Thursday, February 17, 2011


Well, despite the streak of poor winter weather plaguing the Spanish peninsula this past week, we have stayed relatively dry and in good spirits.  We have been in Portugal the past few days and it has been great.  The Portuguese are a great people and in general, much kinder, more understanding, and much more friendly than the Spanish.

Here are the last two legs of our trip:

Toledo to Lisbon:

Lisbon to Algarve:

On Tuesday, despite the grim forecast of rain and wind, the sun came out and we spent the day climbing beautiful sport (bolted) routes on the beach.  We were completely alone except for a couple of Germans who were staying at the "Campground" with us.  The European version of camping is a very good option for low budget travelers.  For 8.50Eur/person, we slept in a small bungaloo, had access to internet, phone, showers, washing machines, and a bar.  In addition we were about 300 meters from the beach.


Beach Climbing:

On Wednesday, the forecasting was more accurate and we were not able to do any climbing.  Instead, we made our way to the Palacio de Pena and the Moorish Castle, which were about 20 kilometers away in a small Medieval town called Sintra.  Both of these attractions were very interesting and it was a fine way to spend a rainy day.  After attaining our daily dose of European culture, we hit the road towards Algarve, Portugal.  Finally in Algarve, we made our way to the Orbital Campground, which had the standard set of amenities.  Given our budgets and the improving weather, actual tent camping was in order.  Similar to the last  place, this campground is less than 1 kilometer from the beach.

Pena Castle:

Today (Thursday), the weather was beautiful again and we made our way to a very scenic and quiet climbing area about 37 kilometers inland of Algarve.  We spent a bit of time looking around and did about 5 pitches of  high quality climbing.  After climbing we enjoyed cheap beer in the town's bar (town=bar).  Here we had a very interesting conversation with the owner, who spoke only Portuguese and a little Spanish.  He spoke his Portuguese slowly and with hand gestures so we could understand each other.  For those of you that don't know, Portuguese and Spanish are very similar and when spoken slowly, it's about as easily understood as Spanish.  The Bar owner said he thought that Portuguese was happier and more romantic.  Admittedly, I would tend to agree.  Tomorrow we will return to visit our new friend and do more climbing.  When the day's fun is complete, we will make the move to Seville to visit my friend from the USA, Josh.

I'm sorry about the lack of- and quality of the photo posts.  It's very hard to upload and view these HUGE photo files on such a small computer :(


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