I took a tour that went to four of the "five lands"--one of the five is not on the sea. It's at the top of a rocky tor, and you have to climb 300 steps to get to it. I was really happy to skip that one.
I have over 70 pictures of the villages we visited, but a few are sufficient to show the beauty and charm of these gems by the sea. The villages were originally fishing villages, and the homes were painted in different bright colors to help the fishermen find their way home.
The day I was there it was raining, so the colors were less vibrant, but I doubt that they ever looked quite as vibrant as this photo I borrowed from the internet. I think someone touched it up a little. But before time weathered the bright paint, I imagine the town might have looked closer to this from the sea.
The green hills around the villages are terraced, and the villagers once grew enough grapes, olives and other crops to be fairly self-sustaining. But farming these terraces is grueling work; and since the towns became more accessible by road and train, tourism has sustained the economy of this area. There were extensive landslides in 2011, which caused a great deal of damage to this area, and the deterioration of these terraces is blamed for the severity of the damage.
The tour was supposed to include a boat trip from one of the towns to another, but the sea was storming a bit, so we didn't get a chance to enjoy the view of the coast from the water. But we certainly enjoyed the wonderful seascapes from fairly dry ground. The forecast that I checked promised a sunny day, but it rained all morning and part of the afternoon.
The vendor that sold these rain slickers and umbrellas must have made a fortune on this day. This is my new friend Bernadette, who I met in language school. We look like we're decorated for Christmas. Bernadette is a Palestinian woman from Israel. She is a teacher, and her husband is a nurse, and besides that, they run a restaurant in a hotel in their village.
It seems like I'm always climbing up and down steps, and today was no exception. In all four of the villages we visited, I climbed steps to get to the points where I could take some of these beautiful photos.
Like this one, for instance.
Bernadette and I met a lovely family from Mexico--a mother and her two daughters who were traveling around Spain and Italy together. The mother and daughter in the foreground are both named Almarosa. The younger Almarosa is an endodontist. Liliana on the far right is working on a Master's Degree in Political Science in Madrid. They were lovely women, and we enjoyed being in their company.
This is a fresco that was by one of the train stations.
And this mosaic was at the center of the main piazza in one of the town.
There aren't any more words, just beauty.