Faro and Lagos
28.09.2005 25 °C
Friday Sept 23: The mezquita was amazing, but Portual is a must see on a trip to the Iberian Peninsula. Chris, Cody, Marissa, and I, after our plans to go up north to Basque country miserably failed, rented a car and decided to head out the the southern and western coasts of Portugal for the extended weekend. The drive there and throughout Portugal was nothing less than gorgeous. As you drive into Portugal you pass through lots of colinas (hills) and past castles and other arcitectural gems that are, of course, not titled, so you have no idea what you are actually looking at.
Our first stop was just over the border of Portugal into the Algarve region in a city called Faro. It is the biggest and capital city of the region although we managed to not stray too far from the waters edge. When we arrived, we settled into our (5€/night) hostal, and wandered around the Cidade Vehla (portugese for old city). We passes the famous Arco de Vila, the entrance to the old city, and enjoyed the rest of the evening on the patio people watching.
The next day we headed out toward Lagos, but not before stopping for some tasty Portuguese pasteries (they have those down pat!) and taking a look at the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) inside the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo (Church of our lady Carmen). The chapel was one of the most unique and creepy things i have ever seen in my life. It is made of bones and more than 1245 skulls of monks burried in the church´s former cemetary. Creepy, yes, and reminicent of the scenery inside the pirates of the caribbean ride at Disneyland, skulls and bones and all, but really neat at the same time.
Saturday Sept 24: On to Lagos. Just a few hours away was the gorgeous town of Lagos. One of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, Lagos is a windy city almost to the very southwestern tip of Portugal. While the tourbooks rant and rave about the crazy party scene, we kept a lower profile, renting an apartment and spending the 2 days there on the Meia Praia and Praia de Pinhao the two amazing beaches. The first is like most southern cali beaches, a longs stretch of sand but littered with tons of shells, really fine sand and much clearer water. The second was one of my favorite beaches in all the world. Its the trademark of the Algarve region with its cliffs, caves, and crazy rock formations littering the coast. You can see all the layers, created over time, which make the already brightly colored rocks that much prettier. We spent our second day lounging on the beach there. Swimming out, in, and around the cliffs, slithering through the small passages created between the rocks and the sand, and trying not to slice skin while climbing over the jagged rocks.
As the sun went down, we called it a day, and after brushing the more course sand off, said goodbye to the crystal clear (and surprisingly cold) water and headed back up to our apt.
Other adventures in Lagos included a night out to dinner where we tasted the local cuising, seafood, and wine and this small restaurant in town. I also made everyone stop at this little bar for drinks simply because the tv in the background was showing rugby!!! How i miss rugby, and since this was the closest I had been in a long time, I couldnt pass it up. Our last night in Lagos, we made dinner. I finally got some chicken (Carmen doesnt like it so we dont really eat too much of it), and to actually cook!!! (another thing i dont get to do ofter here).
Woke up early on Monday to head to Lisbon...(oops off to class, check the next entry for Lisbon details)