I’m sure that some of you will be delighted to know that this is a walk where you can cheat hugely. It’s definitely one to take the children along on, or maybe you have a husband who always wanted to be an engine driver?
Look what runs alongside the footpath- too tempting!
I can’t remember ever visiting the Eastern Algarve without a visit to Barril. Come along with me and I’ll try to show you why it’s such a favourite.
If the weather’s not too warm and you’re feeling fairly energetic, you can start in the nearby village of Santa Luzia and complete a circular walk. I’ll give you more details later. For now, we’ve tossed the coin and decided to do it the easy way, from Pedras d’el Rei. Your start point is beside the salt marshes and all you need to do is cross over the pontoon.
Looking back across the pontoon, to Pedras d’el Rei
There are distractions, of course. A box of ripe figs alongside the pontoon! I didn’t want to carry them with me on the outbound journey but I really hoped there might be a couple left on my return. One thing’s for certain- the sea broom will be your constant companion along the way.
The sea broom, flowering in delicate shades of lilac
Isn’t it pretty?
One of the big attractions for me is the variety of wild flowers you will find alongside the path.
Many of them, I don’t know the name of
This one has tiny red ants crawling all over it!
This one’s plain. It reminds me of broccoli!
The grasses and their seed heads fascinate me
Just bursting with life!
And then there’s this tiny, delicate flower
And the yellow guy again!
I know this will be a challenge for my friend Jude. She loves to identify flowers.
How about this one? An Aeonium?
And you know this is my absolute favourite! The Ice plant
Tiny crabs caper in the mud of the salt marshes. I stopped to watch two in a courtly dance, but I don’t have a photo for you. I’d left my ‘still ailing slightly’ camera back at the house, with the battery on charge, and I didn’t have the presence of mind to borrow Mick’s camera till we were part way there! (he didn’t offer till then, but he could see I was getting desperate)
I love the landscape
With the hump of Monchique always in the background
As you approach the beach the flowers I have been calling Livingstone daisies, but I now find are Ice plants, appear in the dunes. I featured a hot pink in my Six word Saturday, but in the Algarve they are more commonly lemon yellow.
Cacti and aloe vera begin to take over
And you’re onto the boardwalk, at Barril beach
A little detour to the anchors, of course! They always capture the imagination. A reminder of the days when the tuna fishing industry thrived in this area, the rusting “Cemetery of Anchors” provides a wonderful photo opportunity. I would love to be there are sunset.
I like the modern catamarans, beached beside the ancient anchors
And there are beach bars too , for refreshment
Here you have a choice. Remember I suggested a circular walk from Santa Luzia? If you turn left when you reach the beach, 20-30 minutes walk along it will bring you to a point opposite Santa Luzia, to which a ferry runs in Summer. Access is across a long boardwalk. My husband suggests that you should do this longer walk the other way around, starting with the ferry from Santa Luzia, to ensure that it is running. He is a very practical soul.
But you and me are going back the way we came. I still have those figs to collect, remember? We might even cheat and take that train. It’s a holiday, after all!
Who doesn’t love the age of steam?
The little train carries water, beer and anything else the ilha needs
Crossing back over the pontoon, I’m not very surprised to find the ‘fig man’ gone. But then I spot him, coming towards me, wheeling his bike with fresh supplies on the saddle. He sees me too, and stops, the bike propped against his leg. ‘Help me, please’, he says, in smiling English, and invites me to take a plastic bag from under his arm. In doing so, I catch the edge of his cardboard box and the figs start to tip! We both lunge for them and manage to stop all but one from crashing to the floor. Phew! They are 5 for 1 euro, and he pops an extra one into my bag. Thankfully all his customers are not as ‘helpful’ as me.
I haven’t even shown you the beach yet, but it’s a beauty. Barril is just a small area of Tavira Island, which starts at the mouth of the River Gilao and rolls westward. If you don’t have a car, a bus will take you from Tavira town centre to Santa Luzia, 15 minutes away, and continues on to Pedras d’el Rei, just a few minutes further west.
I guess I have to show you the beach!
Next week I think I might take you on the walk where I fell down a ‘hole’. Life’s seldom dull, is it?
I think I should maybe design a ‘rules’ page for the walks, too. Not that there are any rules really, but then I wouldn’t have to bore you with the details each time. Please spend a little while visiting these walks. They give me an enormous amount of pleasure and I’m very grateful.
Drake has us perilously climbing a French ruin :
You know Yvette loves art? Meet Modigliani! :
Alberta is staggeringly beautiful, until Sue almost comes nose to nose with a bear :
I got really excited when a newcomer to my blog took me on a walk beside the Seine :
And my plant expert, Jude, has excelled herself in the Lost gardens of Heligan :
Paris is popular this week! Isn’t it always? Christine’s is delectable! :
Happy walking, one and all!