Monday, November 2, 2015

October 30 Fishing Village, Salt Ponds and the Old Town of Faro

Arraial Ferreira Neto or Vila Gale Albacore
First thing in the morning we headed out for this site. it was a Tuna fishing Village originally that was only inhabited during fishing season. Once the tuna hanged their annual course and didn't come this way anymore the village was abandoned. Portugal made it a National Historic Site but in order to preserve it they have allowed a resort to renovate and renew the site. The resort allows people to visit; they have a small museum on the premises and all the fisherman's housing has been transformed into the hotel rooms.  When you walk through the area you are looking at the village as it was 75 years ag. The chapel is still there and the school is now the children's activity center. Except for the reception area everything is the same. the large anchors used to tie down the nets are still along the walls.

Salt Evaporation Ponds
Every day we had driven past large white piles along the roads and there seemed to be a lot of man made ponds beside the roadways as well. Today we went to get a closer look at the Salt Evaporation Ponds or Desalination ponds. Portugal gets quite a bit of its salt both for industrial use and for cooking and gourmet uses from desalination. The salt we saw is industrial grade. It reminded me of the salt piles we have for salting the roads in the winter. The salt water is pumped into the pond area and allowed to evaporate. The salt remains behind and is scooped up for use in industrial processes.

Back home for lunch. Delicious as always. After lunch we headed for the old town.

Old Town of Faro
The Old Town of Faro was established in 1269 and the main gateway is the Arco de Repouso or the Resting Arch which of course leads to Rua Do Repouso.
We followed the street past colourful tiles and beautiful ironwork balconies to the statue of Alfonso III and the town square. We turned to the side and saw Stork nests and storks on top of the church.
I love the decorative street lights as well. Even the doors are inlaid with metal work and lovely door knockers. We wandered past parks and a marina and the local firehall and found the New Gate which is only 400 years old. The flowers are all still in bloom.
We headed for the Faro Cathedral. This church was originally built in 1251 but redesigned when it became the seat of the diocese of the Algarve in 1577. At that time they modernized it and added the medieval elements including the bell tower and the two cross chapels.  We went up in the tower and saw the bells - some are still working but others have no clappers.
There is a marvelous view of the town and the sea from all sides of the tower. The chimney pot on the roof is quite ornate.
I took some pictures of the altars and the organ and outside there are two chapels. One is devoted to St. Michel and the other is a Bone chapel.
This probably sounds weird but the chapel is full of bones and skulls, probably of unidentified bodies that were buried in the area between 1269 and the 1577 date of reconstruction. At the back of the cathedral is a beautiful wall with Gargoyles at the top. I love gargoyles. As we walked back to the car we saw an outdoor public gym, so I had to take two pictures of that.

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