‘What I love about being here in Portugal is the preservation of the past, which allows us to connect the past to today, and it will allow future generations to experience the beauty and engineering expertise of generations that lived long before them. In Faro, I was astonished to see the juxtaposition of modern and ancient. It is why travel is so important for me as an American, for we tear down buildings from even the twentieth century to make room for a parking garage. Below, see where ancient walls are preserved, with cars parked incongruously beside them. Now that is the way to go!
The lovely arch below that is the beginning of the Old Town led uphill, and I will tell you that these old legs did not want to make the climb, but my desire to see everything that Faro had to offer overruled them. I was breathing hard and my heart was beating at quite a rate when we finally reached the section with all of the older sights, but I was so deliriously happy. A little cardio-vascular exercise was good for the body, and the beauty of the buildings around me was good for my soul! This is why we travel!
A sight that brought a smile to my lips was the storks nesting in top of the arch (see below). There must have been three or four nests, with the parents keeping the little ones secure from all the funny two-legged animals with those shiny things in their hands (cell phones) bent on taking pictures of their nests and nestlings. Nearly everyone around me was clicking away at the same image. We were amazed at the ability of the birds to cohabitate with humans in such a natural way. But, this would normally be their territory, after all.
Another great aspect of this city is that while there is graffiti on many modern spaces, just like in America, there is practically none on the ancient buildings. The effort to preserve the beauty of the old buildings was just wonderful, and I was glad that people here can appreciate that, while graffiti has a place in society, it is not in defacing ancient places that still bring joy to the spirit of visitors from all around the world. Below see the difference for yourself and join me in cheering for preservation! The old guy in the first picture is somewhat well preserved as well (smile).
While we have been here, the people of Portugal and Spain celebrated their version of Independence Day, and I was overjoyed to see that children are included in the celebrations. It is important that everyone, including the youngest members of society, know history, especially the price of and suffering from injustice and oppression, so that history does not get repeated, something we have forgotten in my country. Below you can see the drawings regarding the date by young and older children, which speaks to the ability of children to understand much more than we think they can.
The views of the water added to the relaxing feel of the day. Douglas carrying my purse for me meant that I could enjoy the trip without further injuring my shoulder. The city was clean and everyone was respectful of the tourists, even stopping for us to cross streets where there were no crosswalks. Seeing people of all races an ethnicities co-existing together, often smiling as we enjoyed the same things, was like a glimpse at heaven, for me.
Lastly, Douglas made a new friend (Remember I said Douglas never meets a stranger). We were pretty tired by the time we left to return to Quateria, which is less than a twenty-minutes drive. I am glad for sun-filled and warm days that allow us to visit and enjoy the culture of another country. While I look forward to going home, I will cherish these moments of walking in places where the past is still visible.
Yesterday, I looked at the religious aspects that are preserved, through pictures, and today I wanted to look at the other aspects of the culture. To look at pictures that are hundreds of years old and touch buildings and artifacts that are thousands of years old instill in me a sense of connection to the past and the people who lived so long ago, reminding me that life is precious and how we live today will impact the people of the future. So, let’s live well and responsibly, preserving the past and teaching the correct history, so that future generations can be as awed by the beauty of the past as we are today.