I have really come to love “my” Portugal. The people, the soul, the culture of this land, last but not least its beautiful, melodious language, have completely drawn me in. Already in my first article about creative travel in the Algarve region, I have shared with you some alternative travel tips in this sunny southern district of Portugal. Now, the time has come to dive even deeper. We will therefore go on a journey into the interior of the Algarve, the small town of Querenca, also known as “Aldeia da Querenca” in the local language. Even though Loulé too is a small town counting only 30.000 inhabitants, travelling into a historic village located on the nearby hilltops is another experience altogether. I have come here with my local expert guide Susana, who works as part of the “TASA” project developing creative travel in the Algarve through a series of workshops named “Painting with Earth Colours“. Part of this experience includes landscape walks learning more about the history and culture while interacting with the land as a first-time visitor.
Speaking of ceramics, earth colours & creative crafts in the Algarve, let me introduce you to a most welcoming local character: The ceramic artist Armando Martins!
Armando is truly mischievous. In the sweetest way possible. He appreciates me taking my first steps in Portuguese – only to talk to me in the fastest way possible during our creative pottery lesson, accrediting my language skills. I take on the challenge of our quick-witted verbal exchange, rising to become even more creative with words, and pottery of course. João & Graca, of ProActiveTur, a company set up to develop creative crafts initiatives in Loulé and in the Algarve, have taken me to meet local ceramic artist Armando Martins. Armando has already worked thousands and thousands of pots in his life time – “since times immemorial, including both my father and grand-father before me”, he laughs, brightly displaying his mischievous smile. All those pots have once played a big part in the local fishing industry, being used by fishermen to catch octopus. According to Armando, one of his pots even made it all the way to Spain, travelling as a shell to an octopus and identified by him again as one of his pots! Stories and stories … 😉
Creative travel here in the Algarve means: Unveiling countless local tales. Understanding, and living, many forms of traditional cultural expressions. Painting a real image of the marriage of past & present in a local area. And one thing, above all: Meeting unique local characters that live to tell the tale!
The city of Loulé itself merits a closer look when travelling in the Algarve, too. Check out Coreto Hostel for a great place to stay, centrally located for a culture walk through this quaint little town.
I just love Loulé. What a pretty little town full of light. Perhaps it is the agreeable size, neither too big nor too small for my liking. Its unique Arab heritage, both to be found in places such as the Old Baths as well as the historic market square in the heart of town. And that being in Loulé allows you to meet truly special, local people that all have one thing in common: They are open. Friendly. Welcoming. Full of light, as the city as well as southern Portugal, the Algarve itself.
Disclaimer: I have been invited by João Ministro and his team to discover and explore creative travel in the Algarve region of Portugal. All opinions are my own.