Day 2 (February February 23, 2010): Silves and the Countryside
There is morecto the Algarve, the western coast, than just the seaside. Today we began our walk in the town of Silves (Sil-vesh). Centuries ago this was a thriving trading town but nicer time the river silted up and became unnavigable. It is hard to tell how lively the town is today though it certainly seems a good bit larger than Praia da Luz (Luge). The Knights elected to do the harder walk which spanned a bit more than 8 miles rising and falling some 800 feet. The easier walk shared much of the same route.
We left the storks of Silves from the Ponti Roma, a bridge that may be of Roman design but some claim it is of zmoorish vintage, with good weather but that would soon change. The walks took us through the countryside along small roads and dirt lanes. With the clouds quickly conquering the sky we climbed to an old disused classic style windmill. The wind whipped around us and it was becoming clear that we were in for some heavy weather. That weather arrived in the form of high wind and huge raindrops. Short frequent showers caused pastured sheep to scamper for their small hut and us to don our waterproofs. But with the rains also came great swaths of colorful contrasts: deep angry gray clouds, rich dark greens of plants, the vRious shades of tan that make up the potholed filled dirt lanes, and at times to hint if a lightening sky with patches of blue. The combination is somber and yet thrilling to the eye. But it bs a closed-in world and that affected our view of the overall walk I am sure. It wasn't as exciting as it might otherwise have been, except for one monster of a hill. This mud-slick, 100 foot plus hillock was a real chore to descend. It was easily as steep as an average set of stairs but lacked the respites of treads. Ascending this beast would have been awful; descending was tough enough. To date, covering the three hikes we have now done, that hill is the toughest several minutes of work we have had. When we saw the group doing the easier walk pop out on a trail at the base of the beast we were surprised and perhaps a bit chagrinned.
The video will give you a sense of the day. I apologize for the spotty audio. Please keep in mind I am writing this on my iPhone so typos are bound to appear.