Nestled I the south of Portugal, the town of Tavira is somewhere between a sleepy suburb and a tourist mecca... The town comes alive with accents and faces of those across Europe. French, German, Brits and many many Spanish swarm to the town to experience the good food, beaches and twisting streets.
But it isn't over run. This is still a home for many. The tourism boom is yet to push the Tavirians (or is Tavirionos?!) out. Which is nice. They instead are still riding the wave, and seem generally happy to have the sight seers trapes round their streets. The scars of the economic collapse are starting to heal, but they have most defiantly left there mark. A short wander up the hill away from the river which runs through the heart of the town reveals the half built apartment blocks. There are peeling signs advertising "new developments... coming soon" fading into banks of shrubbery along side the road to St. luzia. Cranes stand tall, yet abandoned, hidden at the edge of the Barron edge of town.
In contrast though business appears booming down the main drag, restaurants are full, Espressos and Cerveza flow from the numerous cafes and Bars scattered through out the town. As the locals sit and debate the day, the new batch of tourist pour out of the rental apartments and hotels onto the ferry to the beach or to paroose the nicknacks on offer... many made from cork it would seem, something of a local speciality.
The charm of Tavira is this balance. It's not to big, you could walk the town in day if you had your city legs on, but there appears always to be something extra on. The main square for instance holds what seems to be nightly events. Traditional dance shows or musical performances. There was a book festival for a few days. A open air cinema and film festival running through out late July and August, with some very well chosen screenings (a retrospective of Ken Loach works, as well as David Lynch: the art of life and a number of his shorts). There's a castle, of sorts, to explore. Golden sands, with a plethora of sports facilities. For a little town, they really pack it in. And everything is done with the feel of being for the town, as much for the tourists. It's nice.
Even if tourism is the main industry now in Tavira, with the Tuna fishing all but gone and the harbour lost to the sands many many years ago, there doesn't feel to be a desperation that can so often come with that reliance. You aren't bombarded by menus from restauranters dragging you towards their establishments. There are no street sellers lurking around, forcing there dodgey goods towards you at any opportunity. The people of Tavira seem to have just got on with things. And if people want to come to their town, well that's fine, why wouldn't they! It's nice here. There's good food, interesting architecture, golden beaches and nice people... oh and don't forget there is also plenty of cats.
Camera - Lumix GX80
Lens - Leica DG Summilux 25mm - F/1.4