This went on for a while. Finally the plan settled on Portugal, Spain, and Rome. But Rome looked kind of expensive, especially given the flight dates around Christmas. Fine. We'll just go to Portugal and Spain. It was all settled when we realized that we had already booked plane tickets to get to Rome and forgotten about them. Oops. (Don't laugh too hard, its easy to do when flying Ryanair.... so cheap) So we hastily figured out how to swim back to England from Rome.
After a very smooth and uneventful flight we landed in Faro, Portugal and found the shuttle. We soon found that we were taking the longest ride of anyone on the bus, and that the driver wasn't too pleased about it. "Have you ever been to Casais before?" he asked. "No" we replied. "You know its a long ride? At least 2 hours?" He asked this in a way that sounded as if he wasn't too terribly excited about the drive and was not-so-secretly hoping we would change our mind about our destination. I can hardly blame him, it was already 9pm by this time. Poor fellow probably didn't get home and into bed until 2am. After all the other passengers had been let off at their respective destinations the bus turned toward Casais ("Ka-sysh"). Pretty quickly all signs of civilization disappeared. Ascending windy roads, few lights, no signs of houses. We were truly headed to the middle of nowhere, which is exactly what we wanted.
Shortly thereafter, we arrived in what Anabela had described as sprawling metropolis. If I were to guess by appearance, there seemed to be about 1,500 residents (though Wikipedia claims it's larger). Since we were already in Monchique, we decided to find the grocery store with the goat cheese I had taken a fancy for. This was more difficult than I thought it would be. It seems that locals in Portugal are generally pretty bad at giving directions (we found this later in the trip too). After three tries and wandering in circles around the sleepy village, we found the store, secured some of the precious cheese and took a cheap cab ride home as we had already spent more than 5 hours of the day walking.
|On the way to Monchique|
Check back in a few days for Part Two -Spain!
|Lots of tile work in Portgaul|
|LOTS OF TILE!|
|Harvested cork waiting to be made into humble corkboards|