Enough with the cliffs. I think that it is time to make some notes about the trails themselves. So this post shows mostly trail markers, photos of Carol with a backdrop of the trail or the cliffs and a perspective shot of what we are trying to see.

The 1st photo is of Carol on a typical trail, they are wide and comfortable with a rough cover of limestone rocks. The 2nd photo shows a trail marker with an arrow telling the hiker to turn right. The photo shows a series of markers going up the trail to the left. You should be able to see four trail makers, and the 4th photo tells the hiker that this is not the trail. Lots of people follow these paths - typically we did not.

The 5th photo shows a trail on the other side of the valley. It is the thin line towards the top of the photo. The wider trail along the lip of the rock is more exciting and appeared to have more traffic. We took the higher trail because we could see that the lower, wider trail had lots of erosion under it. Can you see the trail marker in the upper right of the photo on the other side of the valley? #6 Carol navigating.

Then a resting spot where we could sit and wonder at the view. #9 shows Toore da Lapa in the medium distance and Lagos in the far distance.

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Today we went for a drive to the Atlantic along the western coast of Portugal. to a village name Carrepateria. The drive was about an hour partly on the A22 and the reminder on some winding secondary highway - a nice drive.

The trail follows a river into the Atlantic, to a beautiful wide beach at the mouth then rises into the dunes caused by the Atlantic waves and the wind (If you look closely at photo 2 you will see Carol dwarfed by the dune.) In the mouth of the river, there were parasailors in the gliding in the wind of the valley. It was spectacular, the parasailors were able to jump and be pulled 25 feet into the air at their turns. It seemed like a confined area and I could not figure out how they kept from entangling their sails with others. Very interesting to watch.

From the base of the dunes up to the shoreline which gave wonderful views of the coast both north and south.

It was cool and very windy. We had intended to walk the trail for the 1st 5 kilometers but had to give in the elements and drive the clifftop road stopping frequently to run out onto a rock outcrop to take in the view and snap some photos.

On our return to Carvoeiro, we detoured into the marina at Lagos for lunch. Dinner in the early evening - a home-cooked Thai green curry with chicken and broccoli. We have left-overs.

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Seagulls

portugal

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We made it to the top. The slope on this trail was quite severe but we both made it to the lookout at the top. We considered taking the side trail to see the iron-age stone fortifications but decided that the trail was too overgrown. Great fun and for a reward we each had an expensive beer at the bar cafe at the foot.

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MotherJones

Image and words from an article in Mother Jones about the photography of Dawoud Bey. Beautiful portraits.

Another hiking day with the trail a mixture of gravel tracks and footpaths. The trail was not easy to find and I had to interrupt an older lady cooking in her garage to get directions. Interesting conversation with me not speaking portugese and her not speaking english. Eventually we settled in castle/castelo as the word that we both understood.

We were a couple of hours doing a part of the loop. The first picture is of Carol cutting through a backyard that was gaurded by a couple of really pissed off dogs on chains. The 2nd and 3rd photos are of more typical pieces of the trail with the castelo at the top of the hill and a roman bridge last renovated in the late 1700s. The the walls of the castelo dating from the 1100s and the water mill house undated. A nice adventure. We did have to blaze some new trails.

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Finally lunch in our favourite little town Silves.

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Carol and I made a rather long drive today to the west coast of Portugal, or rather exactly where the west coast meats the south coast.

Sagres was a bit of a surprise. There is a massive fort and also countless surf shops beckoning people to take surfing lessons, rent surfboards and purchase beachwear. A ticket to tour the fort cost 3.00€ per person, very reasonable compared to a national monument in Canada.

The buildings and fortifications are not the primary feature of the site - it is the piece of land that the fortress occupies that is the real attraction. Here is an ariel photo showing the layout (those cliffs are 60 meters in height, and again the fishermen.)

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You can see the fortress built across the penninsula and you can see the path that we walked that travels around the entire outline. On all sides the views are spectacular (more cliffs and surf). In the distance you can see Cape St Vincent and you can see sufers on the beaches. There are a couple of big hotels in the town, but at this time of year I am certain that there are not that many people. Here are my pictures from Sagres.

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Today we headed back to the Trail of the Headland to walk toward Ferragudo. The access point that we chose was at an old tower part of a chain of lookout towers that monitored the ocean for the approach of pirates from the north of Africa. These towers were occupied 24 /7 to give the villages ample warning that pirates were approaching the coast.

Again, the scenery today was overwhelming. The cliffs were between 40 and 60 metres high and yet there were a few fishermen throwing their lines from the top into the Atlantic, and yes they used a bobbin. We went about 40 minutes toward Ferragudo and then returned to the car.

Dinner tonight - left-overs from last nights Pandang with noodles instead of rice. We are winding down the kitchen as we move down the street in 6 days (only about 40 meters down the street.)

Tomorrow we are heading to Cape St Vincent. I was off by a day when I reported the plan of this trip a couple of days ago.

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We have seen enough of the Seven Hanging Valley's (even though it is the most beautiful hiking I have ever seen) and instead we are heading to the Trail of the Headland. This is just outside of Carvoeiro and we had tried to get there a few days ago but were blocked by some workers from the town claiming that it was unsafe as a result of the rains of last week. On that day we turned back.

Today I found another entry point a couple of kilometers away that included a parking lot and access to the trail. I used Google earth and followed the coast until I located the parking lot.

Here are some photos from the trail.

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What to cook for dinner. Last night we went out for Chinese food - not bad, but not that good. Tonight though we are having Pandang. I picked up a small roast, cut it into cubes and have started a braise using a Smaakt Padang Spice Paste. I have included an image of the box so that you can see the 3 (make that three) peppers indicating the level of heat. I will be adding green beans, some onion, and half a cup of chopped potatoes to the mix after a couple of hours of braising. I should cook some rice to go with it, and I may yet decide to do that.

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Tomorrow we are going to head to Cape St Vincent about an hour away. The cape is the furthest tip of Portugal sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean. Many famous naval battles have been fought just off the Cape. The one that I have always been romantically involved with is the one in 1797 between an under-gunned British fleet and the Spanish fleet that was trying to sail north and join Napolean's French fleet. If the Spanish had succeeded it would have made the British blockade of Europe impossible. Horatio Nelson was a hero in this battle as he was at Trafalgar.

Today we walked another piece of the Seven Hanging Valleys trail. We have a touchscreen gps in the car so I just touched the screen where I thought that the lighthouse would be. Perfect, it took us right to the lighthouse which is at the halfway mark of the trail. Today a short walk 30 minutes out then 30 minutes back.

A quick trip to the grocery store and then the liquor store. 4 Peroni beer, a bottle of local white wine, and a bottle of Portugese rose 9.44 euros or about $14 Canadian. It would be at least twice that in Ontario.

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Monday is our cleaning day (or so we thought) so we are trying to get out of the way by going on an extended car tour. Today we drove to Monchique a village at the top of the highest mountain that is visible from the coast.

We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the top of the mountain near a village called Foia - it was a beautiful view.

We met a couple of Brits while taking in the view. Although British his mother had lived in Portugal for 30 years and they were reminiscing about how the road has changed in those 30 years. It was their job to come up the mountain to fill water bottles for their mother in the spring-fed fountain. Today she purchases bottled water.

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