Saturday, April 27, 2013


Boardwalk to the beach
 When we were looking at properties to rent in the area we narrowed it down to two in Olhão, a little house on the Island of Armona and this apartment in the town itself. Because we were going 'off season' we worried that there might not have been much open over on the island so we went with the apartment in town.

The island is a short ferry ride from Olhão and today we went over to explore the island. You get off the ferry and there is one narrow sidewalk sized road through the town. The town is made up of little closely spaced Portuguese style cottages. They are mostly low, flat roofed (It never rains – you do not need sloped roofs), and made of concrete or adobe depending on the age. There are no cars on the island so the narrow streets are pedestrian only. You have to avoid the occasional ATV or small tractor, but the traffic is mostly people.

Now as we walked down the sidewalk, and then the boardwalk towards the Ria Formosa Nature Park (The beach) a difference in opinions emerged.

Relaxing on the beach
Pete commented “Am I ever glad we didn't rent the house over here, I would be so bored!”.

I had just been thinking, “Boy, it is a good thing we didn't rent the house here, I would never want to leave!”

At the end of the boardwalk, we entered the actual park with miles of sand and beach. I expect that there might be more people in the summer, but today it was practically deserted. The sandy beach went on as far as you could see in one direction with only a couple of people spaced out down the length.
Seashells on the beach

Down at the waterline, the beach is beautiful, with soft warm sand, but if you venture up a bit it is best to keep shoes on, as there are hundreds of interesting shells scattered about. This would be nice, but unfortunately there is also a lot of garbage scattered about. There are garbage bins spaced along the beach, so I think this is debris washed ashore over the winter rather than litter, but it does detract from the beach. As the real “High Season” has yet to start, and the only people wandering the beach in April are the hardy tourists from Northern climates, it is possible that the beach will get cleaned up before the season begins, but I have noticed that unless it is a 'resort' beach, the garbage that washes ashore tends to get ignored as just part of the 'setting'. It seems only North Americans used to pristine, hyper-clean raked daily, beaches are offended by a little garbage in the 'natural' setting.
On the way back to the ferry, we stopped for lunch at a little cafe on the edge of town run by a Belgium family where I sampled yet another helping of calamari that couldn't quite match the offering at the Mic Mac Tavern back home. Tired from another day here in the Portuguese sunshine and warmth we made our way 'home' to to Number 24.

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