Olhão – Bom Sucesso

So, I spent about a week in the south of Portugal, in the Algarve region. I was invited by friends who live part of the year in the little town of Olhão. Yes, it was a “bom sucesso” – I will come back to the “Bom Sucesso” matter!

If you arrive by air, you will land at Faro. The sea, the lagoon, in front of Faro and Olhão is referred to as Rio Formosa. The coastline west of Faro is to a large part occupied by golf courses, splendid villas with swimming pools… but if you go east, towards the Spanish border, you will still find a number of more authentic and charming towns and villages. Olhão is one of them. The town has always been linked to fishing and related industries.

Today along the seafront you can walk along a nicely arranged park-like promenade. 

This is also where you can find a number of "azulejo"-decorated illustrations of the town history, more particularly referring to the local revolt against the Napoleonic occupants in 1808, which led to the liberation of the Algarve region. “Bom Sucesso” refers to a “caique” which left for Brazil to inform the Portuguese King who had taken refuge there about the successful uprising. What we see here (and also as top picture) is a copy of this little ship, "caique".

This is furthermore where you can find two identical market buildings (by Gustave Eiffel!!), one for fish and seafood, one for fruits and vegetables.

Especially on a Saturday, even if the high season is over, the market and its surroundings, including the cafés and restaurants, are crowded.

The centre of the town has conserved its original charm, with beautifully decorated facades, often covered with "azulejos".

Most of these buildings have a number of terraces, the same house often with several on different levels.

Some buildings are in need of restoration - there is a lot of activity ongoing.   

Typical for the town and the region are the cobble-stones, the “knocking hands”, the "azulejo" street names … 

A quick look on the “Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora do Rosário”.

I will come back to the lagoon and the small islands, but here are some photos to remind us of the nearby sea, the birds…

The Christmas season decorations were just ready.   


French Girl in Seattle said...

This is a very thorough - and appealing - description of Olhão, Peter! You give us a lot to look at, from this quaint town's colorful architecture and local life, to the coastline, and the local fauna. I was particularly happy to see the covered market buildings by talented engineer Gustave Eiffel. Even if Eiffel ended up being outshone by his famous {Parisian} Tower, (as he predicted) he also erected so many great buildings (and then-revolutionary bridges) not only in France, but in Europe, including in Portugal indeed, and in other countries as well. Unfortunately, few people seem to be aware of this. Merci de la visite. I doubt I will ever make it this far south in Portugal, and I enjoyed traveling there vicariously. -- Veronique

Linda said...

Such a wonderful post, Peter, and your photos are really beautiful! :)

Anonymous said...

I like everything that has to do with the Lusitanian culture, starting with its language!
My sister and I have a Portuguese friend in Paris, her name is Isabel. She always laughs when she hears our Portuguese "com sotaque brasileiro."
Some time ago, I read that Marshal Junot had precise orders from Napoleon to capture Portugal's Royal Library, at that time the most prestigious in Europe. But, before sailing for Brazil, the future King gave orders to take on board every single book from it.
When it was time to go back to Portugal, the King had misgivings. He had learned to enjoy his life in Rio de Janeiro, but, not so his wife! When Her Majesty was boarding, she took of her shoes and started to shake them and saying that "not one grain of sand from this &@%# place shall I carry back to Portugal."

Thank you so much for leading us to this absolutely beautiful place, with your fantastic photos and narrative.