Figueira is a place of cobbled pavements, small white cobbles for the most part, only occasionally arranged in patterns of other colours. It makes a much pleasanter-looking surface than the ubiquitous tarmac pavements of the north west of England. Whatever happened to paving stones? Is that why so few children play hopscotch these days? Paving stones provided a ready made hopscotch patch.
Much of the architecture around here is standard blocks of, mostly low-rise, flats, interspersed with strange modernistic towers such as this one.
Then there are bits of older walls and towers, almost fortifications. Near our hotel they are probably the remains of the old estate, Quinta de Souto (or Sotto) Maior.
Our route into the centre, where the chess tournament is taking place in the casino, goes past large private gardens, locked away behind high wall, glimpsed through padlocked gates. Most intriguing!
And on the streets the trees are rapidly shedding leaves but spots of colour remain.
The chess player got off to a good start yesterday morning, despite having to get up for a 10 o' clock game which he won. So we went off to lunch in good spirits. We made a rapid choice of lunch venue as the rain was coming on quite hard, even though I had managed to walk along the beach without getting wet earlier.
At a little place called O Picadeiro we shared a salada mixta (2.50€) and arroz con sardinhas (10.50€) along with a half litre of white wine (3.00€), water (0.80€) and bread (1.00€), all very reasonable. We (semi-deliberately) made the mistake of eating the anchovies and oil-drizzled wholemeal bread that appeared on the table. This Portuguese habit of putting apparent freebies on the table and then charging you for them is a bit naughty, especially when they charge you 4.00€ for half a dozen anchovies and a bit of bread. But, hey, just under 20.00€ for lunch for two is all right! And the sardines and rice were very good!
What surprised us most was the smoking. We were going to sit inside the restaurant but people were smoking there so we went onto the covered veranda instead. Clearly smoking was accepted for there were ashtrays. So later I googled the question. from what I found out Portugal seems to be where Spain was a while ago. Small places can decide whether to allow smoking but need to put up a sign to that effect. Otherwise every restaurant need a designated smoking section. This one seemed to be flouting the rules either way. But it's the first we've seen.
As for the chess player, he lost his evening game Was it the lunch? Who knows? He has just left for this evening's match and, misquoting Scarlett O'Hara, today is another day!