BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Monday, 25 March 2013

We finally found Parque Natural da Ria Formosa in Faro, Portugal.

Thursday 21/3/13

We finally found the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, the National park we tried to find the day we got here. We got directions from Catarina and off we went.

We initially went to the north end of the park and through some pretty swish areas full of very large houses. The Conrad Hotel looked pretty impressive as well. After a quick ride along the foreshore we rode south through Olhao and to the main area that the public visit.

The park is pretty spectacular and is home to many species of migrating birds. It also has a lot of other native animals and lots of windflowers that were easy to spot during our visit.

There is one thing we wanted to see, but couldn't find. A chameleon. Who would think they would be hard to find.

So here we go, photo time. Be warned, we had two cameras on the go, so there are lots of photos.


Worm hunting on the mud flats.

Going fishing.

"I think I've got one."

Bird on a mission. This bloke was running flat out down the beach. I have no idea where he had to be.

Heavy footed bird.

We came across a little pond where some swallows were feeding on the insects that were there. These guys were dipping and diving and going every which way but straight. Suzanne laughed at me trying to take photos of them. Well guess who had the last laugh?

Their blue feathers flashed metallic highlights as they chased the insects.

"Oh look. it's me."

"Is that guy from National Geographic?"

These guys are so small, and so fast,
they were very hard to catch on camera.

I cheated with this one. I couldn't catch them in a tree,
or in the air.


This is what it's all about. 7,000 tons of shellfish per year!

Collecting shellfish, the hard way.

These guys scratch around in the top few inches of mud and take home a bucket full of shellfish.

Yup, lots of shellfish here.

Water mill.

The water mill depends on the tide to provide power for the mill. The tide comes in and fills the estuary, as the tide goes out the miller adjusts the sluice gates to regulate the speed of the grinding wheels. It's all pretty simple, and pretty cool.  

The mill.

One of the grinding wheels.

Inside the mill.

Lots of these guys, but not big enough for West Aussies.


The environment must be pretty healthy because there are a lot of these Princes in waiting around.


And lots of these.

The park is a cool place to visit. If you're in the area it's well worth dropping in. 

Learn more about the park at:

On the way home we stopped off at the department store again and bought a kettle for the club. We also grabbed a couple of toys for Farense as well. We have to keep the boy happy don't we?

Guess who was waiting for us when we got back? Farense of course. He seemed to like his new toys.

Do you like Farense's chair?

We had dinner at the club and once again were served a huge bowl of food, accompanied by chips, bread, and salad. There is no way we could eat all of it, but it worked out OK because we had leftovers for breakfast.

During dinner we found out that there is a fundraiser being held here on Saturday night and there is a band called Iris playing . They are a Portuguese band that were apparently big in the eighties. It should be a fun night I think.

Speaking of bands, Moto Clube Faro organises the biggest motorcycle get together in Europe. It happens in July every year and this year will be the thirty third year it's been on. We'd love to be able to stretch our holiday out and be here for it this year, but it's just not possible. When I say get together, imagine around 40,000 (they had 50,000 at the thirtieth anniversary event) motorcyclists partying for four days in perfect weather. 

Obviously with that many people rolling up you have to provide entertainment. Have a look at some of the bands that have performed here in the past:

  • Alan Parsons
  • Deep Purple
  • Joe Cocker
  • Gary Moore
  • Billy Idol
  • Iron Maiden
The club has strong ties with Iron Maiden. Steve Harris was very good mates with a club member, Manu. Unfortunately Manu lost his fight with cancer a few years ago, and it's very obvious he's sadly missed around here. Iron Maiden played the gig here for Manu.

It's not unusual for Steve Harris to drop in for a beer every now at then and he played a gig with his other band British Lions here a few weeks ago. (I'll keep my eyes open Jo and Nick, and if I see him I will get the necessary autographs, don't worry.) 

There's a fair bit of Iron Maiden memorabilia around.

It was a big day. We'd walked a long way around the park and it was hard work. Our poor old bodies were happy to sink into the mattresses and have a rest. I wonder how sore we'll be in the morning?

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