Southern Portugal into Spain

A much belated travel blog for Feburary 2015. Heading south to where we would soon meet a friend from home we came across some wonderful places. The beautiful beach of Carrapateira with its sand dunes, totally unspoiled, just miles of coast to walk and enjoy. This is campervan heaven and there is no hassle in staying here. All sort of folk were here from retired Germans, French and Dutch in Modern vans to converted army trucks.

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Laura being a keen knitter wasloving this crochet art

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As you round the south western tip of Portugal at Sagres everything begins to change. The Atlantic winds begin to ease and it becomes much warmer with sheltered bays and high cliffs above pristine beaches. We barely knew the day of the week nor the time of day spending most of our time outdoors.

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On to Faro where we met our mate Ruth

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We headed inland to the border with Spain at Alcoutim  and walked in the surrounding countryside to a small village called Corte pereiro. We enjoyed a beer with some locals while trying our best to communicate. Portugal is such a genuine place, locals coming and going from the fields for a drink and a chat. The Almond trees were in flower at the time.

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On to Seville and the Real Alcazar palace where these Swiss cheese plants Monstera deliciosa caught by attention. These are shade loving house plants back home which gives some indication of the climatic difference here. It was strange to see this.

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An example of Aerial roots giving the tree better support. Amazing

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Hard pruning of plane trees to restrict size is common in France , Spain and Portugal. You can see where Dali got his ideas for those elephants with long spindly legs.

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From seville we moved out into the moutains passing through El Bosque and hiking a gorge to Beamahoma. Looking through my diary are excited entries regarding Grazalema. On the 19th of Feb I wrote:

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Up in the mountains near Grazalema today we saw Holm Oak and down by the van black Iberian pigs are feeding on the acorns. The ground up here is limestone rock a climbers paradise. Our walk today took us up into a plateau before returning via the valley. The views were amazing no matter where you looked. The lives of the people here are so different from the lives we know. We have been watching this shepard grazing his flock along the road edge and leaning on his crook down in the valley. He seems so happy chating with passers by. We exchanged a hearty hello or Ola. I could see myself living somewhere like this. The smell of cooking wafting onto the streets in the afternoon and hoping against hope that you might be invited in to eat. It’s gonna be good, I recon is’t always good.This has to be the most outstanding place we have traveled to on the trip.

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Cattle were traditionally grazed and secured in enclosures up the valleys. Beans are widely grown in this area.The spanish fir tree Abies pinsapo grows here in the Sierra de Grazalema one of only 3 places it is found in Spain.

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