The drive up to Figueiro dos Vinhos - Saturday 16 March

Today (Saturday) I drove 450kM (280 miles) North to Figueiro dos Vinhos and the whether was quite pleasant for most of the journey.

It was a lovely drive up, leaving the Algarve coast; you are quickly into a modest mountain range, quite heavily wooded, mainly with Pine, Eucalyptus, and Acacia. Unfortunately I missed the acacia and almond trees in bloom by three or four weeks.

The mountains then give way to a huge area (perhaps 250kM) of fairly flat grassland dotted with trees, mainly Pine and Cork Oak with lots of cattle. It was very pretty and very green throughout the whole journey. I had set my sat-nav to avoid motorways, the roads were pretty well empty and it was easy to just pull up and park at the side of the road almost anywhere.

Eventually the flatlands give way to the bigger and more serious mountains of Central Portugal.

By the time I arrived in Figueiro dos Vinhos the whether had turned to very heavy rain and it was quite cold. Compared with the holiday resort of Alvor, Figueiro dos Vinhos was pretty dead but I managed to find a nice little hotel with Wifi and booked in for B&B for the next few days.

On the drive up, there were several places where the wild Lupins were in flower for as far as the eye could see, and they looked really pretty in the sunshine beneath the Cork Oaks. I stopped at one such place for my picnic lunch.


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