Santiago do Cacém
Santiago do Cacém is a small town a few miles inland from the port of Sines, which I visited at the end of February 2014. It was a grey and rainy day in Sines, so I took a bus to have a look elsewhere. The town is quite high up and surrounded by hills, so it was even mistier and cloudier!
Here are a few pictures http://1drv.ms/1cydhts
The area has been populated since before Roman times. About 1 mile /1.5km) from town are the remains of a substantial Roman town called Mirobriga. I didn’t have time to go there but will make another trip to the area to see them.
The historic centre has a church dating from the 13th Century and a castle from an even earlier period. The modern town is pretty unremarkable, consisting largely of apartment-style concrete buildings. The historic centre is very run down with many large buildings no longer used and simply being left to fall down.
Sines – my visit
A change of scenery was needed so I looked for a town that I hadn’t been to. About 100 miles north of Albufeira is the town of Sines, a port on the Alentejo coast. I knew it as the birthplace of the explorer Vasco da Gama and that it is one of Portugal’s biggest commercial ports but other than that it’s just a dot on the map.
Sines is far from being a holiday resort. Although it has a nice looking beach, it is one of Portugal’s biggest and busiest commercial ports. There is a large container facility, a liquid natural gas terminal, bulk liquids and petro-chemical terminals with the latter linked by a 50 metres wide mass of pipelines to a refinery a couple of miles inland. There is also a working fishing port.
The port is rail connected with container trains and bulk loads of coal leaving daily.
Sines lost its passenger rail service more than twenty years ago, so the only way for me to get there was by coach. I try avoid long coach journeys along bumpy roads but this one had the appeal of the trip along the scenic N120 road through relatively unspoiled countryside.
And at only €12.10 each way for a 3 hour trip from Portimão it seemed good value.
After leaving the coastal tourist area of the Algarve the route goes up into the hills passing through or by just a few small towns. Traffic is almost nil. Up and down hills, round sharp corners and switchbacks it’s a very pleasant run. Every now and then the coach would pass through a small place where the elderly men sit on the benches, watching the world (or in this case me) go by with a look that says the passing of the coach is the most exciting thing that has happened in days, possibly weeks!
Arrival in Sines was ten minutes late but no matter. It was only a few minutes walk to the Sinerama Apartment hotel where I had booked three nights. Spent the first night catching up on email and listening to a football commentary. It was Manchester United’s game so that pleased me!
I spent the following day walking around town. The town sits on top of a cliff so to get down below means a stiff climb back up afterwards. I spent some more time in town the following morning then because it was raining I took a bus to the next town of Santiago do Cacém, of which more in the next post.
Here are links to the pictures I took in Sines. There may be one or two more to add.
Sines old railway station -some very nice tile murals
Sines town and area
More in a day or two
In advance of the main post. here a couple of pictures you might like.
Near the fishing port area of Sines some people have put out some old fish boxes and the like as homes for the local feral cats. Some kinder people even give the cats some nice fish to eat.
The cat certainly looked happy. Not far away I chanced upon this creature, making its way slowly across a little-used road. I wonder if he made it? I don’t see many of these in the Algarve.
Spent a few days this week in the port town of Sines, a nice change of scenery after a pleasant coach ride through the near empty countryside.
Many, many pictures to work through which I shall bring on line during the week.
Nothing fantastic, just a few pictures taken on a walk the old town and beach on Thursday 20th February. Also included are a couple of then and now views.
An old picture of the town beaches at Albufeira side by side with the present day.
We are not sure of the date of the old picture but suspect it is around 1915. Click the picture to see full size.
Everyone’s happier when the sun is out.