On our holiday in Faro (see previous post), we went by bus to the exquisite town of Tavira. From the bus station, it’s short walk by the river Gilão to the architecturally stunning town square (Photos 1 and 2). The buildings are immaculately clean and the upright rods above the arches of the town house building add a distinctive quality to the scene. From the square, there is a pleasant walk along the riverside to the small fishing port, where you can see boats with unusual looking creels, as well as the ferry which takes people to the long, clean and uncrowded beaches of Tavira Island. Alternatively, you can cross the river by going over one of the bridges – including the 7 arched Roman bridge (Photo 3) – to the meandering streets and squares. Tavira is full of churches, the most famous being the Igreja da Misericórdia which has stunning expanses of wall tiles depicting religious stories. Photography is not allowed unfortunately.We did not have time to visit the municipal library (good photos on this site) which has won prizes for its design. Tavira is a must see if you are ever in the Algarve.
I’ve always liked taking photos of doors, especially in Mediterranean countries, but one feature I saw in the Algarve towns we visited were door knockers in the form of hands. These are apparently influenced by Moorish design and legend has it that they are placed on the door to keep away evil spirits, and the house is protected by the Hands of Fatima, who was said to be the daughter of the prophet Mohammed. Some are in better condition than others – see Photos 4 and 5 – but they add a real touch of elegance to the doors.
At the weekend, we had a visit from my ex-colleague and good friend Bob Pymm (aka Doctor Robert). We took Bob firstly to Hailes Castle which is an impressive building which is situated on the River Tyne. the castle has an outer wall to keep enemies at bay and any intruders would have great difficulty approaching from the river side as a) they would be seen and b) they would be faced with a huge wall to climb. We then went up Traprain Law (good photos on this site) and told Bob about the discovery of Roman silver on the Law (Scots for hill), and the next day we went to see the silver in the National Museum of Scotland. There are impressive views from both the castle and the Law. Photo 6 is looking north from Hailes Castle. Photo 7 shows the cairn at the top of the Law and the rolling countryside out to the sea. Photo 8 shows the shadows of clouds slowly meandering across the burgeoning crops.