Portimao, Portugal

April 16. Easter Sunday, 7:00am. Before I tell you about Portimao, let me tell you our schedule for today. Breakfast at 8; pickle ball at 9; enrichment lecture on Columbus at 10; wine with our table mates at 11(Diet Sprite for me); Easter brunch at 12; ukulele practice at 2: nap at 3; Happy Hour at 4; formal dinner at 5; champagne (waterfall) at 7; comedy show at 7:45; bedtime at 9. Talk about worn out!!! We have to get home to have a vacation!!
Now about Portimao (pronounced Por-tim-ow). Beautiful, modern, clean city. It is located on the Algarve Coast in the south of Portugal. Famous for sardine production. The area is also famous for (they like to say) storks and corks! 53% of the world’s cork is produced in Portugal. Stork nests abound. On chimneys, trees, signs, cranes (metal ones not other birds!), lampposts, anything they can find to build huge nests. Pretty awesome! We saw a field where there were more than fifty nests on dead trees. Of course, they are protected and can’t be disturbed even if they decide to build on YOUR chimney!! The Algarve Coast is also a flyway for them. Before I forget, when we returned from the tour, a bottle of Champagne was in our room with a note thanking us for doing the pickle ball stuff on board. It was from Sammi, the Cruise Director. Nice to be appreciated! Back to Portimao. This is the area that Henry the Navigator ran his school for mariners during the 15th century. His captains explored the west African coast until Bartholemew Diaz discovered the Cape of Good Hope proving that there was a route around the continent. Later, Vasco da Gama sailed all the way to India. Huge discoveries!
This area is also big on wine and dates. On our bus tour (very well air conditioned, by the way), we stopped at Carvoeiro, one of Portugal’s famous beach resorts. (Thought we were back at York Beach. Looked for a Molly O’s but couldn’t find one). We then went to a high cliff overlooking sea caves, grottos, arches, limestone cliffs, etc. What scenery! It was another clear, gorgeous day. Took a ton of pictures. El was in her element scrambling over crags and rocks. No scrambling for me though!! Then we went to a fishing town called Lagos. Fresh fish for sale at the open air markets. Great fish smell. Lots of sardines. I looked for anchovies. Yum! Yum! One of the local treats are olives stuffed with anchovies. Wait till I get home, everybody!! First happy hour, guess what I’m serving?? Wonderful day. Got back around 2pm. The photos today show a stork nest (El asked if she could climb the chimney to peek in it) and El on a crag. We are now crossing the Atlantic and have only one more stop (Hamilton, Bermuda) before ending our cruise at Ft. Lauderdale. Boo Hoo!! Happy Easter everyone! Signed, Captain Juan De FucaStork on chimney.jpgPortimao rocks.JPG

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