Would you like to take another walk? The Barril is a sandy island just off the coast of Tavira, connected at one point by a wooden pedestrian bridge, just a few minutes drive from where we are staying.
In summer there is barely a patch to lay down your towel, but in January competition for space amounts to some fishermen, dogs and their people, and a few other walkers. The fishermen simply cast into the surf, anchor their poles into the wet sand and wait for something to come along. I've never seen one of them catch anything, but presumably they do.
Unless there's a storm, the waves tend to be gentle and the sound of their lapping is hypnotic. Just a few meters down the beach the foot prints thin out and you can basically be alone with your thoughts and the near infinite view of the wide ocean.
If you got on to a ship and sailed due west, you'd arrive eventually somewhere on the shores of North Carolina.
The beach is excellent for shell collecting. I found a perfect razor clam shell with both halves in perfect condition. Rick found an entire and very beautiful sea urchin, not to mention an excellent pocket knife, which was a boon as he had only recently lost his own.
Even on this cloudy day, the water was turquoise and the air pleasantly warm.
To reach the beach you cross an estuary on that small wooden bridge. You can either walk across the island or take a charming old little red train that moves only moderately faster than a pedestrian. We've done both.