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Published: November 8th 2013
Have you ever heard of Tavira?
Today we decided to take the option to have a day on our own instead of joining the group for the boat cruise. We had a leisurely morning and ended up renting a car to explore the southern coast of the Algarve (Southern Coast of Portugal). We spent most of our time focusing on two towns. The first town was called Silvas. This is another hill top castle town. We made our way thru the tiny, winding streets of the city. I ended up going thru the city no less than 3 times before I finally figured out how to get the actual castle. This certified that I am still good at driving at small winding roads. My mom did get a chance to practice her verbal gasps to let me know she didn't approve of how close I was to the other cars, buildings, etc. We finally found a parking spot close to the cathedral and castle. The Cathedral was simple and we enjoyed walking around without crowds of tourists. Our next stop was the Castle which allowed us great views of the city and surrounding area. The castle is huge
and an active archeological site. In the castle we saw several children's school groups touring. We hopped back in the car and headed to our second stop... Tavira. Tavira was one of our favorite towns in Portugal. It was a small, sleepy village with not a lot of tourists. A river runs thru the town and creates a promenade that you can see families strolling along. The weather was perfect and we were able to use Ricky (Rick Steves) to give us a wonderful place for lunch and a walking tour of the town We learned that this town was settled by Moors in the 9th century and we even saw several pieces of pottery including a water pot that remains from that period. We also stopped into a very interesting exhibit on the Mediterranean Diet (bread, olive oil, wine, vegetables including legumes, and fish) which talked about the health benefits of eating products that are native to this area. We made our way to a famous pastry place and had some delicious desserts including a famous sticky almond cookie (that we adored). After our snack, we headed for a beautiful shop that has all handmade goods. We hopped back
into the car and made the short 1hr drive back to Lagos. On the way back we stuck our toes into a grocery store and picked up some snacks. I must also mention that the Portuguese wine has been a complete surprise to me and the grocery store gave me an opportunity to see a large selection of local wines. (most bottles are under $5). I purchased a bottle of local Spumante. Back at the hotel, we found some english TV program and brought out the snack pack for a lite dinner. As soon as I started to take the wire protective cover off the bottle, the cork shot out and hit the ceiling. The wine soaked the bed, my camera, and IPAD. After I cleaned that mess up, I enjoyed the wine and watched MasterChef Australia.
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