When we travel, we usually stay at each destination for many days — often up to a month. It may surprise you to know that we don’t usually have much planned to do once we arrive. This may be backwards, but, once we get there, we’re inspired to know more. That’s when the reading and researching begins for possible places to go and things to do.
We’d been in Lagos, Portugal a few weeks, and we were still reading about places to go in the area when we came across Little Miss Traveler’s posts about Lagos on her blog, Love Travelling. She described her journey to the neighboring town, Alvor. What a great daytrip and what a brilliant plan! So, off we went a few days later. And that day was so good, we went back again the next week with our blogging friend, Anita, of No Particular Place to Go.
We took an early 20-minute bus ride from Lagos to Alvor, and a few minutes later we found ourselves at the fishermen’s dock.
The main attraction for us was the boardwalk and trail through an estuary near Alvor’s long, sandy beach. We planned our trip to arrive at low tide in hopes of seeing shore birds. Our best sighting that morning was a flock of Eurasian spoonbills.
We dropped down to the beach to get a better look at some birds wading in the shallow water which turned out to be common redshanks. As we walked across the sand, we saw a very small crab sitting in a hollowed-out footprint.
The boardwalk sliced through grass and marsh lands. Every few minutes we spotted birds. We even managed to identify most of them, with exotic names like Zitting Cisticola and Northern Wheatear.
We took a photo of an unidentified wildflower. Later we saw an interpretive sign identifying the flower as a yellow restharrow (Ononis natrix). What a stroke of luck! And it wasn’t till we looked at the photo on the computer screen that we noticed the little bug caught in the spider web (near the center right of the photo).
After a long stroll on the boardwalk, the path turned into a rough dirt road, then eventually into drifts of white sand. Our paces slowed as the sand became deeper and the path widened. When we looked up, there was the ocean.
For us, it had been a perfect day: warm with sunshine; a day near the water and nature; lots of birds to watch and photos to take; and a friend to share it with. We continued to follow Little Miss Traveler’s advice to the end with a late lunch in Alvor. We lift our glasses to you, Little Miss Traveler, for your inspired and timely trip post.
Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
Such an amazing day to spend with new friends learning about a magical place in my own backyard. (The Eurasian Spoonbills were a highlight for me too!) I agree that the planning is best when your ‘boots are on the ground’ and you have a feel for a place. That’s why slow travel really is the best way to explore the world. Lovely photos, Beth and Joe. and here’s to many more magical days! Anita
It’s great to see what others do and recommend and we’ve made several friends via blogging that way. We like to do an overall search for local information before we reach a destination and, when we get there, we head straight to the local Tourist Information to gather booklets and talk to the people there for more particular details.
In addition to the tourist information office, in Cascais, Portugal there was a handy booth with a sign saying “Ask Me.” Whenever we had a question, we made our way there for help or advice. What a wonderfully hospitable thing to do!
How thoughtful, and great to talk with a local.