Exploring Tavira

We explored the city today. We started across the river on the south side walking over the Roman Bridge. Still part of the old city with its cobbled streets and white washed buildings and colourful tiles. Narrow alleyways with shops selling postcards and brightly coloured ceramic roosters. We walked past cafes offering Indian, Thai and Portuguese dishes.

Today we have no set route, no map to guide us, today we wander, turning right or left or not at all. I am drawn by tiles and interesting doors or flowers growing out of cracks in stone walls hundreds of years old, and tend to photograph many of them. This is what influences our route.

We find ourselves on a square, with a white washed church overlooking the river and south bank. With midday sun, the view glitters off the white wash buildings and red clay rooftops. We spend a few moments identifying landmarks we know: the Church of Santa Maria, camera obscura, the bus station, the Irish pub we like, the saltpans, and the location of our apartment before gazing through the neighbourhood below and up the river.

The Museum (in the former church) was closed for lunch.
Looking south from the square, the Church of Santa Maria dominates the hill.

A set of stairs off the southwest corner of the square led to the neighbourhood below and the river. We headed down and discovered a lovely riverside park space and pathway. At this point in the river, there still seems to be a tidal influence. We watch a cormorant repeatedly dive and fish for his lunch. Other, smaller birds in the bushes along the pathway also catch our attention as they hop between branches. We followed the pathway upriver, under tall train viaducts that remind me of home. The pathway ends at a dirt parking lot where several caravans (small RVs) are parked.

Riverside park and walking path

We retrace our steps and head back over the Roman Bridge. The Roman Bridge dates back to when the Moors came, according to our Rick Steve’s guidebook. There is a plaque on the bridge that commemorates a battle on the bridge from 1383, yes, 1383! The bridge we see today was apparently built in 1657 and turned into a pedestrian only bridge after a flood in 1989 (now that is a date I can relate to!) resulted in parts of the bridge needing to be rebuilt.

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