September 29, 2010

Watery Wednesday - Kylemoore Abby Ireland


Kylemoore Abby in Ireland.....need I say more?
Tucked in the foothills out in the country, so serene and peaceful!

Click here "Watery Wednesday" to see some more fantastic watery pictures!

September 21, 2010

September 14, 2010

September 12, 2010

Walking in the Rain in Sagres

It's February 18th and the rain is coming down on the "Algarve", again.  But it didn't stop our plans to visit "Sagres", the most southerly community in Portugal and the most south-westerly in continental Europe.
Cabo de São Vicente, photo courtesy of Sagres.net

Now we picked Sagres today because I read that there is a lighthouse there, and I must have a picture to add to my collection!  There is some great history there too.  "Henry the Navigator" built a fortress on the windswept cliffs and, according to tradition, a school of navigation and shipyard.

Little remains of Prince Henry's original fortress: the walls that can be seen are part of the 17th century fort.













Once inside these ancient walls, we were able to walk around and do some exploring.  Still visible is the giant pebble wind compass, the "Rosa dos Vento" 141 feet in diameter, said to have been used by Henry.


The only building still surviving and thought to have been around in more or less its present form in Henry's day, is the starkly simple little church within the fortress, "Nossa Senhora da Graça".


I actually loved how they have not tried to restore the canon's that are placed strategically around the parameters of the fortress to fight off intruders back in the 1700's.


But with all this history, the thing that amazed me the most were the fishermen who come here to try and get their catch for the day.  They actually pay the fee to enter and then pick their spot on the cliffs.  Now maybe this would be okay on a nice calm sunny day.  But today the rain is pouring down and the wind is howling, and these guys are standing on the edge of the cliffs to catch a fish!  You gotta want it bad!





We fought the rain as we walked out to the point where I could see a little lighthouse.  Not very impressive, but a lighthouse none the same.


But this is the lighthouse I wanted to get a closer look at.....Cabo de São Vicente!


This lighthouse has provided the guiding beam that safely directs the hundreds of ships that pass the Cape every year from the inevitable destruction that would otherwise occur.


Bummer that it was raining so hard and we were already soaking wet, because I would have loved to have taken a walk around this beauty!

Well it's time to head back to Ferragudo and get dried out for tomorrows adventure!

If you would like to see more pictures of our day, click here, "Where's Debbie" and then on the album "Sagres"

September 7, 2010

Watery Wednesday - Heron in Washington


One of my favorite wildlife pictures.
This was taken while I was cycling along the Olympic Peninsula near Port Townsend Washington. 

Please check out Watery Wednesday for some more fantastic "Watery" photographs!
 

September 4, 2010

Exploring the Cliffs of the Algarve

It's February 17th, and we are going to do some exploring today!



The great thing about the Algarve is that there is so much beauty within very short distances.  However, it does make it hard to decide what you want to see first. 


On this day we decided to start with "Carvoeir".  Carvoeir is claimed to be one of the prettiest resorts on the Algarve with it's white washed villas that glisten against brightly coloured blue skies!



It's raining this morning, as it seems to do every morning here in February.  And silly us, we have no umbrella.  So it was a good excuse to dart in and out of the tourist shops that lined the streets leading down to the town square.  The town beach,  "Praia do Carvoeiro"  is a beautifully sheltered sandy bay and spreads out just in front of the square with cliffs protecting it on either side, as you can see in the first picture above.  There are bars and cafés ideally placed around the square to enjoy the view while you have a bite to eat.

The Algarve is full of little beaches such as this one, and I'm sure during the summer months it's impossible to really enjoy it.  So we are taking advantage of this peaceful spot and I'm enjoying taking pictures with no people in them!!


 We decide to have a little something to eat at one of the great beach front cafe's, "Martins".  Oh yes, the rain had stopped and we were able to dine alfresco!


We spotted this stairway leading up from the beach when we were eating and decided to do a little exploring.


The cliff tops around Carvoeiro offer plenty of scope for walking and some great views.


We came across some beautiful benches decorated with Portuguese hand painted tiles.



