14 July 2017

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Portugal

I flew to Faro on the 9 July, to stay with friends who live in a villa in Portugal. Perched on a hill, the views from the terrace are rather pleasant, and the nearest neighbours are sheep.

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Sunset on the River Gilão

The ancient fishing town of Tavira sits on the coast line of the eastern side of the Algarve. The  Gilão River runs through the town centre, and Tavira’s early Moorish influences are still evident in the white washed buildings, that are juxtaposed with traditional Portuguese architecture. We came here a couple of times for dinner.

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Many of the facades of buildings that line the cobblestone streets, are covered in tiles, known as  azulejo. Azulejo is from Arabic meaning  ‘polished stone’, although the origins of using glazed tiles actually started in Egypt. In 1503 Portugal’s King Manuel I, visited Seville (which had become the centre of Spanish azulejo), brought the idea back and so Portugal adopted and embedded this artwork into its culture.DSC_0009 (2)

Tavira has a wide variety of azulejo styles and decoration.

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There are more than twenty churches in and around the town, I only photographed two.

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Igreja de Santa Maria do Castel

Although a lot of the older buildings in the town have been restored, some are in quite a poor state.

The seven arch Ponte Roma over the River Gilão, is, despite it’s name, of Moorish origin, although the current structure originates in the 17th century.

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Ponte Roma

Aside from the facades of the buildings, a significant contribution to the colour in the town, is provided by flowers, they bloom on houses, in gardens, on balconies, in street planters, or form as canopies across narrow side streets.

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The side streets are always worth exploring, some of the best restaurants are hidden here.

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One evening we went for a sunset cruise, setting off from Villamoura Marina in a friends boat. The views of the sunset as we sailed back into the  marina were stunning.

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