on the edge of the (un)known world

Today, a boat ride out to one of the sandbar islands separating the open sea from the Ria Formosa — Ilha Deserta. There are mass of sea birds, both resident and migrating, and our guide alerted us to egrets, spoonbills, storks, curlews, turnstones, white-faced cormorants, plovers…The island itself is low, with long golden beaches (empty apart from the handful of others who made the trip) —

John on Ilha Deserta

We spent a few hours exploring and took a later boat back. The sun and wind were exhilarating and everywhere shells, the sound of birds, beautiful sea hollies, pelargoniums, the deep green leaves of Pancreatic maritimum, and the tiny huts used by Faro fishermen.

Yesterday we took the bus out to Estoi and the Roman ruins at Milreu. There’s no more haunting reminder of time’s swift passage than an elaborate villa, complete with wine presses and tanks, pools animated by mosaic fish 2000 years old,

Fish mosaic  at Milreu Tomorrow we’re leaving Faro to go along the Algarve to Lagos, then up to Evora. Everything is both ancient and new and I’m enjoying it all, cramming my notebook with names, dates, the grey-green of pines and the scent of flowering almonds. Oh, and the flavor of cold vinho verde..

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