First stop, Setubal. A stroll around town took us past a ton of palm trees and not much else. So we jumped back in the car and drove all the way to a town called Faro, in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. We had sampled wine from this area before and loved it, so we were looking forward to trying more. We chose Faro because it was a fairly large town and supposedly on the beach. It was not on the beach. There was a beach several kilometres out of town but from where we were, all we could see was a half empty inlet that did not look enticing at all. Faro had an old town section that we explored a little but it was average. The highlight was the pedestrian zone, a series of car-free streets lined with cafes and expensive shops. Our biggest purchase was one peanut-flavoured and one fig-flavoured ice cream. We did let loose later on and spent on whole €8 on a bottle of red wine.
We decided to drive on to Tavira, about half an hour down the road, in the hopes of finding a beach. Still no luck. There was a jetty, where we could catch a boat to a small island to see a beach but we decided it wasn't worth it so late in the day. We bought some ingredients for dinner and found a bottle of white wine for 79 cents. After drinking it we agreed that it was probably only worth 79 cents. Dinner was veggies on toast, which sounds boring but the way Danny cooks veggies made it a surprisingly tasty meal.
Tavira was a beautiful town and I wish we spent more time there. Most of the buildings were white, which was blinding in the sun, but the whole town was neat and clean. The small main square looked stunning, with a huge river running right through the middle. We walked up to the ruins of a castle on a small hill, which contained peaceful gardens and stone walls that we could walk along the top of. From here we were granted never-ending views across the whole town and out to the water. Definitely the highlight of southern Portugal for us.
There are two road signs that are driving me crazy in Europe:
1. We never know the speed limit on main roads. There are signs when we cross the border into countries to inform us of the speed limits on different types of roads, but after a few border crossings we have forgotten what these are for the country we are currently in. Plus we don't know what sort of road is which. When we are driving on a main road there are often signs telling us to slow down to 70 kph as we hit a populated town, but at the end of the town there is another sign that says we can stop going 70 kph. Then what can we go? Surely it is easier to say what the speed limit is, rather than what it is not.
2. Overtaking signs. They have broken and unbroken lines on the road (like in Australia) letting us know when we can overtake and when we can't. Plus there are are arrows painted on the road telling us to get back in our own lane because overtaking has finishing. As a third measure there are road signs. When we can't overtake, the sign says "stop overtaking" in picture format. When we can overtake again, the picture communicates "stop stop overtaking". Why the double negative? Why not just have a picture that says overtaking is allowed? Crazy Europeans.