After breakfast we set off for Silves, a town that once was the capital of the Moorish occupation of this area. As a result it has a large castle which was besieged by the Christian armies retaking the area for Christendom. The castle still stands and is an interesting building, with a complete wall and several of the towers still standing. Much of the interior has fallen, due to weather, earthquakes and invaders. A cistern that once held 1,300,000 litres of water can still be observed, but now houses an exhibit about the Iberian Lynx. Very like the Canadian Couger. The cistern provided enough water for 1,200 people for a year, allowing the castle to be defended for long periods.
We drove towards this town on the freeway, which was busier than on our previous journeys. We drove uphill to the town and then uphill within the town and managed to find a parking spot beside the cathedral which is very close to the castle.
We walked up the remainder of the way, past shops and cafes and entered the castle past an enormous statue of King Alfonso. Once inside, Christine spent her time admiring the flowers and statues in the gardens and I climbed up to the wall and walked all the way round. There are good views in all directions from the walls, and some of the keeps have museums in them, though not very extensive collections of artefacts. Curiously, one had an exhibit about Jordan, which, apart from the Arab connection to the Moors, seemed unrelated to the rest of the building.
The interior of the castle houses a cafe and some attractively laid out gardens and brick walkways. We met up again and then I had a look round the gardens, while Christine spoke to a man from Halifax who was visiting with his family.
We left the castle and I went uphill to have a look at a quaint collection of streets above the castle and Christine descended to wait for me at the entrance to the Cathedral. The Cathedral is reckoned to be the oldest Christian Church in the Algarve, dating back to the thirteenth century when the town was retaken for the second time by Christian armies. It was built on the ruins of a mosque, of which there is now no trace. The Cathedral has an impressive high, arched ceiling, with stone ribs and sturdy columns. As we entered the sanctuary, I was impressed to see a couple sitting quietly, the man with head bowed, I assumed in prayer, until I realized he was actually examining the photos in his camera! So much for piety! We spent a while going round seeing the tombs and artefacts.
We came out right beside our car and drove down the narrow winding streets to a cemetery which Christine wanted to have a look at. She spent a short while there then we went along the road and parked near a supermarket and ate the sandwiches we had brought while we watched the supermarket customers return with their purchases.
We then headed off looking for the market. We parked the car and walked back through the narrow streets to a cafe where we had coffee. Our enquiries about the market revealed that it would now be closed and the directions were a bit vague. We were intent on finding a place where we could get a clear view of the castle. We were successful in this and then walked back along by the river. As we headed uphill towards the car, we think we found the market, but it did not appear to have the square in front that looked appealing in the guide book. One of the hallmarks of this area is the storks. They seem to be everywhere in Silves and Christine took many photos of them.
We got back to the car and headed out of town, back to the freeway and home.
We had dinner and spent time sorting out the photos, updating the journal and knitting.
Tomorrow will be a quiet day and we may revisit some of the nearby beaches after lunch. I have a board meeting to attend by video link later in the day, so we will need to be home for that.