On our recent visit to Faro I found myself often looking down at my feet as I walked around. This was partly out of necessity; there were plenty of broken or uneven cobbles to trip me up! But it was also due to my fascination with the traditional patterns of the Portuguese pavements.
These characteristic black and white mosaic patterns, created through the use of small square cobbles, are known as Calçada Portuguesa. You find them everywhere in Portugal, from large cities to small towns. Walking on them here I was reminded of the time many years ago in Cascais when I watched some men repairing a pavement. They were using the techniques employed for generations.
Perhaps unsurprisingly there are concerns that this may be a dying craft. It is hard to attract young people to work as calceteiros, as those who lay the stones are called; the work is laborious and not well-paid. Also, the stones can be slippery when wet (or even when dry, as I can testify) and are out of line with the modern emphasis on health and safety. I think it would be a real shame however if the craft of Calçada were to disappear; these distinctive pavements are one of the elements that set a Portuguese town apart from its counterparts in other Mediterranean countries.
So when I saw Amanda’s choice of theme for the Friendly Friday challenge I knew I had to feature those pavements as well as some of the other things I spotted beneath my feet in Faro and on a day trip to Tavira.
The pavement in front of the Igreja do Carmo in Faro.
My featured photo was taken in the same place; the two emblems sit next to each other within the pattern that fills the small square at the foot of the church steps.
These designs are on R. Conselheiro Bivar in the centre of Faro, a pedestrianised street lined with restaurants and bars.
This example is from Tavira, on the R. José Pires Padinha which borders the Gilão River.
Still in Tavira, but moving away now from the theme of pavements, this is the shadow of the railings on the Ponte Romana. This was actually built not by the Romans but the Moors, although the railings are of course even less old!
This shot was taken as I descended the steep steps in the bell tower of the Igreja do Misericordia in Tavira. I certainly had to be careful here to look beneath my feet!
One of the benefits of looking down is finding unexpected images, like this fallen bougainvillea on another of the streets in Tavira.
Back in Faro this is the Hotel Eva reflected in the waters of the marina.
I was amazed one morning to see this chameleon at my feet, perched on a palm leaf in the courtyard of Faro’s cathedral. And I wasn’t the only one; he had attracted a small group of admirers!
A small succulent I spotted growing beneath the boardwalk at the Praia do Faro.
And finally, a self-portrait with my husband; looking down from the bridge that connects the mainland to the Praia do Faro
I visited Faro and Tavira in April 2022