My original plans for the day were to go to Silves for a couple hours to take a look at the old Moorish Castle before catching a train to Tunes where I would transfer to one going to Évora. However I didn’t have a time table available when I made these plans (and thank god I actually didn’t have Internet yesterday and made reservations. When I finally got to look at the train schedule going to Évora, I found I would need to transfer 3 times, and the first one even leaving that direction was at 4pm from Tunes. It also looked as if the schedules were incompatible, and I might not be able to make it there in a single day. As it turns out it would be quicker to actually go up to Lisbon via the Alfa Pendula high speed train, then change to another Alfa down to Évora… I decided that perhaps making a day trip out of it while based in Lisbon would be a good idea instead. So in Lagos I reserved a seat on the 3pm Alfa from Tunes to Lisbon. I then caught the train out of Lisbon bound for Silves, which is on the way.
On the train I met 4 Brits on vacation, who were more than happy for a little conversation, which helped to pass the time as our train which had been sitting at the station for over an hour was still 10 minutes late leaving. The Portuguese don’t seem all to stressed about schedules, which I don’t mind horribly since I’m on vacation, but I can imagine it being an issue for those going to work. After a few stops I got off at Silves asking the man at the ticket booth the way to the castle, he told me to go a block up then make a left and continue until I saw it. As it turns out, the Silves station is a good 20 minute brisk hike up and down a hill, and the a castle sits upon another local steep hill in the center of town. The town itself is really quite nice. All of the houses and buildings are well maintained, and the quaint, narrow streets have a very old-world feel. There were a number of little cafes lining the alleyways up to the top. There were a number of tourists of course, but all in all its a lot more low key than Lagos, and much nicer than Faro. Also on my walk I got to see some of suburban Algarve, which was nice. The weather again was tremendous today, sunny skies, warm weather, though a bit on the hot side for such hiking.
Half way up the hill and winded from carrying a good 30lbs of weight (yes I weighed it all before I left) on my back for a good 9 miles or so already today, I took a break at a cafe next to the library. A sign caught my eye, free internet. I pulled out my laptop to check my mail, post the updated index file and thumbnails from the previous day, but the connection was really slow, in the 8-3kbps range, so I couldn’t upload the low or high res images from yesterday. I guess that qualifies as technical difficulties.
I then continued on to the castle, though the hill was even steeper, I wish I had someplace safe to leave my baggage, but thats life. Entry was 1.25 euro, which wasn’t expensive, not going to break the bank, but the castle itself, though impressive from outside, was a bit of a disappointment from the inside. The walls were open to tourists walking, and and provided an excellent view of the picturesque town of Silves, but the interior was a mix of archaeological digging, and EU funded building. After a quick tour of the outer walls, I headed back into town. Realizing I had spent about all of the euros that great aunt Anne gave me for graduation/bday, I looked around for an ATM, and luckily found one fairly easily. Then went on my way. On my way out I bought a bottle of Aquarius, the flavored water drink I loved so much in Japan, apparently Coca Cola sells it over here as well, though with an appropriate orange coloring, and a different label. On my way out to the highway to hike back to the rail station I walked through a nice little farmer’s market. Nothing looked particularly enticing so I went on my way. Another 20 minutes or so found me back at the train station, tired and very sore. I think I might have hurt one of my deltoid muscles…I can barely life my right arm.
At Tunes however I met a nice couple from Seattle headed to Évora, and they had figured out a schedule of trains that got there in time, so once I saw they would be arriving in Évora as quickly as I would arrive in Lisbon thanks to their train leaving before mine, I decided that perhaps going to Évora was not such a bad idea, it would save me a trip from Lisbon. I ditched my reservation on the Alfa and bought a reservation on the IC(intercity, nicer trains like Limited Express trains in Japan) for 4 euro. I’m glad these reservation costs are so low, but I really do wish that it was covered by my Eurial pass… Talk about changeability in my plans though haha!
Once in Évora I took some time to find the place I had picked out, a small Residencial, which is some what like a b&b but cheap, like one step above a hostel, but not by much. They offer private rooms, and often times private baths. The price was low, and I felt I should save money now, because I know places like Venice will cost a lot. Again there is no internet, I tried to find the internet cafe but gave up, I’m tired, and I’ll hopefully have internet tomorrow… atleast thats the plan.
Dinner for the day was the plate of the day, a local style food of pork and clams simmered together served with a topping of french fries.