Wednesday 3 April 2013

The Algarve

Reaching Portimau in Portugal, the clear weather was perfect for a full day of exploring and relaxing. Just a stroll from the ship passengers were able to enjoy the glorious sand beach and its 2.4 km boardwalk. In the opposite direction a deep promenade sweeps in a curve in front of the town centre with its shops, cafĂ©’s and historic buildings.
Algarve, the name for this region, stems from the Arabic for West and the period of occupation of the Moors. Visiting Cape St. Vincent, the point furthest south-west in all of Europe was part of an excursion offered to guests.   The guides pointing South to Morocco and West to where the next land is the USA.
Fishing has always been important in the history of this port, starting with Phoenician and Roman periods. The conversion to prize winning waterfront Museum of a former sardine factory has created a venue to tell this and other stories.
On another option, travelling by jeeps through small farms and villages for an introduction to botany and local fruit and honey products.  The most prestigious crop here is the fine quality cork, explained to guests in the dappled shade of the quercus suber tree.   
Tonight the Captain has said his farewell for this Easter cruise concludes with the sights sailing into Lisbon in the morning.