Olhão, on Portugal’s Algarve coast, is more than worth a visit if one ever gets a chance. We have stayed here these last few days. Up away from the harbor, it has some the most remarkable backstreets in its “old town”:
Yes, cars do often use these “roads.”
We went to the 5:30 Mass on Saturday evening at the church in the “old town”:
We make a point, when possible, to attend church while on holiday. The Mrs. and I recalled afterwards that over the years we have numerous times been to Mass in Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, and now, in Portugal. However, unlike in those other non-English speaking places (I am not including Ireland in that! LOL!), given our Portuguese is close to non-existent, here we understood virtually nothing that was not in Latin.
Sitting before Mass and awaiting the priest, my wife leaned over to me and noted, “Is this a women’s Mass?”
Indeed, I had noticed that too. The church was pretty full and most of those – we were sitting about mid-church – in front of us on both sides were women, both older as well as younger. The church would have been only about a third full if women were all absent. Aside from the priest and the deacon, there were two teenage altar girls (who had occasional distracting fits of the giggles), and the readers and all of the others involved in the service (such as those who handled the collection), including the entire choir, were women.
After Mass, as we walked to dinner, my wife also chuckled to me on how well groomed many also were: “It looks like the hairdressers were really busy today. I’ve never seen a more coiffed congregation.”
Inside, the church itself is stunning… and perhaps one might even say, a bit overdone. (Trip Advisor has interior photos. We had been inside earlier in the day – we had walked over to find it – but I did not take any photos inside.) Unlike in England and America, continental Roman Catholic churches, which have often stood for centuries, are often grandiose.
Many of the homes around the church were not exactly shabby either. Look at the tiling job on this one. It could be right out of ancient Roman Pompeii:
That’s the “old town.” All over the harbor area, you see where new buildings are going up. The entire area is obviously being “regenerated”:
We took a harbor tour on Sunday morning:
Watching that video I had taken, I thought the Hawaii Five-0 theme might have been appropriate background music. 😉
Much more calm, last night we had a real treat. The harbor tour guide had told us that on a local nature reserve, flamingos could be seen in the wild at high tide.
We got over there… and we saw them:
Have a good Monday, wherever you are in the world. 🙂