Quinta de Marim Olhão

Today was very cloudy and windy. a perfect day to not stray far from home. After our day of gluttony yesterday, the big birthday lunch and very little physical activity, some of us were feeling the need for a good leg stretch and not wanting to go far I had suggested a favourite trail near Olhão. It turned out to be one that Joanne had never walked before, and also a trail that Pat and Gary enjoy. A no brainer.

Situated 2.5km east of Olhão is the beautiful 60-hectare Centro Educação Ambiental de Marim (commonly known as Quinta de Marim). A 3km trail that takes you through various ecosystems – dunes, salt marshes, pine woodlands – as well as to a wildlife rescue centre and a historic water mill. The Parque Natural da Ria Formosa headquarters and environmental centre are also located there.

One of the first things we stumbled upon….look at it as a panoramic…..one long photo as truly, that is start to finish.

They are pine caterpillars. When the caterpillars are fully grown, they abandon their home in the trees in search of soft soil where they will cocoon. These processions are always single-file head-to-tail and can consist of as many as three hundred caterpillars. They stay in line in part as a result of tactile stimulus from the hair-like sensory appendages on their abdomen and the one in front of it. Scientists believe a yet to be discovered pheromone probably plays a role too. Wild huh?

Although there were many cars in the parking lot, we really didn’t see all that many other hikers. A few die-hards like us but not as many as the number of vehicles warranted.

A tiny little cactus!!! There were four or five of them in a row.

It was fun to see so many of the wild flowers starting to show their tiny faces. Never fails to make me smile.

I’m guessing that because of the winds, there weren’t many birds out and about today. The wall mural is inside the center where the injured animals are nursed back to health. Sadly, it was closed to the public today. In fact, in all the years of going there I have only ever once been able to get inside but it was fascinating as they had several varieties of owls, many sea birds, an eagle and a couple of large buzzards.

I think that despite the cooler temperatures we all enjoyed ourselves and with our doubling back over the trail in a couple of places we actually accomplished a little more than 5 km in total. I’d call that a fairly decent leg stretch.

On the way home Joanne and I stopped on a small side road that I thought I had never been down before but discovered quickly that I had in fact walked this road several years ago.

A lovely little chapel, a roadside memorial giving thanks for the spring water and how could I ever forget this house. I think the owner was peeved as the two very large dogs came running to the fence, all chuffed up and ready to eat me till they smelled the two doggie treats I carry in my pocket. They wolfed them down then proceeded to lick me till I walked away!! The owner starred after me in an air of disbelief.

Our plan was to collect Marc at home and head to Sao Bras for a grocery shop but hey, who shops on an empty stomach right?

A very spontaneous decision and as it turns out, perfect fuel for grocery shopping!!! Forneria do Largo, I’ve eaten there a few times and it’s always fabulous.

I have long been a lover of the cobblestone streets and over the years have taken great pleasure in the various designs that are used throughout towns and villages. I don’t think I’d noticed how lovely the sidewalks in Sao Bras were until today.

When we returned to home I decided to spend some time cleaning out the car and in doing so, pulled the vacuum out to get all the sand, pebbles, grass, and dried mud out. It was a good project and accomplished quickly. When I finished I took the bag out to give it an empty outside and as I rounded one of our outer buildings to find a discreet place for the dumping, I suddenly looked up and saw this!! It made me smile with surprise as I have walked around the property several times and had never seen it before. I seem to find these things tucked away in unexpected places. I love whimsey!

And in closing, one of my favourite shots of the day.

A proud single stalk of French Lavender.

2 thoughts on “Quinta de Marim Olhão

  1. Flowers always add to the enjoyment of a hike not to mention the caterpillars, very interesting. Love the faces in the trees and lunch looks delicious. Great post!


    1. Thanks Debbie……the days are flying by as we’ve been here a month today. Can’t believe it!


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