Roman ruins and Spain across the River

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July 21st 2013
Published: July 21st 2013
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To Rio Guadiana and back

Traveled east to the Spanish border, then north to Alcoutim (notice how Arabic sounding some of the place name are, a vestige of hundreds of years of Moorish occupation). Then south to Castro Marim ruins (very different than Scottish castle ruins). Finally back west and into a tourist town (mostly British) called Cabanas (which we thought the Portuguese word for rental apartment at first). Along the boardwalk we spotted a few hundred (no exaggeration) crabs.

Spanish Galleon?Spanish Galleon?Spanish Galleon?

One of many large sailboats navigating the Rio Guadiana that separates Spain from Portugal. You are looking at the Spanish shoreline.
We headed off for the furthest away point with a plan to make a few stops on the way back. The drive there was on one of the bigger highways and the ratio of motorcycles to cars was about 3:1! Even some Hell's Angels!

We arrived at Alcoutim and barely made it up the very steep driveway to park at the castle. Felt the van would tip over......the Castle remains had a beautiful view across the Guardian River to Spain. There was also a short film about the castle and the history of the village. In addition, there was a display of Islamic board games (like the earliest versions of mancala and tic tac toe). The little village had some of the narrowest streets we have seen so far (although all the villages have very narrow streets). At one point, we drove through a market area and a woman at an outdoor cafe had to pull in the chair beside her so we could drive past!! We are driving a diesel powered VW Transporter which is a large vehicle but still....

Next stop was Castro Marim which featured another castle and salt marshes. The castle remains were quite large
Model Spanish townModel Spanish townModel Spanish town

Apparently this modern Spanish town was built in the style (think narrow streets, whitewashed stucco, red terracotta roofs) of it's nearby Portuguese neighbour from where I took the picture.
and had ramparts that we could walk most of the way around. Again, there was a view across the Guadian River to Spain. There was also a great view of the salt marshes from above which was pretty cool. The cobblestone streets around the village were very rugged.

Last stop was Cabanas (near Tavira) which is a beach resort town. We walked around the boardwalk and saw hundreds of small crabs sunning themselves and crawling on the large rocks. Pretty cool!

We ended the day with some Portuguese food in Ferraguda (next town over from Portimao). The food there was "verragooda" Ha! (that lame joke was Nigel's) We started with some homemade tuna pate (identical to tuna salad) and fresh Portuguese bread (identical to leather - just kidding it was very good actually). Nigel and I shared a huge Fish and Shellfish Cataplana for two. Delicious! Russell had the sardines (which he loved but had a little trouble with some tiny bones...). Rachel enjoyed the Chicken Piri Piri (although I don't think she touched the Piri Piri sauce....served separately luckily). They also brought some Almond Liquor and some Fig Firewater for Nigel and I to try as well
Coke and a smileCoke and a smileCoke and a smile

Lori cooling of with a drink in the courtyard of the Castela in Alcoutim on the Rio Guadiana.
as some local dried fruits (figs, dates, almonds).

Home for a swim and relaxing.

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


Spanish windmillSpanish windmill
Spanish windmill

Spaniards are not as strong at building windmills as the Dutch. They forgot the sails.
In the stocksIn the stocks
In the stocks

Russell served his punishment for bad behaviour (telling jokes about his dad's fat).
Stairway to...Stairway to...
Stairway to...

Rachel atop a steep flight of ancient steps at Casta Marim

The old church at Castro Marim
Portuguese soccer pitchPortuguese soccer pitch
Portuguese soccer pitch

This soccer pitch is sand. Nobody grows grass here. Too arid.
Learning to read PortugueseLearning to read Portuguese
Learning to read Portuguese

Learn from Nigel's mistake. This sign does not translate to "feel free to pee on this wall."
Soccer HQSoccer HQ
Soccer HQ

A chance visit to this little bar turned out to be heaven for Russell. Every football team scarf in the world covered the walls and satellite TVs played live friendlies.
Salt flatsSalt flats
Salt flats

This is where the sea salt you buy at the grocery store comes from. Yum.
Portuguese townPortuguese town
Portuguese town

Typical Portuguese town, baking in the sun.
Boardwalk viewBoardwalk view
Boardwalk view

Lori spotting crabs on the rocks under the Cabanas boardwalk.

Meet Henry. He is a crustacean. He is not happy. He is crabby.
Where are we from?Where are we from?
Where are we from?

I wonder if the other tourists could tell where we're from...
Seafood MedleySeafood Medley
Seafood Medley

Lori and I shared this dish for two. Monk fish, prawns, veggies, etc.. Like a stew called Cataplana.
National delicacyNational delicacy
National delicacy

Russell ordered the sardines. They are quite large.
Full moonFull moon
Full moon

We went for a late swim tonight by the full moon over the palm tree. Ahhhh....
Win a prizeWin a prize
Win a prize

Here is the strange orange fruit about the size and texture of a squash ball. Also there's a flower possibly from the same plant. Whoever identifies the fruit wins a prize - my respect and admiration (for 30 days).

21st July 2013

flower identification
it is a passionflower
21st July 2013

win the prize
I would guess it is a clementine. It seems to have originated in Algeria. It is now grown in Portugal, Spain, California, etc.

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