February 24, 2011

Adeus, Ferragudo

The village of Ferragudo
It's hard to believe that our second home exchange to Ferragudo came to an end on February 3, 2011.

We arrived on the Algarve coast December 28 for our part of our second home exchange with Alice and Sergio.  This time they spent just about 5 months in my home in Las Vegas, and we spent just over 1 month in their home.

Home exchanging has lead to some amazing experiences in travel that I probably otherwise would not of been able to have.  And this exchange was no exception!

I hope you enjoyed following me while I explored the Algarve, with it's white washed buildings glistening in the sun.  The traditional Portugese food, the amazing coast lines and historic towns, big and small.

I wonder where my next home exchange will take me???

February 23, 2011

Watery Wednesday - Reflections of Rumbeke

We had a nice day here in Belgium a few days ago and decided to take a walk and get some excercise.

We drove about only 10 minutes from Stijn's family home, parked the car, and this is what I saw!

Rumbeke Castle (Dutch: Kasteel van Rumbeke), in Rumbeke in West Flanders, is one of the oldest Renaissance architecture castles of Belgium.

Castle Rumbeke was built in 1538 and for centuries was owned by the count, Thomas de Thiennes and his wife Margareta d'Harm√©ricourt.  The castle of Rumbeke suffered damage during the invasion of Flanders by French king Louis XIV, as well as during the French Revolution and in both world wars more than a century later. In fact, during World War I, it was taken over by the Germans and became for a short period of time, the home of Baron Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron, who was credited with shooting down 80 enemy aircraft in his brightly painted red airplane.

Although most of the building was built during the Renaissance period, on the site of a very much older fortress, it gained some slightly Neoclassical features after its renovation during the 18th century.

During those renovations, the adjacent forest, the Sterrebos or the Star Forest, was added to its grounds. The forest was modelled after the Prater park in Vienna.

Did you ever see the movie "That Lucky Touch"?  I haven't but maybe now I will.  It's a comedy which was partially shot in Rumbeke in 1975, starring Roger Moore and Shelley Winters.

I'm particapating in Watery Wednesday.  So please be sure to see some other fascinating watery pictures over at "Watery Wednesday" 

February 20, 2011

Shadow Sunday - Shadows in the Snow

No, this isn't me! 

Stijn's brother, Dries (pronounced drees) is the snowboarder.

I took these pictures just two weeks ago while we were on a ski trip to le Clusaz France.
While I watched from the terrace of a lodge sipping on some vin chaud, (that would be hot wine people, my idea of a ski vacation) I zoomed in on Dries and captured these shadow shots.

I'm participating in "Shadow Sunday" where you can see some more great Shadow Shots!

February 19, 2011

On Our Way Back From Lisbon

After successfully retrieving my medicine for my cancer treatment from the authorities in Lisbon on January 13, we headed back to Ferragudo.

I don't have much information regarding our drive other then we drove west on highway N253 south of Lisbon to the coast.  We then drove south on highway N261, stopping as many times as Stijn would allow so that I could take some pictures of the beautiful scenery!

I don't know the names of the areas we saw, but isn't this beautiful?

And there was a lighthouse within shooting range of my camera!

Further on down the road we made another little detour and the first thing I see is this!

Yep, another great lighthouse!

And then while taking some pictures of this beautiful spot......

I spot these storks high on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.

I could have stayed here all day taking pictures of these guys!  But the sun is setting and we need to continue our journey back to Ferragudo.

I hope you take a look at "Where's Debbie" to see some more of this beautiful country!

February 17, 2011

Tavira Portugal

On January 27 (2011) we decided to drive about 1 hour to the east of Ferragudo and enjoy the sites of "Tavira". 
Tavira along with Lagos is one of the most architecturally attractive towns in the Algarve and its origin dates back to around 2,000 BC.

Like most of the Algarve its buildings were all virtually destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. The town has since been rebuilt with many fine 18th Century buildings

There are about 37 churches here, and we were able to see a few as we ejoyed our walk.

I think you have a good idea by now, (if you've been following my blog that is) that I love the water.  So of course we made our way to the river front where an old Roman bridge links the two parts of the town across the River Gil√£o.

The buildings along the river have access to the water but on this day I don't think anyone was planning a boat trip.

There is a nice "square" in the historic centre with park benchs, beautiful cobblestone and a small gazebo that seems to sit in a small pond.

Oh wait, I see a castle up there!
.The Castle of Tavira (locally known as Castelo de Tavira) is smack dab in the town historic centre.  Apparetly there is a local road train that runs every hour if you don't want to take the walk.  But you know me, so up we go, on foot!

All that remains of Tavira Castle pretty much consists of the remains of two square towers, one octagonal tower and walls on three sides.

None of the towers possess the characteristics of a keep although there surely must have been one. There are some pretty steep stairs you can climb to most of the walls and towers.

We choose to just walk around the garden that is in the interior of the Castle.

And look at this, wild Pointsettia!

All this and it's free!  Pretty nice huh?
And it gets better!  There was this great restaurant right next to the Castle walls.  We had "A Ver Tavira" all to our selves and had a great corner table with a spectacular view across the town.

I cheated and zoomed in on this while seating at our table
  I had the octopus risotto while Stijn enjoyed a curried chicken, yum!

Well this is where I apologize for not having any beach pictures.  We did make an honest effort but the rain started and we decided to head back to Ferragudo.  Hope you enjoyed our day as much as we did!

To see more pictures of Tavira, take a peek here "Where's Debbie" and then click on the album "Tavira"

February 16, 2011

Watery Wednesday - Mont St Michel

On a trip to France in the Normandy region during January 2009, I was able to see one of the most magnificent structures I have ever set eyes on! Mont St. Michel.

I know there isn't a lot of water in this picture, but isn't it beautiful!
Lucky for us, the tide was out on this day.

After going through the Boulevard Gate and then the King's Gate, we walk along the "Grande Rue" (main street) with its museums, shops and houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Well this is starting to turn into a "story".  But if you would like to read about our day just click here

Now back to the water!  Here are a few more "watery" pictures.

Don't forget to check out some other magnificent "watery" photos over at "Watery Wednesday".  They will be glad you stopped by!

February 15, 2011

Golfing in the Algarve

On February 1, we took advantage of the sunny day in the Algarve, and headed out to one of the many golf courses and tried our hand at some golf.  We had a good 35 courses to choose from but we decided on Vale do Miho in Carvoeiro which is only about a 15 minute drive from Ferragudo.

We chose Vale do Milho because it;s great for beginners with 9 holes and a Par 3 course.  Perfect!  We're not "experienced" golfers and this gave us the opportunity to "wack" a few balls.

Off we headed with our rented clubs and started the 9-hole course.

You can see that we have no real form when it comes to trying to hit that little white ball with a club that's entirely way to short.

I have golfed many times before, and I'm still not any good as you can see below.

This was only Stijn's second time with the clubs, his first being a couple of weeks earlier on this same course with his dad.  I think I see some improvement?

It's always a great day when you both end with the same score, 52!

There are a couple more pictures on my share site "Where's Debbie".  Check out the album "Golfing in the Algarve"
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