We both love our lazy morning routine. Leisurely breakfast, peruse our news sites, then get dressed when we feel ready. The life of the retirees in their home away from home. Not to shabby at all!!
Marc surprised, and delighted me, by suggesting we head into the mountains and hike at the Fonte da Benémola, a long time favourite and a “must do” several times while we are here as it transforms itself with the evolution of the seasons.
Of course no drive is ever in a straight line, nor is it ever about the destination as it always includes several stops along the route. Today was no exception…
The route to the fonte is winding up and down through the serra and, as we’ve already encountered since our arrival here, many of the routes have now imposed reduced speed limits, which is not a bad thing. In actual fact it makes the drive that much more pleasurable, in addition to helping avoid accidents. It does mean however that I need to pay attention as I’ve been used to whizzing along these roads for several years now and I don’t want to get a speeding ticket.
When we arrived at the parking for the trail there were only two other cars present, which basically meant we had the entire 7 km hike to ourselves.
We walked, more or less ( mais ou menos), at our own pace stopping to simply breath it in, snap a few photos, or wait for the other to catch up. The goal for us is to enjoy it as it unfolds.
The Fonte da Benémola Trail is a short circular walk (roughly 7 km) that starts on a dirt track on the way to a small hamlet called Fica Bem. The rural scenery at Fonte da Benémola is peaceful, pretty and very bucolic. This trail crosses a Protected Landscape composed of woodland, meadows, and traditional farmland on the banks of the little river Menalva, deep in the Algarve’s Barrocal. It’s been developed much since we were here 19 months ago with new signage, stone picnic tables and benches. I can see heading there from time to time with a picnic.
We enjoyed a marvelous chat with a woman from Switzerland who lives nearby. She has three “sister” dogs, retrievers, two black and one golden. A thoroughly enjoyable tête-à-tête about life in the Algarve and the pleasures of wandering the paths aimlessly.
By now it was nearing 12h30 and we were ready for lunch. Rather than head home we headed a bit further along the road and came to…..
As you can see, the patio was empty but I popped in and it was confirmed they were open and had a full menu with several Prato do Dia.
Close to 14h00 we were satiated with the walk, the outdoor, the meal, and ready to head home. On the way we drove through a recently harvested cork forest, which meant another stop, or two, or three.