August 25, 2010

Beautiful Monchique! - Part I

As we sat on the square enjoying the sun after our walk on the beach, Alice arrived ready to show us some more of her beautiful country!  Little Sergio and mama Lucy also joined us for the trip up to the mountain village of Monchique. 

"Monchique" is a town and mountain range approximately 31 miles north of Ferragudo in the western half of the Algarve.

As we cross the Arade river we have a fabulous view of our little village, "Ferragudo"

(see the Portimão lighthouse way back there on the right?)

I saw Storks for the very first time while we were in Alsace France (click here for story) this past October, so how excited was I to see them again here in Portugal!  Here the storks love to make their 500 pound nests high atop the old brick chimneys of the now deserted sardine factories.


As we make our way up the mountain we learned about 3 types of trees that grow here in the Algarve.  The first being the Orange tree.  The Algarve produces about 70 per cent of the country’s annual yield of over 350.000 tonnes of citrus fruits, with more than half the total of the country’s citrus groves being located in this region. 

(Laranjeia means "Orange" in Portuguese)

And the orange trees are everywhere!



Next, the Cork Oak tree.


Portugal is a major cork-grower; in fact, nearly one-third of the total cork oak area, estimated at 5.3 million acres is in Portugal, which produces approximately half the cork harvested annually in the world (about 310,000 tons).  And the best quality cork comes right from here, in the province of the Algarve!
 



I found this fascinating, so it was really exciting to see a cork tree. 


Portuguese law prohibits stripping the trees more than once every nine years in order to protect the species.  So the numbers you see on the trunks are representative of the year that the cork was last harvested.

And lastly, the Eucalyptus tree.


Eucalyptus around every corner and as far as the eye can see!
Why?  Well, the Eucalyptus has an incredible growth rate and can grow to almost 200 feet in height if left.  They are relatively easy to grow and harvest.  They grow quickly and need little care and attention during the intervening years.  Cut them at the base of their trunks, and they will simply re-grow.

Okay, I'm hungry!

But this post is becoming quite long. I mean this is already the second post of our day on February 13th!  So I will finish up telling you about our lunch and the rest of our day in my next post.

Promise!

There are a ton more pictures of this part of our day! If you would like to see them, just click here "Where's Debbie" and then on the album "Beautiful Monchique-Part I"

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for more beautiful pictures. I don't think I've ever seen a cork tree before. There certainly were a lot of orange trees along your way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Debbie, Like my hubby said (above)--I have never seen a cork tree either... That is awesome...

    Love seeing all of those orange trees also..

    You were in an incredible area... Stork, huh???? What a huge nest!!!!!

    Hugs,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.

    ReplyDelete

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Have a Fabulous Day!
Debbie

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