When you live nomadically, there are sometimes cross roads where the question of “Should I stay, or should I go?” yields muddled answers.
And so it was for us with Portugal. We bounced back and forth between Portugal and Spain over the past 3 months, driven in large part by the availability of home exchanges that Peta lined up.
Yet it feels like Portugal’s rough Algarve coast didn’t get enough “play” and since we are, after all, always looking for a potential future home base, it seems that we need to spend a few more weeks in this beautiful region where mountains meet the sea, in a dramatic way, at the cliff’s edge.
The beaches are phenomenal ~ large powdery sand beaches, many go on for miles and miles virtually empty of any other visitors. Most of them have not a building in sight, as they are within the nationally protected nature reserve of this area. Each beach of course has its own distinct characteristics.
We both love Portugal. It has a rustic, rough charm that has seduced us slowly but surely.
The cliffs are made up of stripes of slate, both black and earth tones, which are dramatically layered one on top of the other, much like “mille fueilles.”
OMMMM Shanti Shanti……
Carefully balanced vertical stacks of granite stones ~ A collective impromptu sculpture garden on one beach.
While the magnificent rock formations are the dominant features of our first series of beaches, we discover a serene pocket of bird life and sand dunes as we travel North from beach to beach.
Lawrence of Arabia?
One of the environmentally friendly features of Portuguese beaches are the wooden walkways that are attractive and have low impact on the surrounding nature.
Hundreds of waterfowl and seagulls are wading in the lagoon protected by the sand dunes. A National Geographic moment!
There will be a future series of nature inspired paintings upcoming. (Think Diebenkorn on this one!)
I love recharging my batteries with natures positive energy.
I have always thought the world looks awesome upside down, and still do!
Abstract painting inspiration. Large smooth stones with geometric lines of white running through their core.
The Algarve coast is however, not just coast… it also has a bounty of forested lush green softly curved hills which still have roving herds of goats and sheep. The combination of farm life, mountain fresh air and beaches pretty much casts a spell on us. The fresh simple seafood doesn’t hurt either!
Already, we start visualizing life and a potential future “nest” for ourselves in the Algarve.
Nesting on a mountain top…. sun, wind, fresh air, mountains, sea and love. What more does one need?
OMMM … Keeping alive our Chiang Mai meditation practice.
Pockets of small forest, both pine and eucalpytus dot the hills and valleys. No agriculture, and very few buildings in this region due to the protected natural reserve.
Baby pine trees.
One of Peta’s favorite types of trees.. Eucalpytus. These trees have multi colored bright bark shedding from their trunks. Spectacular!
A goat herder crosses the landscape with his two herding dogs.
What a beautiful sight!
An elderly sheep herder (woman) manages a large herd thanks to her well trained sheep herding dogs. The countryside becomes a choir of sheep bells until they pass by!
Ben is in his element! Animals are an important part of our travels and we are ecstatic to come across these guys. (Shades of India…)
There are small towns scattered throughout the region… Each with its own set of charms.
Vila de Bispo ~ We came back through this town a few times after finding a perfect small restaurant with amazing seafood cooked by a Portuguese grandmother who proudly came out the kitchen to bring us her delicious creations, passed down from generation to generation.
Carvoeiro, where we had our home exchange. A small coved beach with turquoise waters and homes close to the edge of the cliffs.
Beaches which stretch for miles and miles…..
The town of Aljezur ~ from atop an old Moorish fort, now in ruins.
Perfect spot for a house, um I mean, castle. Someone got here before us!
A few years ago this village was abandoned. Today it has been carefully restored and has been revitalized.
7 of the original inhabitants still live here year round. An enterprising local entrepreneur spent two years tracking down the owners and descendants of owners, of the abandoned houses. He bought 30 of them, restored them and now rents them out by the night and week. They are fully booked for months ahead of time! Once again, there is life in the village.
A sign of where our head is at… (any time we fall in love with a place, we pretty much visualize ourselves living there to the point of finding specific houses in specific locations.)
What a joy to find that beaches like this DO still exist in some magical places in the world!
Algarve! We will be back!