Lagos to Albufeira
On my way to Albufeira I got lost in Portimão, not a city to care for. It was all ugly buidlings and heavy traffic and I had a hard time finding my way out of there.
Albufeira must be horrible in summer, with throngs of package-tourists in the streets and on the beach. Now, in winter, it was nice and quiet. I strolled along the beach barefoot, picking up interesting shells. Later I sat down in the sand and read a few chapters of Life of Pi. The afternoon sun warmed me up nicely. I examined the shells and wondered why I thought they were interesting. I threw them back into the ocean.
Albufeira to Faro
Not far from Albufeira I stopped to have a look at my map. Someone whistled and I looked up. Some men were cutting a tree at the roadside and one of them gestured to me to get out of the way. The tree might fall on me. That wouldn’t look good: Bicycle tourist killed by tree.
The Cathedral is rather small as cathedrals go. It’s built on the location of what was originally an old Roman Temple, then a Visigothic church and after that a Moorish mosque. The cathedral was destroyed in the 16th century by the Second Earl of Essex, who seemingly didn’t like the architecture. After that came the Lisbon earthquake wreaking further havoc. For the sum of three euros, you can see what is left of it.
Another sight is the Capela dos Ossos, a chapel made of the bones of dead monks. At the entrance two old ladies are selling the tickets for the chapel. Unannounced, the smartphone of one of the ladies starts blaring hip hop and she fumbles unsuccessfully with the device to make it stop.
The chapel seems to miss quite a few bones and even some skulls. Back at the entrance I ask one of the ladies after the missing bones, but she blames it on humidity. I think some tourists have come out with some dead monks skull in their daypacks.
In Faro my cycling is grinding to a halt, the day after I arrived I can barely walk because of my knees.
Three reasons why the Algarve isn’t the worst place to be hold up:
– It’s affordable.
– The climate is tolerable
– It’s still in the EU, so no visa restrictions…
I continue to meet interesting fellow travellers. They seem to have a certain bias towards conspiracy theories. Someone I spoke to last night mentioned the expression Hegelian Dialectic, which I thought was a mighty useful term in this kind of discussions and I decided to label it for future reference… Next time someone starts about World Domination and the sort, I’ll just ask them to stop with that kind of Hegelian Dialectic.
In the afternoon I decided to eat a prato do dia, but the tepid spaghetti was served with chicken that was flavoured with too much salt.
– Do you like it, sir?
– Well, I must say the chicken is a bit too salty for my liking….
– The people here like it this way, the man said.