was son taking mother out for a stroll and a bit of an airing.
There was such love and care between the two of them it was almost
a tangible thing. Nothing mushy, just genuine love and care, which I
wanted to remember.

A cloud! In fact there were a few clouds in the sky that day.
Most of the clouds we've seen have been airplane trails.

One more bottle of water of our red bench later, it was getting time to slowly head for the train station again. Uphill this time. We made it with time to spare. It seemed a long train ride home, with milk-train stops along the way, but it's always fun to watch the people and study the graffiti, soaking in the atmosphere of different cultures.

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