A brief recap: Spring has sprung and the birds are in full voice. Life in Luz continues to be a great place to be and we hope you can join us soon.
My mother has always said that one day she would like to come back to this earth as a flamingo. You would be forgiven for thinking that this might sound a little strange, but let’s take a look at the evidence.
They have long, slim legs, a vivacious pink body and a majestic elegance rivalled only by swans or perhaps Grace Kelly. Studies have shown that they are loyal and form lifelong friendship groups of around three to six bird chums. And the collective noun for a group of flamingos? A Flamboyance. In comparison, a group of humans is a crowd. It doesn’t quite have the same effect. A flamboyance of football hooligans anyone?
Throughout history and across many cultures, flamingos have been a symbol of love and balance, whilst the ancient Egyptians even considered them an embodiment of the sun God ‘Ra’ because of their fiery plumage. I think I’m beginning to see my mother’s point – Love, balance and sunshine –something that most of us could do with a little more of. And where can you find these pink beacons of optimism? Well, right here in the Algarve of course.
Consisting of 18,000 hectares of lagoons, salt marshes and white sandy islands, the Ria Formosa National Park is home to more than 200 species of bird, many of which sound like they have come straight from the pages of Harry Potter – the Short-Toed Treecreeper, the Collared Pratincole and not forgetting Harry himself, the Spectacled Warbler.
On my previous Ocean Villas Luz blogs, I often find myself waxing lyrical about how beautiful the landscape of this wonderful region is. But the onset of Spring has reminded me just how diverse the Algarve’s natural world is too. With patience and a little luck, nature lovers are able to find mongooses, chameleons, wild boar and there’s even a chance of an Iberian Lynx.
Offshore, there are regular sightings of five species of dolphin, pilot whales, minke whales, sea turtles and even the occasional report of an orca. You need not spend your holidays in the Caribbean this year. Instead, head down to Praia da Luz and you will find the spectacular far closer to home than you might imagine.
If your taste is more orchid than orca, then springtime in the Algarve is definitely the place to be. The fallow fields and wild coastal paths have widened my eyes to the splendours of the local wildflowers. Despite some having names that sound like English villages – Lesser Periwinkle, Shepherd’s Needles, Shrubby Gromwell – the explosion of life and colour they have provided is enough to fill the even the grumpiest soul with optimism.
If the past twelve months has taught us anything, we have been provided with an acute awareness of the beauty and fragility of life. It is a reminder that humanity is perhaps not as invincible as we would have ourselves believe. But we, like the Lesser Periwinkle, will bloom again and our experiences will make us more determined than ever.
With the gradual easing of lockdown here in Portugal, I’m desperate to enjoy all of life’s natural beauty. One of the first things I’m going to do is to head to the Ria Formosa National Park and heed a little inspiration from our elegant, pink friends. To sample a life full of love, balance and sunshine.
So, there you have it! Coming back to this earth as a flamingo doesn’t seem so daft after all. I’ll let my mother know that you approve. In the meantime, the Algarve is waiting for you. Now it’s your turn to be a little more flamingo.
More next month.
Digital (ish) Nomad