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October 1, 2016

Undeterred by what every person I asked in the town of Tavira (men in the tourism office and bus station, two reception staffers at my hostel) told me about it being “a LONG walk—two kilometers!” to get there, I hopped on a bus (15 minutes) and then walked the rest of the way (Less than 15 minutes—.66 miles according to my fitness tracker. Seriously, have any of them ever even tried this? Or walking a little more than 20 minutes, which is about what it should take to walk TWO WHOLE KILOMETERS?) to the lovely whitewashed village of Cacela Velha in Portugal’s southern Algarve region.

So, while I know I owe you any number of blog posts, at least there was a payoff to this little excursion—for both you and me. Not a bad way to spent the first part of my last full day in Portugal.

Word to the wise: When, after stepping on this flower/fruit thing to try to figure out what it might be and being somewhat shocked by the blood-colored liquid that comes spurting out, you see what looks like a less-ripe version of it growing on a cactus plant on the other side of the road, don’t give in to temptation and reach out to touch it. Not only will you be pulling prickly spines out of your hands and clothing for several painful minutes, but you will continue to do so many hours later on parts of your body you feel certain came nowhere near said cactus. Ouch.


One of the lovely little houses of the tiny village of Cacela Velho.

One of the lovely houses in the tiny village of Cacela Velha (so tiny that I believe I saw them all).


So many lovely houses . . .


Oh, did I mention there was a beach, too? Right at the edge of the village?

The beautiful, deserted beach at Cacela Velha in the Algarve region of Portugal.

Getting better at using the panorama function on my camera . . .

Cacela Velha also has an old fort . . .

Cacela Velha also has an old fort . . .


. . . and an old church at which I stumbled upon a wedding.


I also stumbled upon this amazing cemetery that reminded me of so many I’d seen in Central America.



I guess I'm calling this afternoon of the blue doorways.

I guess I’m calling this “Afternoon of the Blue Doorways.”

The end.

View from the rooftop of my hostel in Leiria, Portugal: Castelo de Leiria by night

View from the rooftop of my hostel in Leiria, Portugal: Castelo de Leiria by night

I arrived at my hostel in the town of Leiria at 11:15 on a Friday night to find that the ground floor doubles as a clearly popular bar. “Reception” and the bar are one and the same, which left me competing with some drink-ordering young folk—not to mention waiting for two gin and tonics to be made—in order to check in. Once that was done and he’d shown me around (including the amazing rooftop view above), the bartender/hostel guy (who looks like he is straight outta Williamsburg, by the by—skinny jeans and all) showed me to my room and handed me my key. And a pair of earplugs.

Hey,  you can’t say they didn’t warn you, right?

September 22, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I think the people who work at this shoe store are a bunch of pendants.


Yes, that's a Pringles vending machine. Now you know.

Yes, that is a Pringles vending machine. Now you know.