Apr 232017 Tagged with , , , , , , 0 Responses

Monchique to the Algarve

Monchique proved to be a great choice for walking both in the mountains and out at the coast.  Either side of our rural Casa aptly named Casa Vale dos Sobreiros – house in the valley of the Holm Oak trees there were mountains.  Foia on one side and Picota on the other.  We were spoilt for choice.  To the south and west we had the coastline of the Algarve to poke around.  We had four days and a lot of walking planned.

One thing about walking in Spain and Portugal – you practically never have to worry about the weather.  It maybe a little cool in the morning but by noon it seems to be always around 22 and by 4-5pm 26-27 unless you are very high up.

The  mountains of Foia and Picota are covered with Spanish lavender, Green Lavender, white rock rose and spots of blue – Lithodora and spots of white – Arenaria.  If you imagine a walk in NZ and how many manuka bushes there are – multiply that by 10,000 and that’s around how many white rock roses you’ll find on a walk in this area of the world.  VERY pretty.

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Apr 222017 Tagged with , , , , , , 0 Responses

Mertola – beautiful historical town

We chose Mertola as a base for walking and because of it’s historic interest – the Phoenicians were it’s first inhabitants followed by a succession of invaders.

The castle is set high on a hill guarding the last inland port on the Guadiana River.  It was from here valuable products such as gold and silver plus agricultural products were sent South to the Mediterranean

We loved our 3 night stay here at Hotel Museu which is a relatively new hotel built into the side of the hill and over the top of ruins from centuries ago.  Down our passageway there was even panels of glass where you could see the old foundations of ancient homes and these were lit up at night.  Very cool!

Our latest interest is dabbling in a bit of bird watching.  This works in very well with hiking and searching for rare plants as you are never guaranteed to find the plants or the birds – but usually find at least one of these as well as getting good exercise and usually fabulous views of the countryside – because if there is one thing we’ve learnt.  Spain and Portugal are NOT FLAT.  Whilst here we had great sights of Bonelli’s Eagles and Montagu’s Harriers, plus after seeing at least 1 billion purple Lavender stoechas – we saw a pure white one!


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