Abandoned

Always on the lookout for detritus of any sort, we wandered through the older parts of the residential district. Most cities have areas where some abandonment has set in as newer, shinier neighborhoods are built and people move on. The most interesting find was an escalator to nowhere in a mini-mall that had no tenants. The top of the escalator, which was outdoors, was sealed off.

Faro

Many people, especially here in the states, consider these areas to be depressing blight. An alternate view is that they show us the past and give us clues about migration and social change. They also show a willingness to adapt as there are people and animals living here. One building in the old quarter had milk and food bowls set out for feral cats wandering the streets. The cats fled when we walked down the street but the bowls in front of the decrepit doors were still out.

Faro

And an alley with a boarded-up house provided an interesting contrast between a new cosmetics ad and the peeling paint. Past and present, crud and glitz, the never-ending changes in culture.

Faro

Speaking of Religion

The strangest building in Faro, and one of the strangest in Europe, the Capela de Osso, built in the 19th century inside a larger 18th century church, is filled with skulls and bones of over 5000 people. It’s a delightfully macabre demonstration of the bizarre twists religion can take. It’s not that big but it leaves a lasting effect.

Watch this slideshow to see the Capela do Osso:

 

First Day in Faro

In the morning, it was steamy and hot, very unexpected, at least by me, unlike both tourists and locals. Almost everyone else had on shorts and many were heading to the beach. We wanted to wander the town and I wanted to find out if there would be anything interesting in a beach town to photograph. It turned out there was plenty. Faro has an historic old town that is well-preserved if somewhat over-touristed. The locals appeared to live, or at least congregate, away from the beach and the old town. There were plenty of streets to wander in the old town. I even found something that brought up questions about what happened the night before.

Faro Shoes

A local tattoo parlor had terrific art on the wall outside with plenty of graffiti on an adjacent wall. Although Portugal has plenty of graffiti, the taggers don’t usually touch art or existing signs, just create new work on empty walls.

The Tattoo Parlor

While much of Portugal (and Spain) identifies as Catholic, there doesn’t seem to be much church attendance on Sundays. However, perhaps as a legacy of days past, there are plenty of signs of the religion everywhere, churches, crosses, even occasional saints.

Window and Cross