The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday, 22 February 2019

Friday 22 February - Silves

We've been in Silves for a few days now, and whilst there doesn't seem to be much by way of walking options around here, I did find a local circuit on, so today we went to take a look at it.

It didn't start with promise, being on a wide dirt road with nothing much of interest around us. Fortunately, it improved greatly as it went on. 

I'm not sure how much of the walk was within a nature reserve, but signs told us that thousands of trees had been planted. Given that there doesn't seem to be any other significant use for this type of arid land, it is something of a mystery to me why there are quite so many tracks criss-crossing the land. Thank goodness for electronic navigation tools, otherwise huge concentration would have been needed to keep on the right line! Here's just a small snippet of the map, by way of illustration:

Here are a few snaps:

A watering hole in the planted area:

Looking back from the same spot:

This is the first time, whilst walking in the Porguguese countryside, that we have come across a bench (contrast with Germany, where we were almost tripping over them at every turn, and Spain which is very partial to picnic areas in obscure locations). It was the bench beside the track that we saw first, before the full picnic area below came into view. It was just a shame that today was the one occasion that we went out with neither a flask of coffee nor a snackette. There didn't seem much point on such a short walk when there was no chance of there being a convenient bench... 

I think this one illustrates quite how barren the landscape can be around here:

The sun was in the wrong place for the photo, but as we started to descent back towards Silves, we rounded a bend to see a windmill ahead of us. The track leading up there was incredibly steep! 

A bit closer to (and using the HDR camera function to counteract the sun being in the wrong place):

The air has been a bit smoky and hazy this week, which robbed us of a good view of the large castle at Silves (we visited it yesterday - more of which here):

It was around 5.5 miles with around 600' of ascent. 


  1. My last couple of comments have failed to appear as I have mentioned in my recent email to you, so I hope I will have better luck with this one. I wonder how you manage with the language on your travels - even if you can do some Spanish I wouldn't have thought it would be much use in Portugal?

    1. How we cope with a lack of language depends on where we are.

      Google Translate is a wonderful tool and I always like to learn a few basics (like 'two decaf coffees please', 'four stamps to England', and, most importantly 'Do you speak English?'). This does, of course, create the risk of getting a response that is completely uncomprehensible, but usually my pronounciation is so awful that they respond in English (which, in France and sometimes in Spain, leads to one of those conversations where we swap languages, with them speaking English and me their language).

      As it goes, in this area of Portugal almost everyone seems to speak English and/or French, and they clock you as a foreigner on sight and seem to know what language to use.

      In Norway I didn't even learn any phrases as English is so widely spoken.

      Germany last summer was more of a problem, so we barely had any interaction with the locals. Thank goodness cake and bread can be so easily bought by pointing and the use of a few numbers!

  2. I'm a bit surprised to hear that French is useful in Portugal - I would be ok there except when people of a non-French nationality speak French it is often even more difficult to understand than the real thing.

    1. The Algarve is overrun with motorhomes and most of them are French. That may or may not be why French is so widely spoken in the shops/restaurants/Aires where we've been.

      I had a brief conversation with a chap in French at a place we were staying a couple of weeks ago, after which Mick & I tried to guess what nationality he was, as his accent was so very clear to my British ear. I was sure he wasn't a Brit, so Dutch was our best guess. We later saw him sitting outside of his van. It turned out he was French!

  3. *laughing emoji* at your last comment. Classic!