Monday, 23 May 2011
THE END OF THE WORLD
This is the view that Prince Henry the Navigator looked out upon when he stood at the end of the world. He and many other "Navigators" wondered what was beyond the horizon. Most feared that they would be sucked over the edge into an abyss or even hell and it took a great deal of courage to venture out into the Atlantic Ocean in a small wooden boat, relying on the moving stars to tell you where you might be.
The cliffs at the south western edge of Portugal are massive and the view stretched further than it would have done if you had stood on the beach. Perhaps the fact that you still couldn't see the dreaded edge from up high fed the imagination and encouraged the early Portuguese explorers.
On the way to Sagres and these cliffs we passed through Lagos where storks were nesting on the tops of large chimneys. These are birds I have never seen before in the wild and they brought back memories of childhood stories in books showing storks nesting on the chimneys in Europe. Our tour guide was less than impressed and nearly spat at the thought that they might be an attraction. "Many more later in Silves", she said. "You can take pictures there!"
So I did. I found them nesting in the top of an old palm tree in the park beside the river.
I took pics with the zoom so they are a bit fuzzy but if you look carefully you can see the chick's head.
And this lovely fellow was taking the air along the banks, deftly helping himself to a slow sardine or two.
Back in Albufeira, my favourite bird was this cheerful cocky.
As you can see, he is obviously a close relative of my own Cocky, bought in a job lot at Watsons Auction Rooms and jealously covetted by visitors and particularly by DJ. These Cockies sport attire from the same outfitters! They have the same stance and they have the same vocation in life.
The fairly posh hotel where we stayed had a fairly posh pool, but once the sun had gone in as well as all but the hardiest of guests, the seagulls came for their daily dip. Portugal does big seagulls. These were easily the size of a large duck. They seemed to prefer the deeper blue of the tiles in our pool and eschewed paler pools in other hotels. I eschew all pools and didn't even put a toe in so they were welcome to their daily ablutions as far as I was concerned.The rest of the hotel was spotless and the food was fresh and tasty, the sun shone all the time except for one morning and we loved the town, the bustle and lifestyle.
But just for one week!!! It's lovely to be home. I start getting homesick after about three days.