Third day, Sunday, April 28, Porto Covo and Ilha do Pessegueiro

The next stop was Porto Covo, the largest village in the area. All small houses are painted blinding white with blue stripes, mostly with red doors.

 In the 18th century, Porto Covo was a small settlement in a narrow bay along the rocky coast. In 1780, it consisted of only four residential buildings. Its population was mainly engaged in fishing and trade. During the reign of King Philip II of Spain, a large-scale plan was drawn up to protect against pirate ships and transform the natural bay of Porto Covo into a seaport.

We took a walk, after a coffee and ice cream we stopped by a small shop where they sell pre-packaged cookies with the name “Hungarians”, which are actually just plain tea biscuit, and I don’t really understand why they named them after us.

Instead, I had to buy the chocolate biscuits sprinkled with the creatures of the ocean, which I had already eaten at Ilha do Pesseguerio.

Pessegueiro Island (Portuguese: Ilha do Pessegueiro), literally island of the Peachtree, is a small island/islet located along the southwest coast of the civil parish of Porto Covo in the municipality of Sines.

In 1588, the construction of the Pessegueiro fortress on the coast and then the Santo Alberto fortress on Pessegueiro Island begin. In 1598, however, the work on the fortress was left unfinished and the expansion of the harbour was not completed.

The island and the adjacent coast are part of Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park.

This ball of hair is Mafalda, documenting her empire:

The legend of Our Lady of Queimada

According to tradition, in the middle of the 18th century, Barbary pirates arriving on the island from Algeria and Morocco encountered a Christian hermit who was maintaining a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The pirates killed the monk, looted the chapel and threw her statue into the flames.

Later the inhabitants of Porto Covo buried the Christian hermit, but could not, at first, find the sacred image. Deciding to search the entire island, they finally found the statue within a burned bush but unharmed by the fire: the image became known as the Queimada (Burnt Virgin). The statue was removed to the mainland, one kilometre from the island, where a new chapel was built, known as the Chapel of the Burned Virgin (Portuguese: Capela de Nossa Senhora da Queimada), becoming a destination for pilgrimages.

After this, we will dip into the cold water and head to the middle of the country…

P.S.: If you find yourself complaining about not see any photo of the fortress , you are absolutely right: I got distracted by my ocean-themed cookies…