by Taetske | 5:59 pm
(Last Updated On: July 27, 2018)

Fossil hunting in the south of Portugal

 

We recently got a chance to take a week off so we left Spain. As some friends were on holiday we took the car on a nice drive (~600 km) to the south of Portugal.  The drive was comfortably casual as the traffic was sparse.  Just before the border with Portugal, we stopped in a lovely small town (Lepe) known for its strawberry plantations and had a wonderful meal.  This was in the tapas style, small amounts of four different dishes.  One portion was an eggplant dish that was absolutely delicious.

 

Arrival in the south of Portugal

 

Beaches in the south of Portugal

Lovely Beaches

 

We arrived at our hotel in Albufeira later that afternoon.  We actually got lost several times but with the help of 4 or 5 different people, we did find the place.  Albufeira is an old community but has grown quite big due to tourism.  The hills go right down to the shore and a lot of the hotels are built a short distance from the beach.

 

Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island Pine

 

A few days later, we took a drive up into the mountains north of Albufeira to a town called Monchique.  The region is hilly with lots of cork trees.  As a reminder, cork trees do not die when part of their bark is removed but it takes 25 or so years to grow it back.  The photo to the right is a perfectly formed Araucaria heterophylla (common name “Norfolk Island Pine”.)

The old part of Albufeira is quaint with its narrow streets.  There are a lot of shops with local products such as items made of cork (handbags, wallets, photo frames, etc), and there we bought a hat and a nice belt.  One shop, in particular, was interesting because it had some wonderful stone and shell items.  Lamps made from crystals and some made from seashells.  Not the usual bulb in a shell but really artistically crafted items.  We stopped in at a small out of the way restaurant that had recently opened for the season.  They offered a very nice menu and again, the meal was delicious.

 

At the end of the world, Cabo San Vincente

 

Cabo San Vincente

Standing at the end of Portugal

 

We took a day trip to explore the most western part of the south of Portugal.  Going all the way to Cabo de San Vicente, it appeared that we were heading to the end of the world.  This video was taken from Cabo de San Vicente and shows the storm surge from Hercules (2014).  With what looks to be 40-meter cliffs, being there you can imagine what people must have felt when it was still believed the earth was flat.  You kind of fall off and then what?  The scenery is impressive with a lighthouse high on the cliffs and the waves breaking on the rocks.


 

Monolith

Monolith

 

 

On the way back, we passed what appeared to be an old monolith.  Who knows how old it is or if it is even remotely related to the monoliths of Stonehenge.

 

Adventure on the beach

 

Fossil Layers on the Beach

Fossil Layers

Me on the Beach

Hard Work

Fossil lying on the Beach

Wonderful Fossil

 

Before the trip, we investigated the possibility of fossil hunting and we found a beach with sediment that was part of the Miocene epoch (5 – 23 million years old).  This part of the coast is known for its small beaches and caves. There you will see the different layers of the rock with fossilized shells. I tried to hack some small part out but was not successful as the rocks were too hard. While walking on the beach I was so lucky to notice a strangely shaped stone, it turned out to be an intact fossil with hardly any rock attached, I just picked it up to take home.

 

Beautiful Handpainted Ceramic

 

hand painted ceramic

Hand-painted Ceramic

 

On the road back to Albufeira we stopped at an old house that was converted into a pottery shop.  The shop, Porches Pottery, has a wonderful garden along with a café where we saw a number of locals and tourists enjoying coffee and conversation.  This little shop was started by Patrick Swift and Lima de Freitas who were determined to prove that this craftsmanship was not a thing of the past.  Since they started the pottery shop over 45 years ago, they have continued to train more artists.

 

shopping for ceramic

shopping for ceramic

 

You can find out more about this world-famous shop at the following website: http://www.porchespottery.com/en/.

 

We present some of our photos for your pleasure.

 

lovely ceramic tiles

Some lovely ceramic tiles

 

On coming home to our Hotel Resort I washed the fossil with water and put it to dry on a small table on the balcony. In the hotel gardens live many cats probably all family of each other as they look very much alike. There is also a big flock of seagulls which have taken up residence close to the swimming pool. Often one can observe funny scenes like that one time where I saw a seagull with a stolen flip-flop which had been standing unattended to on a small terrasse. While the seagull was playing on the lawn a cat crept up from behind probably thinking it was something edible. Suddenly I heard a noise and went out to the terrasse, a seagull had tried to steal the fossil but as it was too heavy it dropped, luckily it did not break.

Finally, we had to go home.  Across the border, we stopped at a small town for coffee and said goodbye to Portugal.  This is the bridge which links Spain with Portugal

.

The bridge connecting Spain with Portugal

The bridge between Portugal and Spain

 

Source: My Life

Photo Source: Private Photos

 

Comments

Linda Frankson

wow I can picture your description in my head I love travel and seeing. I am going to forward this to my sister she has a travel site called Trip Trekee at TripTrekee.com in her blog section has beautiful places to go visit some day I would love to take a trip to places like Portugal. I Loved the south of Spain her culture and History. Specially La Alhambra

Apr 13.2017 | 01:34 am

    admin

    Hi Linda, Incase you do visit Portugal remember it is close to the south of Spain so we can meet, I would like that. Taetske

    Apr 13.2017 | 03:06 pm

Janet Kayzer

Hello Taetske, enjoyed reading your trip to Albuferia Portugal! If you would like to write a story and put it on triptrekee.com and link up to your blog here, I would look forward to hearing from you. Happy blogging for beautiful earthly treasures!

Apr 13.2017 | 03:31 am

    admin

    Good afternoon Janet, thank you for your comment. That trip to Portugal was indeed fun I must say. It is very kind of you to offer me this opportunity but you must help me and tell me about what I should write? To write about places one has to have visited them. Hope to hear from you.
    Regards, Taetske

    Apr 13.2017 | 03:00 pm

Steve Meyer

Awesome post, Taetske. We too love to explore different areas, especially when there is local food involved. And as I am an avid fossil collector, everywhere we go, I always have to pull over once in a while and look for fossils beside the road! My wife always laughs, she stays in the car visiting with whichever relative we happen to be visiting, or whichever couple we went on the trip with with while I scramble around on the rocks looking for long past life! Thanks for the great post!
Steve

Nov 12.2017 | 08:38 pm

    Taetske

    Good evening Steve,

    My Mother was also very good in finding special stones, I think I have inherited this ability from her. She also loved to stop somewhere along the road, step out and then would find 4 leaf clovers. When she died I got a box full with dried 4 leaf clovers. I also inherited her little collection of stones, there are some unusual pieces. On a trip, I have to eat the local food, one of the nice things when one travels.

    Thank you for reading my post, I hope you will visit again.

    Regards, Taetske

    Nov 12.2017 | 08:55 pm

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