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Portugal Trip from July 16 to 28, 2008

With only limited time available and no research we zig-zagged Portugal from bottom to top in search for beautiful scenery, culture and heritage. We have broken Portugal into three (3) sections. Portugal Photos Page 1 covers the Algarve coast line and Evora. Portugal Photo Page 2 is central Portugal including Lisbon, Alcobaca, Batatha and Tomar.  Whereas Portugal Photo Page 3 outlines our visit to the Serra da Estrela, Oporto, Douro Wine Country and Parque Natural de Montesinho. To read more proceed to Portugal Journal.

Our Route through PORTUGAL. Covered approx. 2,500km on the motorcycles.

July 17, 2008. We arrived in Southern Portugal the previous day and our first excursion was SILVES.

Once called Xelb, it was the Moorish capital of the Algarve.

This cathedral was built on top of a mosque and is located right beside the walls of the Castle.

As we wander up the cobbled stone street toward the main gate we run past a restaurant called Ruby.

A sculpture of a Knight.

At the time of our visit the castle was under renovation and ...

... we were only able to walk along the outer walls.

The walls allow a great view of the country side and the town of Silves below.

A good view of the cathedral which dates to the 13th Century AD.

This is what Portugal or the Portuguese are most famed for. Houses that are covered in tiles.

The streets are typical European. Narrow and not a straight road in side.

By chance we had picked up a flyer that advertised the outdoor exhibition of the WORLD OF SAND.

Touristy for sure, but who cares. We saw some incredible sand sculptures.

The theme this year was Hollywood Movies.

Most of them do not require any explaination...

... as the replication of movie stars is amazing.

The scale of most of the sculptures is hard to show on photo's unless we stand right beside it.

Alice in Wonderland in life size.

We could not resist posing with this sand sculpture as we had been to Petra in Jordan.

Star Wars

Here is a good example of how large the exhibition was.

Our last stop of the day was the Algarve.

Yes it is really this beautiful.

We start our hike along the top of the cliffs at Praia da Marinha.

Some beaches are only accessable by boat, ...

... as the cliffs are to steep to descend.

In 1986 Ruby had visited exactly this spot with her parents...

... not much had changed, except maybe more tourists.

The water is still a beautiful turquoise color.

A stunning coastline...

... a kayakers paradise, with many hidden caves to explore.

We continue walk along the edge of the cliff past Praia da Albandeira and Praia Senhora da Rocha.

Seabirds enjoy the view as well.

Ever corner we turn there is another sandy beach framed by high cliff walls.

The region we are exploring is just around the town of Benagil.

Ruby takes a stroll to the end of the cliff.

We were surprised how empty the beaches were.

The Atlantic Ocean looks very inviting here.

We had last seen these in Morocco.

A well tracked path leads more inland.

We return to our original starting point and continue westwards.

This is the terrain along the edge of the cliffs.

We actually took 100's of pictures.

Once day we would be back with our kayaks and catamaran.

As Mike takes more pictures ...

... Ruby can't resist to walk right out to the end of this cliff...

... a closer look at were I stand.

The question is does it get any better? Not really. Actually after our two (2) hour excursion...

... we return to the motorcycle only to see that the locked Jesse bags had been broken into. Welcome to Portugal.

9 months in Africa & nothing was stolen & our 2nd day in Portugal & we are without cash, credit cards, identification and Ruby's motorcycle jacket was gone.

We had a credit card & some cash hidden on my motorcycle at the campsite and returned to LAGOS to exchange our cash.

We had to take this picture as I had a similar one of my brother in the exact same spot in 1986. The FORTE PONTA DA BANDEIRA.

We spent July 18, 2008 re-evaluating the remainder of the trip & decided not to got our trip short.

In the evening of the 18th of July we returned to the Algarve, this time we ventured east of Lagos... the Praia Dona Ana and onwards ...

... to Praia do Camilo.

We got as far as the Praia Grande before the sun was getting to deep.

Ruby found the nude beach again. Another great story of siblings running along the encrapment in 1986...

& seeing a police officer hidding behind pushes with his binoculars.

One last look at Lagos in the distance.

Our superb campground close to Lagos called the Camping Turiscampo.

It had all the amenities from a market, internet to a great pool.

July 19, 2008. We pack up our gear and head to the most south-western point of mainland Europe.

The view from Sagres to Cabo de Sao Vicente.

The extreme South-West of Europe lies CABO DE SAO VICENTE...

... In the middle Ages this point was thought the end of the world.

The Atlantic Ocean & a few thousand kilometer further Canada.

At Aljezur we head east on the N267 & N266 through the Serra de Monchique, a volcanic mountain range. Thanks to this website www.bestbiking

In land the road turns straight and flat as we make our way through seas of wheatland to Evora. The occasional ancient fortress can be seen from the highway.

July 20, 2008. Another one of those places worth visiting. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 it ...

... kept us busy sightseeing.

EVORA is located in the Alentejan plain.

The walled city is famous for its unique Churches.

One in particular, which is located within the Sao Franciso...

The entrance reads "Nos ossos que aqui estamos, pelos vossos esperamos".

Translation "We bones that are here await yours".

The Capela dos Ossos was created in the 17th Century...

... from the remains of 5000 monks.

Skulls and bones cover every wall.

The Altar surrounded by 1000's of bones.

The corpse of a child ...

... dangles from a chain.

Even the ceiling is decorated in skulls.

An eerie place to be.

The facade of the Sao Francisco which houses the Capela dos Ossos.

The 15th Century Church itself is as many European churches...

... beautifully decorated with lots of sparkling gold.

Praca do Giraldo, the main square, with its fountain which dates back to 1571.

Narrow roads.

The ancient aqueduct build by the Romans.

Flowers galore.

We follow the aqueduct as it winds its way through town...

... It is interesting to see how the aqueduct now form an integral part of today%u2019s houses.

From the Convento dos Loios we have an excellent view of the 9km long aqueduct as it enters the city.

In the midst of all the churches and palaces is this ancient Roman Temple.

It is believed that the Temple was dedicated to the Goddess Diana.

It dates back to the 2nd or 3rd Century AD.

Se, the cathedral, with its unmatched towers.

The Nossa Senhora da Graca.

The sculptures of this Palladian facade are supporting globes.