*) Ooievaar is Dutch for stork.
After our second haul-out on the hard we moved back to a mooring buoy (not the previous one!) near Faro. The weather wasn't great, but at least it was starting to warm up again a bit. Except for in the Netherlands, we haven't had a winter in which we stayed below decks so often, because it was either too chilly or too much wind or both. The shore was just a bit too far for a quick dinghy trip and often we came back half soaked with spray from wind against tide. Fortunately it wasn't a very rainy winter. After one real heavy downpour, I took out the plug of the dinghy, which we had hoisted alongside – and just stood there watching all the water run away until I realised...... ah stupid!: litres and litres of fresh laundry water, just spilling into the sea. Been shorebased for too long I guess.
Faro being a province capital, we assumed it would be easy to take a bus from here inland for some sightseeing or walking, but that was a bit optimistic. For finding your way on the bus company's internet site you need some special skills: I did find when buses run from Faro to Estoy, where we wanted to visit some ruins, but there was no mention of buses going back. You just have to know which is the town the bus starts from to go to Faro, so that's a lot of guessing and then you have to guess at what time it might pass Estoy. At the bus station there are no timetables on display, but the lady at the ticket counter was quite friendly and wrote the times down for us – making us wonder how often they have to do this, or how often people just don't bother taking a bus. Anyway, we got to Estoy, spent some time there visiting the ruins of Milreu, a Roman estate, then spent more time waiting for the bus back, because the friendly lady must have got something wrong and so we had another experience of Portuguese public transport. Milreu wasn't very spectacular, but there were some nice mosaics.
The train service is a lot better organized, cheaper and more comfortable, though not very frequent. We visited the town of Silves, where we had a pleasant time wondering around the castle and a relaxed train trip there and back.
One day my watch stopped, which was very annoying when you need to catch a bus or train and have to take out the telephone to know what time it is. Instead of buying a new battery for € 3 I thought I'd splash out on a € 5 watch from the Chinese hypermarket. A little while later I saw how the watch hands just jumped about when I moved my arm! So back to the shop where they wouldn't refund the money and I had to choose another one – after first giving it a couple of good shakes. This will teach me not to buy from Chinese shops again. (Where did I hear this before?)
We missed the flowers and the walks of the Guadiana in spring time, but Faro started to look quite pleasant with the jacarandas and oleanders brightening things up and the “curry” bushes with their aromatic smell in full bloom.
Faro city is not really attractive, except for the old town, but there being no shops, one doesn't go there in the normal course of the day. But a few nice details can be spotted between the many derelict buildings and high rise apartment blocks.
Then there were the storks:
We enjoy bird watching (we saw a sea eagle!) and with Faro airport only 5 km away we became real plane spotters. Like little boys who know car brands from their engine sound, we started to recognise the plane companies; Monarch is the noisiest.