Thursday, February 10th (Driving South)

The prehistoric stone formations of Cromeleque dos Almendres are near Evora, so that became our first destination of the day. 

Driving through the countryside was a sheer delight…..seeing sights we’ve never seen…..a working donkey on the side of the road and nesting storks on every pole and pillar.

The drive into Cromeleque dos Almendres took us through groves of cork trees…..the ones recently harvested sported a brillant blood-red colored bark.

At the end of a dirt road, we found the stones of Cromeleque dos Almendres…..erected 7000 years ago.  Their purpose isn’t known, but evidence suggests that the placement of the stones was used to mark the equinoxes and solstices.  Another theory proposes that they might have been placed in tribute to supernatural beings or powerful chiefs.  We walked among the stones in an utter peacefulness…..feeling very insignificant in this ancient world.  

But we were burning daylight……so we soon returned to the 21st century and the car.  The road south took us through rolling hill vivid with radiant colors……a sparkling blue sky, lush green fields, bright yellow wildflowers…..the brilliant colors just mesmerized us.

After a two hour drive, we found ourselves in Mertola and decided to have lunch at a restaurant right off the roundabout.  Although he thought he had ordered something else, a plate of Steak with Egg, Rice and Frites appeared before Craig.  I ordered (and received) a Ham and Cheese Omelette….also with Frites and Rice.  After today’s meager breakfast, it was a welcome respite.  

After lunch, we returned to the car and drove through the roundabout two times without recognizing any of the towns listed so Craig went back to the restaurant to ask the locals for directions to Tavira, tonight’s destination in southeast Portugal.  

The backside of Mertola's Town Wall

I have no idea....but they sure were cute

He returned to the car and dutifully followed the directions, ending up on a road out of town seemingly leading nowhere……so we circled back into town.  This time, Craig asked a group of bus drivers for directions and was given the same information. 

Against our instincts but trusting the locals, we started off again on the road south.  It was the right choice and the right road.  An hour later, we entered Tavira, a small town on the southern coast, and looked for a place to spend the night.

Our Rick Steves’ guidebook recommended charming places within this old town bordered by the Gilao River but Craig, tired after another long drive, followed the town’s posted “Hotel” signs to the Hotel Porta Nova across the river.  Again….it was a good choice, with easy parking, a terraced room overlooking an empty field and only 50 euros a night….with breakfast. 

We adjourned to the terrace, opened our Late Bottle Vintage port and enjoyed the remaining daylight while sipping the rich, fruity, burnt-red liquid.

That night, we watched the beginning of the end as President Mubarek gave some, but not all, powers to his Vice-President.

In the words of the Beatles…….                                                                                                Power to the People,                                                                                                                  Power to the People,                                                                                                                           Right On.


About Languedoc Lady

I'm a newly retired woman from California getting ready to spend a year (or more) with my husband living the good life in Languedoc in the southwest of France.
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