Tavira - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

November 8, 2019

Tavira

Today’s ride

Another short outing, and our last full day in Portugal.  We got an earlier start than usual, thinking we’d leave plenty of time for a nice afternoon walk when we reached Tavira.  It didn’t work out that way though because we made such slow progress biking through Ria Formosa, a beautiful coastal strip that consists of a string of salt pans, lagoons, offshore islands and small fishing villages.  

Riding was slow going partly because it’s so colorful, with many excuses to slow down and stop - the best sections have a dreamy, mysterious quality.  It’s also slow because of road quality and navigation issues.  It’s a bit tricky finding your way through, going back and forth between paved roads, gravel and sand strips, and the occasional road to nowhere that you have to double back from.  We probably could have done better, and I wouldn’t consult our map too religiously if you come this way yourself - better to come up with your own ideas than curse us!

We ended up taking six hours to travel 27 miles - probably our slowest day yet - but it was time well spent.  And speaking of time, I’m running low on it - we have a long ride today, and a ferry to Spain to catch.  Fewer words, fewer captions, make your own interpretation.  And first let’s look at the video, which gives a better sense of this ride than the stills do.

Video sound track: Terra d’Agua, by Mariza

Biking along the Ria Formosa on the Ecovia
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Jen GrumbyAnother captivating capture of that squirrelly salt ...magical!
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1 month ago
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Ron SuchanekI hope you picked this up. It will go well with your room in Silverton.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekI considered that of course, but it’s in a natural preserve. I wasn’t sure we could outrace an officer with it in tow.
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3 weeks ago
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Jen GrumbyThat looks like the spine is the Abominable Salt Monster. I think he'd be pretty tall if he decided to stand up.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyOh, my gosh! What a terrifying thought. We were lucky to get out of there alive.
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1 month ago
Another Audoiun’s gull, I think.
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Kentish plover
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Flamingos, finally!
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Jacquie GaudetI didn't know they came in colours other than pink!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetThe young are like this. It’s diet related - the color comes from the beta carotene in their diet.
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1 month ago
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Jen GrumbyFabulous flamingos!
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1 month ago
Guess what?
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Jen GrumbyOMG .. is that the same stork you saw up north .. and then again a few days ago?!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyNo, of course not. Nothing like either of those two. Obviously. Good job recognizing it’s a stork, though.
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1 month ago
And spoonbills! I didn’t realize this unti looking at the photos later. They were quite far off and I thought they were just another cluster of egrets. I wished I’d stared longer at them.
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Tavira

Tavira deserves more recognition than I’m giving it here, but I’m out of time.  It’s a very attractive town, easily our favorite spot on the Algarve coast other than Lagos.  We could happily have spent a second night here.  It’s small, not very touristy (at least in this season), and has an authentic feel.  It’s very pretty too - a scenic bridge town than spans the Gilao River, with pathways along both banks that are conducive to a leisurely stroll.  And there’s a ruined castle of course, because we’re near the border; and colorful tile-faced buildings line its streets, and there is evidence of its Moorish past.

Wait!  Let’s stay another night!  Too late, the trip planners say - it’s time to move on.

So, after three weeks we leave Portugal again in the morning, but hopefully not for the last time.  We do leave with one sour note - we broke our AFD streak today when Rachael lost her long sleeve cycling jersey.  We think it’s out there on the Ecovia somewhere, so watch out for it and send it our way, please.  We’ll be happy to pick up the postage if it’s still in fair or better condition.

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As nice as Tavira itself is though, the real highlight of our stay here was a late afternoon fado performance at Fado com Historia, a small organization that stages hour long fado performances three times a day, six days a week.  One of my disappointments in our visit to Portugal so far was that we failed to find a fado performance showing on a night we were in any of the towns.  I was delighted to find this show, just as we’re on the way out the door.

And, I was further delighted to find that the singer was Teresa Viola, the same woman we heard perform in Faro six years ago.  She must be the regional fado star.  We chatted with her briefly after the performance, and learned why it’s hard to catch one of her evening shows.  She sings here during the day, and gets off early enough that she can perform in the evenings at nearby towns.  She was performing a dinner conference here last night, and will be in Faro this evening.  You have to be lucky and be in the right town on the right night.

Teresa Viola and her accompanists.
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The Portuguese 12 string guitar, one of the traditional instruments used in fado performances.
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Jen GrumbySo glad you got to see this performance!!

Will you be going to a flamenco performance in Andalusia, too?

If so, I'd be interested in hearing your impressions of the differences and similarities of fado and flamenco.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyI hope we can take in a performance. Our best chance is in Seville, where we’ll be tomorrow night. We’ve been to shows twice before on tours here, and it is nothing like fado. Both are wonderful to experience live.
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1 month ago
Jen GrumbyThe only time I've been in Seville was during Holy Week .. I'll bet this is a much more enjoyable time of year to be there.

Hope you do get to see a flamenco show.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyPoor me. The only time I got to be in Seville was Holy Week. Sigh.

Holy Seville! That must have been incredible! Terrible time to show up with a bicycle though, I’m sure. As bad as trying to ride into El Rocio during its pilgrimage. I can only imagine.

And yes, we’ll see flamenco in Seville, so that’s something anyway. Thanks for reminding me about it - I found and booked seats at a show.
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1 month ago
Jen GrumbyCan't wait to hear about the flamenco show. That was one of my favorite outings during the trip there.

To be there during Holy Week was unforgettable, but I wouldn't do it again. I get a little anxious in large crowds. After that a friend and I did a village-to-village hike in .. I think it was called Las Alpujarras. One of our favorite places was called Alquería de Morayma .. I think in the town of Treveléz.
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4 weeks ago
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Ride stats today: 37 miles, 800’; for the tour: 1,434 miles, 75,900’

Today's ride: 27 miles (43 km)
Total: 1,434 miles (2,308 km)

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Jen GrumbyToday's video looks like the Grumbys' idea of a perfect ride!

You say, "better to come up with your own ideas than curse us!" ...

Well, since I'm gaining a reputation as the Potty Mouth of CycleBlaze, we might just have to follow your route so I can enjoy cursing you at the same time!
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1 month ago