After our walk we headed back to the car and drove to Praia de Centianes about 5 miles to the east.  Some more breathtaking views here, and there was a trail that followed along the cliffs.  But which way to go?  Left or Right?  And then I see it, a lighthouse in the distance to our left!  Okay, this was a no brainer!  The rain has stopped and the sun was shining, so why not? We followed the trail that took us along the cliffs with a view of the Atlantic Ocean to our right and white vacation homes to our left.  However, this trail started breaking up and could not be taken all the way to the lighthouse.  Lucky for us, we were able to make our way through one of the resorts and with the lighthouse standing 75 feet tall, we were able to see it above the buildings and trees and were able to navigate our way there.  Oh what a wonderful sight!


If your new to my blog, you may not know how much I LOVE lighthouses.  You can take a look around my blog and you will find plenty of stories about lighthouses I have had the chance to visit!  Okay, back to this lighthouse. 

Farol de Alfanzina is not in operation anymore and is fenced off and now the property of the Military.  I love how this lighthouse is not your traditional round, but square.

Well the clouds were rolling in again and we were a little afraid that we were going to get caught in some more rain.  So we made our way back to the car by walking along the highway.

Our next stop, "Praia da Marinha".  This beach is stunning!  Again we walked along the cliffs and I couldn't take enough pictures of the rock formations that have been cut away by the waves through the years.


 

We then discovered that there was a pathway of 116 wide meandering steps that led us down the side of one of the cliffs to a beach below. Boy was it worth the walk to the beach below.
  

A small wooden bar-restaurant is at the base of the steps where you can have some lunch or rent some snorkling gear.  Today, it is closed.  One of the many joys of traveling in the off season!  We had this private little beach all to ourselves!  The beach consists of fine sand and hosts numerous stunning rock formations.  At high tide which it was on this day, the beach is a narrow strip of sand, but at low tide the adjacent coves become accessible. Praia da Marinha has plenty of strange rock formations to explore, caves cut in the cliffs and many rock pools harbouring all sorts of marine life.
So we enjoyed some quiet time here playing in the water before heading back to Ferragudo to plan our next day of exploring the Algarve!


To see more pictures of our day, click here "Where's Debbie" and then click on the album "Exploring the Cliffs of the Algarve"

September 2, 2010

A Quiet Day on the Algarve

Even after a night of celebrating "Carnaval" and only returning home at 4:30am, I am awake by 8am.  The rain is just pouring down this morning (Feb 16), and I enjoy a hot cup of tea while sitting on the couch in front of the huge sliding glass doors watching the fury of this down pour.

But in true Algarve fashion, the rain stops, the clouds clear and the sun shines!  Perfect time to take a little morning walk to the town "Square" for a nice hot glass of "Galão".  I know, I'm addicted.

Now it is "Fat Tuesday" and much to our surprise, when we arrived at the square and took our usual seats, we were entertained by the children of Ferragudo dressed up in costumes.


It seemed the children were waiting to participate in a parade.  We took a little walk around and found two floats, no more, just two......so we thought we were going to see a parade!  But how odd that there would only be two floats.

Well, this float was quite cute!  It took me a minute to figure out what the theme was......and then it hit me!
Heaven........


...........and Hell


Well, if a parade ever happened, we didn't see it.

The afternoon found us over at Alice and Sergio's for some more home cooked Portuguese food!
Did you really think there would be a post without food?

I am a big fan of food of different cultures!  And this meal is the perfect example of why.  Sergio is grilling Linguiça, a highly seasoned Portuguese pork sausage that is flavored with garlic and onions.  But he's not grilling on the BBQ!  It is very common here in Portugal to grill your Linguiça on a little clay dish over an open flame right on the dining room table!



How the heck cool is this??!!!  Everyone sitting around the table drinking wine and enjoying each other's company while you watch the main course being cooked right in front of you!

Another fabulous meal, dessert and all!


We ended the evening with a little drive to Portimão and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee while watching the sun set on our quiet day in the Algarve.


If you would like to see more pictures of our day, click here "Where's Debbie" and then click on the album "A Quiet Day in the Algarve"
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