Salir and Alte

December 2014

Although the road signs are quite in abundance here in Portugal, sometimes when you need them most, there is nothing. So when starting my tour into the back country of the Algarve, I got lost already in Loule, the first town on my way out. It’s full with roundabouts, but from the 4 directions to choose from, they only assigned one.  Ah well, after driving twice around the village, I got on the right track. At least I knew now where Continent, the big supermarket was and also the big cemetery of the village. I just love going to cemeteries, don’t know what it is, but every country has its own way of “putting people under the soil” and it gives you an insight of the culture and the way they treat their “loved ones”. I just loved spending time on the Cemetaries in New Orleans. There are enough of them to keep you going for a few days and with all the voodoo, which is going around there, it makes it into a true “walk about”. Cuba, on the other hand, has no money for stylish graveyards, unless you are one of the family Bacardi or  Jose Marti, with beautiful graves in Santiago.DSC00072To go back to my tour; after a gorgeous drive through the lower mountains, I arrived in the town of Salir. Definitely, worth a visit. I was the only tourist there, which gave me pleasure. Strolling around in a town, which is 1/4 ruin, 1/4 desolated houses and the other half only partly inhabited for the winter months. Tucked away against the hill, with white washed houses and the ruins of a wall of Moorish times still visible. I continue my way to Alte, but first follow a sign to “Rocha de Pena”. This enormous rock is a true heaven for

DSC00080hikers. The views are supposed to be amazing and a hike keeps you busy for around 3 hours. Again, I am the only tourist at the entrance of the track and I wish I had somebody with me to explore this beautiful area. It’s not wise to go walking on your own here! I am tempted to sit myself in the cafe in this village of 6 houses, but I still have to go to Alte and once there, I promised myself a lunch. The road goes along orchards full of oranges, almond trees, olive trees and cork oak trees and there is no one else on the road, except myself.

Alte is not far away and at the entrance of the village is a parking lot with two campers. Wow, tourists! I stroll into this cute little village and find a small restaurant, opposite the church. They bring me a wonderful lunch of cuttle fish, salad and potatoes, olives and bread, water and wine and coffee for 9.50 euro’s. I get company of an Englishman, who lives in the village, after having lived in Spain for quite some years and he really loves the place. He tells me that they have barbecue parties by the fountain, just outside the village and you can even swim there! I get an invitation to come to the Christmas party at the local bar and I promise I will think about it.

I continue my trip with a walk through the quaint little town and stroll to the picnic area by the well. No time to explore further (have to do that next time). It is getting late and with these short days, it soon will be dark. Of course I get lost on my way back, as I took an inner road instead of taking the main road. This road has no signs at a certain point anymore. Finally, I get on the highway to Faro and just before dark I reach the house in Gorgoes, where Pasha, the dog, is waiting patiently.