Portugal

Évora is straight north from Faro, which is on the southern coast.

Last year we were fortunate to experience the intensity that is Semana Santa in Granada. And since once is enough, this year we made plans instead to spend the week between Palm Sunday and Easter in Portugal.

As soon as we crossed the River Guadiana, which forms the border between southern Spain and southern Portugal, we knew we were in a different country. The topography and fauna were suddenly different. The roads weren’t quite as good. Our first stop, Faro, had an architectural style different from anything we’ve seen in Spain, and it looked faded and run-down in a way that we’d been told to expect nearly everywhere. Although written Portuguese often looks something like Spanish, it is of course a totally different language. Portugal seems slower and quieter than Spain. There’s less lasting influence of the Muslims whose rule extended across the Iberian peninsula 1,000 years ago. And I saw many more racially mixed people than I’ve seen in Andalucía (Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, and Guinea-Bissau were Portuguese colonies in Africa, and then there’s Brazil).

We spent three nights in Faro, in the Algarve region, and three nights near Évora, in the Alentejo region. Although I congratulate myself for living in the moment, I wish that during this week I’d stopped more to take pictures.

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