Faro Out, Man!

 

After traveling down to the Algarve and setting up shop in Albufeira, we set about exploring the area. Our first stop was Faro (pronounced Faru), which is Portugal’s southernmost city and has about 50,000 residents in the city itself.

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Behind us is a portion of Faro surrounded by walls built in the 6th and 7th centuries, with some Roman architecture from before that thrown in for good measure. We like old walls and castles.
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This sign was created a little later. In the 1200s, the Portuguese called the town Santa Maria de Faaron. We’re glad they changed and shortened the name because we couldn’t have been in this picture otherwise.
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Despite all appearances, this town is not for the birds. It’s just overseen by one. This stork is kinda famous, at least as far as whether having a picture on a postcard makes you famous.
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Intricately paved streets with colored stones add to the charm of the city.
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It obviously took a lot of balls to create this sculpture.
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This exercise equipment doesn’t date back to Roman times, but if it did, Carolyn would now be fit to be a slave in one of the ships’ galleys.
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We like castle-y things.
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Including ones with bells.
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This is inside the walls, where there is a maze of narrow streets and cute shops and the occasional plaza area. It’s very charming.

 

While Faro was lovely, we didn’t find a ton of specifically interesting things to see otherwise. Additionally, I have no idea what it means when you search in TripAdvisor for “Things to Do in Faro,” and the number one ranked thing is: “Taxis and Shuttles.” Since we have Marco the VW Polo, we certainly didn’t need to engage in whatever frivolity and excitement that entails.

But we did find something called the Palacio de Estoi, which ranked number 8 (we passed up the Segway Tours and ATV off-road tours which also ranked ahead of it), and it sounded kinda cool, seeing how we like palaces and everything. When we got there, we walked in and politely asked how much it cost to enter as well as how late they were open. We were surprised to hear that it not only cost nothing to enter, but it was also open 24/7! We thought this place must be a very cool place to see if they has to be open 24/7 to accommodate all the throngs! But then we found out that it was actually a hotel. Oops. It is billed as a “small luxury hotel,” and was quite beautiful, as you can see by the below pictures.

IMG_4282IMG_4822IMG_4823IMG_4828So that was it for Faro. The next day we decided to bop over to Lagos (which we think is pronounced: Lagoosh, but we could be slightly wrong). While headed there, we thought it would be fun to first venture to the southwestern-most place in Lisbon, which is guarded by the Sagres Fortress. We ended up spending much more time there than we planned, because it was very cool. Speaking of cool… the weather wasn’t. A gorgeous mid-70’s day with nothing but sunshine. Which lead to our first sunburns. We had been meaning to protect ourselves, but didn’t realize that we’d end up in an area that would hold our fascination for so long. Oh well, goofy hats and sunscreen our now on our must-bring-everywhere list!

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Before we even got into the fort, we were mesmerized by the beauty of the ocean, the waves, and the cliffs. Of course, I’m always mesmerized by the beauty of my wife. Just sayin’.
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This looked like a mini version of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. We took dozens of pictures trying to capture the perfect wave and just because it was so beautiful.
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Carolyn with her high-tech camera equipment.
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Off in the distance you can see Casablanca. Well, maybe only if you bring a portable DVD player and watch the movie, but the city is right out there if you feel like rowing. For a long time, maybe, but just keep repeating, “Row it Again, Sam,” and eventually you’ll get there.
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One side of the fort has a beautiful and tumultuous sea, the other is as calm as a bathtub.
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Historians don’t know if this was a sundial or navigational aid. Personally, I think it was the first version of the Trivial Pursuit game, except they had more categories since there wasn’t nearly as much trivia accumulated as there is now.
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Off in the distance is a lighthouse. This is all on the southwestern-most point of Portugal.
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There were plenty of places where you could leap to your death. Or be pushed over. Somehow she regained her balance and I pretended it was a joke.
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Yeah, we live in this country. Sigh. We’re in love. With each other too, the joke above notwithstanding.
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These guys are fishing and standing on a cliff hundreds of feet above the water. We didn’t see any of them catch anything, but it must take them ten minutes just to haul it in when they do!
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Perigo means danger. The fishermen didn’t care about that. One guy was fishing on the cliff in the distance, standing precariously (to us anyway) about ten feet down from the top.
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Cliffs of Moher-lite, I’m telling ya.
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The area there resembles a moonscape. But only if aliens constructed a beacon on the moon.
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“Perigo Will Robinson, Perigo!” I’m thinking more like: Peri-stop.
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We like cliffs.
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It kinda looks like an alligator head, doesn’t it?
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This was a cistern. It’s where the term, “On the rocks” came from.
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Since yellow and blue are coordinating colors, this image is perfectly color-coordinated.
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However, it’s maybe a little more picturesque without the yellow-shirted guy.
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The view of the fort from the outside.
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By the end of the day, Carolyn thought my forehead was getting a little sunburned, but I didn’t believe her. I do now.
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Kevin shows off his big –er, well, old, guns.
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On the grounds, in the middle of nowhere, was this structure we knew couldn’t be ancient. Puzzled, we walked in, and found out it was a sort of sound amplifier (called “The Chamber of Sound”) for waves when they come crashing through some underground tunnels. It was really cool. The sound sometimes wooshed so loud it rattled your bones.

After enjoying ourselves immensely at the fort, we journeyed on back to Lagos, which now held a distant second place in our fascination with this part of the coast. However, as luck would have it, we found it to be an exceedingly charming town, with beautiful streets lined with lots of shops and restaurants. Probably our favorite city in Algarve so far.

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I’m not sure which is holding up what.
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I got confused with the sword in the stone thing.
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This was a museum we didn’t go into. I am just pretending to walk out. I mean, it cost like three euros to get in and everything. The truth is, I was just holding up one leg so it looked like we had gone in. I don’t know why we went to all that trouble for me just to contradict all that effort in writing, but it was near the end of a long day.
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We do like free castle-y walls, though.
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Simply beautiful. I’m her husband, so you know I’m not just talking about the street.
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The afore-mentioned goofy hat. The sun will rain its rays on my bald pate no more!

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