My long search has finally come to an end in Silves. Curious? Read on!
COMING TO SILVES
After spending a very quiet and relaxed Christmas in the mountain village of Alte in Loule, Hans and I drove to Silves. On our way, we did a short stop over at Bartolome de Messines and visited the market that was incidentally ongoing. I bought here two bags made of Portuguese cork wood which the Alentejo region is famous of. They were really a bargain, and I just hope they are real and not the kind of stuff you see in Chinese stores! We had also our first taste of Portuguese doughnuts, the Filhos or Malasadas, which surprisingly , we both found delicious! Hhhmm, another recipe to try when I get back home.
It was about 13.30 when we arrived in Silves. We first drove to the parking area near the cemetery with view of the castle, but it was very full there. So we drove back to E 124 and found our way to a big parking near the municipal swimming pool and outside the Parque do Rio. Officially, overnight stay here is not allowed, and we just took the risk if we would be asked later to move on. Fortunately, there was no police on the door, so we stayed here for one night.
The city of Silves
CAMPSITE : Parking, Municipal Piscina
Coordinates : N : 37.18533 W : 8.44548
It is a spacious parking area, infront of the official camping area Parque do Rio. The old center is about 1 kilometer walk, passing by at the tourism office. Internet is possible via the Parque (silvesalgarve1).
SEARCH IS OVER
And now, the story. After having a quick light lunch, Hans and I went to the city center to have some explorations. We went from one souvenir shops to another, walking from one narrow cobbled streets to another, and passing by some historic monuments and churches.
To my great delight, I saw a basketful of door knockers in one of the shops we’ve entered! They were exactly the types I’ve been wanting to have! These are in the form of a lady’s hand, and made of iron. Of course, I’ve seen them also in some parts of Portugal, but here, they are a bargain, for only 7 euro apiece. Immediately, I bought 2 pieces, which I plan to put on the front door of our future house 🙂
My door knockers
We continued our exploration, until we passed by a small bookshop which also sells second hand books. And totally unexpectedly, I saw on display the book I’ve been looking for quite some time now! It is the last book of Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Trilogy, The Excalibur. An English man gave me the first two books last year when we were travelling in Spain, and I just fell in love with the stories that I wanted to read the last book! The trilogy is about the story of King Arthur, but then with lots of new and different twists. I was just too happy to find this, and bought it for only 1 euro! Now, I could finish the trilogy!
VISIT TO CASTLE AND MUNICIPAL MUSEUM
With my valuable items safely tucked in my bag, we walked up further uphill and visited the town castle. Silves, which was the capital of the Algarve region during the Moorish occupation, boasts of having the best-preserved castle in the region, a castle which dominantly stands on a hilltop and impressively noticeable due to its huge red-brick façade.
Classified as a national monument, the castle was first mentioned in the 10th century, has 10 towers and guarded by a life-sized steel statue of King Sancho I. Inside the castle grounds, we could see what’s only left from the castle – the ruins, the walls, cistern and the palatial houses, and the Gate of Betrayal. Hans and I walked along the ramparts and had nice views of the surroundings. We also saw lots of stork nests nestled at some of the impossible high places around Silves. Unimaginable, that storks were everywhere in the city!
Impressions of Silves castle
After our visit to the castle, we made our way to the Municipal Museum. It was built around the old cistern which was found inside the walls during one of the excavation works in 1980’s. It now houses a collection of artifacts that tell the history of Silves from prehistoric times up to 18th century.
The water cistern at Municipal Museum
Entry to both national sites is 3.90 euros pp. (combiticket).
Our customary picture together 🙂