Eager to do more, this morning we had breakfast and were up and out early to explore the coastline West of Tavira. After driving through a town of summer houses – neatly arranged, well pruned, and lived in only briefly, we parked up besides some marshes and a bridge towards the sea.
From the boardwalk you can take a little red and black diesel train to the sea – we wanted to see the scenery, the walk there and back interested us more than the sand and waves. On the sandy track alongside the rails we pushed Conway, his buggy fashioned with a muslin tied up as a makeshift sunscreen. From the path we saw waders and gulls foraging for lunch.
The marshes turn to dunes, and we found shade beneath the pine trees. The trains kept chugging by, ferrying people to the sea.
At the end of the path, where the rail tracks end and everyone disembarks, there’s a selection of restaurants and toilets; it was 11:30am so we opted for an early lunch at “Blue Beach Bar”, perhaps the worst of the options here (we realised only after, but maybe they’re all as good as each other, we had low expectations) – but the burger and tuna steak and the ginger mojito and passion fruit lemonade were all ok, and we’d avoided the midday rush of patrons.
Conway found more uncomfortable grass to crawl on. Of course we did go and see the beach – Conway had a few minutes investigating the sand, running his fingers through it, picking it up and watching the wind blow it away, trying to eat it, before he’d had enough. And Sam carried him down to the sea, leaving the buggy which would otherwise get stranded in the sand. But we didn’t stick around long.
In the early afternoon heat we walked back, trains still chugged on by, and when we reached the car we were ready for air conditioning. A large white stork waded through the marshes besides us.
After recuperating with a nap at the hotel we drove into Tavira for dinner. Most restaurants open at 7pm, but with a baby we needed earlier meals. In the triangle around Jardim da Alagoa we found No de gosto – we went there thinking it was a fish place, its blue and white decor suggests that, but they serve tapas. And they opened at 6:30pm, while all else is quiet. Perfect.
We took a table indoors, Conway had a highchair, and the proprietors brought baby books for him to examine. With very little else happening we had swift service, and fabulous food – even finding time for dessert: