We flew to Portugal for the holidaze. For one week we rented bikes and toured the Algarve. For the second week we rented a car and zipped around southern Spain. So lots of time exploring old medieval streets where surprisingly, we found the feeling of nature?

My sunsets on the Algarve coast suffered from lens flares, contrast issues, and poor shooting locations. But I don’t care. I DON’T CARE!

Sunsets are stupid.

The nature center at Rio Formosa Natural Park had schlocky displays of 2D paintings, propped in glass cabinets, masquerading as dioramas. These were some of the saddest attempts at fake nature that I have ever seen. Still, according to a sign, the reserve was doing good things. Maybe saving a seahorse? And protecting the habitat of a wild purple chicken? I couldn’t quite understand the Portuguese. They also had a pretty neat exhibit on fishing boats, if you are into that.

Maybe I can be one of those photographers who shoot old world windows. I may even get lucky and capture an old world person peeking from one of these old world windows. They will be wearing old world clothes: tunics and scarves and homespun whatevers. And they will have wizened old faces with wrinkles and old worldy eyes. And their mouths will have old world frowns. And their minds, old world thoughts. And their voices, mute. Thus, the old world will push its way into our world and into us, new worlders, who will quickly lose our minds. We’ll forget how to think and speak. Our concept of the world will grow smaller and smaller until it contains only old world notions, old world feelings, and old world wordlings. Our days will be filled with old world nothings and smoller mooch older thengs and weary old droodlings with wordily olde wortlings and lord wodden durdels oft witlings and odell woodlender lordorfenells.

Water is a big issue in Portugal and Spain, similar to the Southwest of the US.

  • There’s been a continual drought. All the rivers seemed low.
  • We biked through huge agricultural expanses, especially orange groves, sucking the aquifers dry. There was also almonds, olives, and avocados groves.
  • The southern coast is full of resorts and golf courses. And it’s biggering. High-rises were going up everywhere.
  • Most restaurants insist that you buy bottled water and refuse to offer tap. We got a ten-minute lecture from a restaurateur in Lagos when we tried to bring in our own water bottles (people often carry around their own water bottles in Arizona). He explained that there is a government-sanctioned clean-water certificate mafia that makes restaurants pay for water stations. If they don’t sell bottled water, they can’t pay for these stations.
  • Even though Portugal has boasted that their water infrastructure had been upgraded and tap water is safe, If you ask for it at a restaurant, the staff will not only refuse, but they’ll think you’ve gone mad. We got all kinds of reasons not to drink tap water. It smells, it’s unclean, it has too much limestone. We did occasionally drink it, and the chlorine was obvious, but we had no problems.