Today we drove to the Quinta da Tôr, a winery just north of Loulé, about 35 minutes from home as Marc was setting up, with his fellow artists, for an exposition that starts tomorrow. What a glorious day for a drive in the country and mountains! Deep blue Portugal sky, blazing sun, the faintest hint of a breeze. Ordered up especially for this event!
I dropped Marc then decided that I would drive to the bottom of the hill near the vineyard where I knew there was a short easy hike available. I parked then headed out on the 5.3-km loop trail near (and through) the viallage of Tôr. The book described it as “generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 20 min to complete”, it took me just shy of one hour and that was with many stops for photos.
The trail started on this old bridge, closed to traffic, which was once a very old Roman Bridge. Remnants still sit under this construction. Initially I was walking along luscious, verdant, vineyards, not a soul in sight. The river still contains water but as you can see from the photo, it is drying up. As I crossed the bridge there was a small enclave of houses, many abandoned and in terrible states of disrepair. Except for this one…..freshly painted with lots of tender loving care.
From here it was uphill in more or less, into the village. I think I saw two people the entire time, one cleaning windows and the other slipping from her house to her neighbours in her bathrobe, slippers, and a steaming cup of coffee in her hand. I think I startled her!
Wall tiles were in abundance today……..
Not certain how long it would take Marc et al to set up I decided to head back to the winery and take a stroll around the property and perhaps, if he still wasn’t finished, to enjoy a glass of vinho on the terrace! Why not?
I loved the three century plants looming over the winery. So majestic. The drive coming up, or going down depending on your perspective, is lined with cypress and pines. The intense heat of the day added just a little to their resinous, spicy aromas. I stood and closed my eyes just to let my nose do the “listening”. As Marc was still “working” I wandered up a small trail, seemed to be an old farm path, behind the main building.
The forest floor was peppered with what look like a type of wild hyacinth, although I couldn’t find any reference to it in my book of wildflowers. Wild artichoke was also growing in clusters and the wild fennel seemed to have some sort of “berry”, which I wouldn’t touch as sometimes the sap in plants and trees can be quite brutal to the skin. A month of so ago I attempted to pull a small burr from my hiking boot and it pricked my finger. The finger was swollen, painful, and quite dark for about two weeks and to this day the area remains very tender. I learned my lesson.
Back at the main terrace folks were still working but I could tell would soon be winding down, a perfect opportunity for me to relax on the terrace.
Just a few random shots of what will be an eclectic exhibition over the next several days. The rustic space and the weather will both lend much to it so for any of my Portugal friends, come on, get out and enjoy a jaunt to the Quinta da Tôr………you won’t regret it.
Marc and Bob, deserving of a break from all the work of setting up. I think they look like backup singers in this shot!
And my final shot of the day, tucked away on a small balcony, almost out of eyeshot.
Adeus por agora os meus amigos.