Windmill restored in Albufeira

In Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal on September 10, 2017 by cubsur51 Tagged:

Windmills were once very common across the Algarve, grinding not just grain but other agricultural produce. None remain in commercial use.

Some have been converted into holiday homes. Others have been cosmetically restored, as has recently this one in the centre of Albufeira. If you want to go and see it, it is located on the Cerro Malpique, high above the old town, near the Cerro Mar Gardens resort complex.

The sails don’t go round, although canvas rigging can be seen tied to the struts of the wheel. Some complicated carpentry was involved I think!

This is the back. Sorry about the modernity in the shape of the mobile phone mast!


Visit to Praia de Faro 31.08.17

In Algarve, Portugal on September 3, 2017 by cubsur51 Tagged: ,

Visit to Praia de Faro 31.08.17

This is the spit of land seen by millions every year as they land or take off at Faro Airport. Although often called the ‘Ilha de Faro’ (Faro island) it isn’t a true island as the western end joins onto the beach area of the upmarket resort of Quinta do Lago.

It had been a very long time since I had been there. So, on a hot day last Thursday, I took the train to Faro and then the bus to the beach. The ‘island’ is linked to the mainland by a low half mile long bridge. The last 150 metres is, for some unknown reason, only wide enough for one vehicle to pass at a time. It’s controlled by traffic signals, where posters are on display, demanding a wider bridge to be built. Because of that narrow section, large trucks and buses cannot cross onto the island. The bus stops seemingly in the middle of the sea.

Praia de Faro Bridge

Praia de Faro Bridge

It was a very busy day, the sands were busy. The beach stretches for several kilometres. I walked to the eastern end, about 4 km each way. After the first 1.7km, the road runs out. A boardwalk for pedestrians, bikes and scooters runs almost the whole way to the end, where there is a scattering of houses including this rather smart one. These houses have a boat parked outside the front door and a bike or scooter at the back.

Praia de Faro house

Praia de Faro house

The city of Faro sits across the marshes, as does the airport.

Faro Airport from the island

Faro Airport from the island

Praia de Faro plane landing

Praia de Faro plane landing

Faro from the island 002

Faro from the island

Some more pictures if you click the icon below.

This map shows my walk, from the red dot where I got off the bus to the blue dot. Despite what the map may show, the road runs not quite half way. There is the boardwalk for most of the rest, then it is soft sand.

Map for Faro Island - Ilha de Faro

Map for Faro Island – Ilha de Faro

How to get there

As you can see, the island is a short distance from Faro airport. Take that road and turn away from the airport, following the signs to Praia de Faro. Parking on the island is very limited and with access only via that very narrow bridge it is often a fairly long wait to get on and off. There is a parking area on the mainland at the other end of the bridge. That however is a walk of about 850 metres. Good news is that there is a separate boardwalk type bridge, alongside the road, for pedestrians and cyclists.

For those who don’t mind going by bus, Faro city bus route 16 runs from the bus station and railway station once or twice an hour. Fare is €2,25 for adults, €1,50 for children.  The journey takes about 20 minutes. This is the same bus that goes via the airport. In summer, there are also journeys on routes 14 and 17 from other parts of the city.

In summer, mid-June to mid September, there is a passenger ferry from Faro city six times a day. The embarkation point is under the old city wall about 200 metres from the marina. Times etc at


Still very dry here.

In Albufeira, Algarve on August 30, 2017 by cubsur51 Tagged: , ,

Still very dry here.

It hasn’t rained for months. Although some of the deep rooted trees and evergreen shrubs are still green, the grass has long since turned to straw. I went out for a couple of hours walk this afternoon, just out the back into the one-time sheep and goat territory. Dry thorn leaves cracked underfoot, long scratchy things attacked. Bamboo seems also to be growing quite well. I thought bamboo was a tropical plant.

It’s a mystery why there have not been more fires with all those careless people around. There is a ban on outdoor fires, barbecues, roasts etc anywhere there is grass and trees.

It is still quite warm, 26ºC today, not so hot as it was a couple of weeks ago. Up here 110 metres (330 feet) above sea level it was quite windy. Blue sky overhead, but some fairly large clouds were piling up over the hills to the north. but there seems no danger of any rain any time soon.


Clouds over the Algarve Hills 30th August 2017

A few pictures of the semi desert of Albufeira, all taken this afternoon 30th August.

Does anyone have a recipe for cactus? It will be all that’s growing here soon!

We always know when it’s election time. The minor roads are suddenly repaired and re-surfaced. But did they run out of money before they finished the centre line? Or was it just they ran out of paint or, more likely I think, it was going home time. And of course they don’t go back to complete unfinished work. Those guiding dots continued for a considerable distance.

On a different topic, I don’t know whether to call this art or not. This grafitti on an abandoned bridgework must have taken a very long time! it’s over 20 feet (6 metres) high at the left hand end.

I have asked elsewhere, but do you know what these plants are? They were very conspicuous among the brown because of their grey / green colour. But I am almost completely ignorant about plants.

Have a nice day.


Albufeira in the height of summer.

In Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal on August 22, 2017 by cubsur51 Tagged: ,

Albufeira in the height of summer.

These are not the best pictures I have ever taken. Forgot to put the memory card in!. But I hope they convey some of the ambience of the town beach at the height of summer.

And in contrast, a short distance from that scene, is one of very barren and brown aridity.
We need some rain, a lot, soon.


