Before we started this adventure, we both acquired International Drivers Licenses in case we wanted to rent a car. No test required – just a passport and $15. We thought we might want to explore the countryside in S. Spain and Portugal, but haven’t yet, as public transportation has worked out fine.
The bus ride from Seville to Faro was through farmlands. The tinted bus window casts a green, but that there is plastic they grow in Spain! Best guess is that it protects the strawberry, raspberry, and tomato crops. Many orange groves also.
This is also stork territory, with every power line tower capped with a huge nest – occupant’s heads visible.
Portugal seems a little bit downtrodden compared to Spain. We’re staying in the older part of town, and there are many vacant homes. The shopping district in the same area, however, is very vibrant, with upscale retail and many restaurants. So there is quite a bit of tourism, but I haven’t seen the tourist hotel/resort area. Maybe it’s nearer the beach, which is a ways out of town.
Regardless, people we’ve met are friendly and trusting. I tried to buy 2 espresso to-go our first morning here but since the shopkeeper didn’t have change for my 5 euro bill, he just waved me off – coffee and bill in hand. I came back later to pay in the correct change. Also, two ladies just stopped me on the street and started talking to me – in Portuguese – like they knew me. We had a fun exchange – neither knowing what the other was saying – smiles all around. – Laura