At 905m (2969ft) Foia is the highest peak in the Serra de Monchique and indeed the Algarve. The views from the top are spectacular and Daize and I got to the top!!! On a bright January day it was a bit nippy up there but the end result was worth the effort and the number of calories expended – unfortunately it was too hazy in the distance to get decent photos of the view all the way to the sea in 3 directions – and anyway I hadn’t got the summit flag with me.
The trip started via the historic town of Silves. From it’s days as a Roman fortress to those as the Moorish capital and cultural heart of the area it oozes history. In fact the region’s name, the Algarve, comes from it’s Arabic name, Al-Gharb. In it’s heyday when its Governor was King Al-Mu’tamid of Seville, Silves was renowned for it’s beauty (and figs).
Come, Abu Bakr, greet my haunts in Silves and ask them
If, as I think, they still remember me.
Greet the Palace of the Verandas on behalf of a young prince
Who feels a perpetual longing for that palace.
Al-Mu’tamid (1040-1095) – Evocation of Silves (excerpt)
(The rest of it is more an evocation of his women than the town tho’ he does mention that the curves of the river there remind him of the shape of his women.)
When the Moors were ousted from the Algarve (1249) by the Christians they high tailed it back to Seville.
Leaving Silves Daisy and I headed once more through Monchique, this time in bright sunshine, and up the long and winding road (calories were used – gear changing and steering round all those bends!) to the radar station at the top of Foia. In the 15th century, the great days of Portuguese maritime explorations, Foia’s distinctive shape and green “skirt” was used by sailors as a navigation guide to the sheltered harbours of the Algarve. Along with all the communications and radar gear at the summit I found a cafe, a souvenir tat shop and an artisan craft shop where Bruno made me a pair of tiger’s eye earrings to match the pendant of his I spotted – £17 the lot.
Another successful day …
🙂 🙂 🙂