Just a few pictures from my trip over to Royan earlier this month.

Traditional nets and cranes are still used by fisherman in these parts. These are fairly new but many are sadly no longer used.


Traditional fishermen cabins Royan, France

This small beach just north of the town centre has the distinction (I found out later) of being the third public beach in France to be declared a non-smoking zone. It’s the Plage du Pigonnier, so if you like sit on sand rather than in a giant ashtray, this could be the place to go!


Plage du Pigonnier, Royan, France

Further west are long stretches of sand in the towns of Vaux-sur-Mer and La Palmyre. Bike trails run all the way along the coast, sometimes beside roads, often on well maintained bike trails through the woods. They were very, very, busy the day I rode. I managed 22km before my knee started protesting. But I still had to ride back 22km to the ferry!


Beach near Royan, France

As the ferry leaves Royan, there are some good views of parts of the town and the busy water. Most of the town, as I have previously written, was destroyed in a botched Allied bombing raid in World War Two, but to the east and west of the centre there remain many of the large houes with the distinctive tiled towers, built a century ago by the rich.

Royan, France, seen from the ferry.

This is a better picture, piched from a lettings website.

Typical villa in Royan, France

Gironde estuary at Royan, France.

The estuary was very busy with all kinds of boats, yachts, water skiers, jetboats and this great big ferry kind of pushing its way slowly through!

Busy water, Gironde, Royan, France.

Royan, France

Tagged: , , on August 21, 2017 by cubsur51

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Albufeira hot and busy, no fires here!

In Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal on August 21, 2017 by cubsur51 Tagged: , , ,

Many days now of temperatures between 32ºC and 35ºC, beaches and towns are very busy. Here’s a picture taken a few days ago by a friend of Galé beach, about 5km west of Albufeira.

Luckily we have been spared the brushfires and more serious that have badly affected parts of the centre and north of Portugal. There were two small fires a few days ago a about 6 miles west of here, near Armção de Pêra, the smoke from which drifted over our way for a few hours.

Fingers are still crossed. All the grass and small shrubs are brown, trees are still green.

Portugal has an excellent website, updated in real time, showing the status of the fires. It’s only in Portguese but is very easy to understand. Click on a fire and a box will open up telling you how many firefighters are involved, how many appliances, how many aircraft and for the very biggest fires (shown as red flames) the scope of the fire and the location of the command centre and who’s in charge.



Some more from Bordeaux

On my last couple of days I took some long walks around, including a visit to the Gallien ‘Palace’.

I saw this company sign above an old building. No, it isn’t anything to do with the guillotine I found out!


Guillot & Cie facade

The Gallien ‘Palace’ is so named because it was once thought to be a palace built for the wife of Charlemagne. Not so, it is definitely the remains of the arena of the Roman city of Burdaglia as it was then called. It is perhaps named for the Emperor Gallienus, who reigned in the middle of the 3rd century AD. Seems that having a stadium named after you for personal vanity is not a new thing!

The stadium is a little way from the city, so I imagined the fans complaining as they do now about the difficulty in getting to the ground, the traffic, the parking and I will be they had trouble getting into the bar for a swift vino or cerevisia

Very little remains of what was once a 15 – 17,000 seater stadium (about the size of Centre Court at Wimbledon) that fell into disuse after the city was sacked by the usual suspects, Goths, Vandals, Visigoths etc. Substantial remains stood until the time after the French Revolution when they were built over with new housing. That was in 1793! The ones you see today are the same.

This drawing shows the remains around that time, with most of the outer walls still intact.


Gallien remains late 18th century

Take a close look at the Google satellite view below. It’s possible to trace the curved stadium shape, particularly on the right hand side, where the older houses were built up against the then-standing wall. The newer houses lie along the cross streets that fill what was the stadium floor.


Gallien map

The main part to see is one of the entrances.


Gallien entrance




Gallien – the two people there give you an idea of the size of it



Some of the inside – some decent brickwork and a slot drain, all attention to detail that wouldn’t be seen again for several hundred years.


Brickwork at Gallien


slot drain at Gallien

This next picture was taken from the Rue du Colisée, more or less on what would have been the middle of the ground.


Gallien from ‘inside’


As I walked back along the Rue du Colisée, I spotted a bit of Roman brickwork up among the roofs of the 18th centtury buildings. A puzzle to me as to how it is still there or if it serves a purpose to this day.


Brick arch Gallien


Brick arch Gallien

Moving away from ancient times, some of Bordeaux’s history can be seen in the street signs. Here’s just a couple from near the Gallien site.

Often you can see the original street names carved into the stone, above it the post revolutionary names and on the blue plaques the present day name, which although the same here is often different. Many street names commemorate World War 2 heroes and battles. I dare say there aren’t many Avenues Louis XIV or Allées du Dauphin in France, but everywhere has a Rue 11 Novembre or 8 Mai etc. Avenues General de Gaulle abound. I searched Google maps in vain for a Field Marshal Montgomery Street but Winston Churchill does have an Avenue in Southsea.


Street sign Bordeaux


Street sign Bordeaux

The late afternoon sunshine caught this gilded statue nicely. It’s on the Cathedrale Saint Andre, Place Pey Berland.
That’s all from this visit to Bordeaux. If I can find those from Royan, I will post them in a day or two.

Some more from Bordeaux

Tagged: , on August 15, 2017 by cubsur51

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