Barranco do Velho is a small village situated in the amazing Caldeirão Mountain, a short 30 minute drive from Estoi. It’s a landscape completely different from the touristic Algarve of golden beaches and crystalline waters. Filled with ancient cork trees, holm oaks, and the wonderful medronho (strawberry) trees.
Barranco means ravine and Velho is old. You can figure it out!!
It was a perfect day to go as it wasn’t blazing hot and the cloud cover provided us with a lovely cool breeze. The only thing missing from our hike was Harald…….he and Bela had other plans, out of town, for today and as today was James’s last full day here in Estoi (he moves to Tavira tomorrow) we didn’t want to miss out on the co-operating weather and the opportunity to enjoy the circular 7.6 km hike. Here is our motley crew, all fresh as daises getting ready to head off on the path right behind us.
One thing that was quite lovely about our walk today was the fact that we started early before the sun had time to warm up the earth. This meant that as the earth warmed the glorious scent of all the flora and fauna came up to greet us. I’m certain at times we must have looked a bit like a pack of hound dogs as we kept sniffing at the air as we hiked!
Although we were taking our time and enjoying every aspect of the hike we completed it in just over an hour and a half, which put us a tiny bit early for lunch at our chosen spot. Providence took care of that as we pulled into the parking lot and discovered that in fact they were not open!!!! Thankfully I knew of a place not much further down the highway and so, we headed off to Cortelha and Casa Dos Presuntos, where I had eaten recently with Harald.
I walked in the restaurant and there was a very old woman at the bar who smiled widely at me. I asked her if she spoke English or French, “no”. I then tried to ask her if we could eat outside on the patio…..remember it’s winter here for the locals…..she wrapped her arms around herself, shivered and said, muito frio (very cold). I smiled and agreed and she started to laugh, pointed at me then put her finger to her temple and made the sign for crazy!!!!!
They were very happy to set us up outside and what a great meal we all enjoyed. The by now blazing sun, good vinho, great food and wonderful companionship.
We left here very satisfied and quite stuffed. For certain we will return again before we all head back to Canada. By now it was nearing 14h00, time to head back home and as it turned out for most of us, enjoy a tiny siesta!!!!
On the way back we stopped at a roadside vantage point to have a look at the views. Nicely surprised with a few more things in bloom
And one of my favourite photos of today, and not because I am in it but because of the play of light and colour. I think the happiness shines through.