We enjoyed a lovely lunch today with a group of American expats; each one, I could tell, had an interesting back story, and I hope my wife and I will meet them again and get to know them all as friends.
All in all, a delightfully unusual, slightly quirky (which is invariably a good thing) group of people, like the out of place yet completely at home characters one might meet in a Lawrence Osborne novel, except they are real and much more enjoyable to know!
Meanwhile I am too tired and it is too late to write all my notes but we ended our first evening in Tavira having dinner at the Cantino de Emigrante, where I think I had a sort of squid/ octopus rice soup dish. It was delicious!
My wife has the traditional chicken Piri Piri and we drank amazing tasting aqua das pedras, which is the best sparkling mineral water I have ever tasted.
We walked by the main square and bought some beautiful handmade ceramics from a German artist, and then we walked along the river back to the house.
The English pub was very loud around 10PM and I don’t think I would enjoy going there any time soon, nor would I live anywhere near where the drunken Brit louts like to congregate.
I will keep that in mind as I look for a place to live. The German ceramic artist told us it is bad in Summer when Tavira is packed and hot, and when many of the wrong sort of people come to town, much to the dismay of the locals, except maybe for that young guy who goes around asking for change — the only beggar hustler I saw in Tavira today, and apparently the only one.
But one can easily see the Eastern Algarve is still largely unspoiled though the price of housing has doubled in the last year.
January, it turns out, is cold and rainy (60s during the day) but now is the perfect time to come and walk around a beautiful town that tourists have not yet destroyed. It is amazing how empty the back hills are, just minutes away: in California, this would all be developed, and it is equally as beautiful here, if not more so.
The soul hungers for beauty, particularly when all we seem to see nowadays is endless ugliness.
It is a rare find to be able to transport oneself to another time; not quite the era when the colored sardine fishing boats were docked along the harbor in Faro, and life was simple and good, but still a time here in Tavira where there is a deep sense of what came here before: the shadow of the Moors is everywhere here, even in the language you hear and the names of the places….
As we walked back, a three-quarter white moon hovered above us, along with Venus rising, and I realized that a thousand years ago, …
… Moors saw the same moon, and the same planets, and built the same bridge that I had crossed with my wife, past a man playing the violin, as we returned to our apartment on a hill that overlooks this lovely, still dowdy around the edges but wonderful little town.
And knowing that is something that I like very much indeed.