This isn’t a walk so much as an amble into the sunny Portuguese countryside, but with the potential for a great deal more. Furnazinhas is a small village, sometimes used for an overnight stay, at the eastern end of the Via Algarviana. The whole walk runs from Alcoutim on the River Guadiana, the border with Spain, all the way to Cabo S. Vicente on the west coast. You can break it down into stages, whilst taking in some of the Algarve’s most picturesque scenery. Furnazinhas is a tranquil and lovely place to stay. There’s a sense that time has passed the place right by.
It’s a small village and, arriving by car, we passed swiftly through it, then parked alongside the narrow roadside and walked back in. It was one of those days that wasn’t going to plan. I had tried and failed to join an exercise class in Tavira that morning, and plans to join Becky and Robert for lunch had fallen through. The sun was shining brightly, so I tucked my pet lip away, and we headed for the hills. My husband was convinced that the village would be a disappointment too, so I was wearing flip flops and intending to go to the beach afterwards. For once, he was totally wrong.
Some places just speak to you immediately, don’t they? As we strolled into the village, absorbing the silence, this sleepy little place was already getting under our skin. Almost our first sighting was the signpost pointing out the PR10. A stone slabbed lane led off through the village towards the hills beyond. The realisation dawned that I needed my hiking boots to do this place justice. Or at the very least, trainers.
We stopped to examine a map, and realised that we could have had two choices. The PR9 was a circular 7.7km route, with a variety of ups and downs, while PR10 was a linear and flatter 7.8km, and a part of the Via Algarviana. Unable to sensibly follow either, I determined to explore as much as I could of the village. An elderly gentleman, seeing our interest, seemed happy to chat. Before much longer he was leading us across the road, to his father’s former stables.
What a lovely surprise! First he showed us the house where he and his wife live, when they don’t have guests for the Summer. Then he unlocked the door of the smaller house opposite. Steps lead down into a beautiful dining room, with a bedroom sleeping 4 above. The old stone walls and ceilings of wood and bamboo give the place wonderful character, while spanking new bathrooms wouldn’t be out of place in a glossy magazine. A small kitchen sits at the rear of the property, with barbecue looking onto an expanse of garden. It had so much charm, I couldn’t stop smiling.
He explained that he’d worked in Faro until his retirement, but now he liked the peace and quiet of the countryside. Who could blame him? He said with a smile that he could always pop back to the city if he needed a bit more ‘life’. Meanwhile Casa do Lavrador, the conversion of his Dad’s place, seemed to provide him with contentment and a living.
Having walked as far as I could through the village, I crossed over to explore the back streets of the opposite side. An old lad, on a disability scooter, looked rather incongruous as he performed circuits, nodding at us as he passed. A couple, deep in conversation on a doorstep, looked up, but scarcely paused to draw breath. I was starting to feel hungry. In the garden of a house set back from the street, a couple of gents were busy tucking in. I could see no sign to indicate a restaurant, but it might well have been.
Like most Portuguese villages, there were signs of abandonment. The young have to leave home to find work, and not everyone wants to return. Terraces of crops and trees lined the fields behind the village. Somebody had been hard at work.
I expect you’ve guessed that I’ll be going back, equipped with water and some proper shoes. We may even rent the cottage and relish the peaceful life for a few days. If that’s something you’d like to do, Casa do Lavrador is a Turismo Rural, and the phone number is +351 281 495 748.
The Via Algarviana stretches for 300km across the Algarve. The website includes details of the trail, places to stay and a very seductive video.
Something to think about for the future? I hope you’ll join me next time.
Many thanks to all you lovely people who follow me, and especially if you’ve shared a walk. Please find time to read and share. You can put the kettle on first, if you like. I’ll wait.
Join Drake in the desert? He always makes such excellent company :
Or simply gaze at the still, calm water with Irene :
Emma has a good grumble in Mumbles. Justified, I think :
What has Marsha been up to lately, you might be asking yourself?
Feeling intrepid? Sue leads the way. Even on holiday, that girl can’t rest!
Treat yourself to the sweet scent of rosemary and lavender. Becky had a wonderful Easter Sunday :
A blockbuster of a share next, from Denzil :
No Jude this week, but Victoria does a stirling job on the Cornish coast :
Let’s finish with a flourish (and an icecream) and go hunting Eastern Water Dragons and penguins, with Karen :
That’s it for another week. I think I’ll be back to sharing an English walk next Monday. My Jo’s Monday walk page will tell you how to join in. Please do!