After a long absence …Faro
May 11, 2013 § Leave a comment
A recent trip to Portugal’s Algarve region went by pretty uneventfully until the last day. We had some time to kill before the afternoon flight back home, the tourist information guide for the Algarve mentioned that Faro was worth a visit and it certainly was! First we hit the local shopping area, which proved to be average. After a quick purchase of one single copper Cataplana (we only just managed to refrain ourselves from buying the whole set), we headed towards the Old Town (Cidade Velha). On our approach to the entrance of the old city gates we spotted Storks’ nesting on the roof of the gate and winding streets leading to an orange tree lined square, with cafe’s that were certainly beginning to make us think we should have come here first…. this was beginning to look up.
Inside the old city gates was quiet and full of old world charm, not a Costa Coffee in sight to spoil the view. Quickly regretted eating in the shopping centre as delightful cafes began to appear down interesting side roads, then just off the main square we saw a couple of people exiting from an almost hidden doorway.
I decide to investigate. As I stepped inside the doorway, I took a deep breath. Yes, I was happy now. I feasted my eyes on various eclectic objects and a whole world of antique tiles.
As we purchased a few tiles (aware that we really couldn’t carry huge amounts on the plane), we stuck up a conversation with the owner Mr Joaquim de Silva Carneiro.
Having apologised for his lack of English (which made us feel very shameful for not knowing a word of Portuguese),he very kindly let us take some pictures of his shop and then told us he would show us his private collection housed next door.
What a pleasure it was to see such an amazing cornucopia of treasures in this private museum. Whether beautiful intact tile collections that far exceeded the wonders we had just seen in the shop, artefacts recovered from the cathedrals earthquake damage – including some stunning wooden statues and doors. An elegant Chinoise travel wardrobe – sourced from a hotel. A pair of deco chandeliers, a deco bathroom, a woodworm decimated monk, an unusual rounded wooden desk with so many secret drawers… and so much more.
The building itself was also interesting with its very modern graffiti backdrop, hand painted doors for storage, quirky stairs and balustrades, wooden doorways that might be part of the fixtures or another collectible from the cathedral… it turns out originally to be a simple boatman’s workshop. Outside the building is right on the harbour with no noticeable doors or windows you would easily walk past this hidden gem and never know what wonders you had just missed.
We are eternally grateful to Mr Joaquim de Silva Carneiro for sharing his collection with strangers.