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Final morning and flying home

A return to Faro day five

View A return to Faro on ToonSarah's travel map.

In the Igreja do Carmo

On our last morning our luck with the weather ran out, although for a while it wasn't as bad as had been forecasted. We expected rain but awoke to dry, if grey, skies. We had breakfast in the Demo bakery again (another of their delicious pastel de nata) and then went to check out the Igreja do Carmo famous for its chapel of bones.

I'd tried to see this with the Virtual Tourist group on my previous visit to Faro, but we'd been disappointed to find it closed. This time I'd made sure to check the opening hours but arriving just after the advertised 9.00 we found it firmly locked. We walked right round hoping to discover that there was an entrance on another side, without success. But just as I thought my luck was out again we found, on returning to the front, that a door was open and a man was ready to sell us tickets.

The church has some of the most ornate gilded woodwork outside Lisbon, both on its main altarpiece and in the side chapels.


In the Igreja do Carmo

The famous chapel of bones, the Capela dos Ossos, is outside the church in a small garden courtyard behind the apse. It was decorated with the bones and skulls of over 1000 human skeletons. These are the remains of the Carmelite monks who once served in the adjoining church. Their skeletons were exhumed from the nearby graveyard in 1816 and placed here.

The Capela dos Ossos

The chapel is intended as a reminder of the simple, holy lives of the monks, and of the fact that life is fleeting. An inscription over the door reads: ‘Para aqui a considerar que a este estado has de chegar’ (Stop here and consider that you too will reach this state).

Time to go home

We took a different route back to the apartment with a chance for a final few photos.


Faro details

We started to organise our things for packing. By mid-morning the sky was blue, so we took advantage of the weather to have a final coffee outside at our favourite Vanille café. But once we'd gone back to finish packing and were ready to leave the weather had changed again and it was pouring with rain. We held on for a while but eventually could wait no longer. So we walked to the bus terminal in the downpour, made worse by the strong wind that turned my umbrella inside out within seconds! We were both soaked by the time we reached the terminal, even though it was less than five minutes away.

The bus left on time, and we were pleased that the rain had stopped by the time we arrived at the airport. We were also pleased we'd come early as there were long queues at security. Once through we had lunch in the 'Irish' pub. Our gate was displayed well in advance of the flight time, and all seemed to be going well.

But have I mentioned my ongoing resolve not to travel Ryanair? From the time we arrived at the gate to the time we took off, 90 minutes late, the organisation and provision of information was appalling. Or rather, there was no organisation or provision of information! Three different flights were all departing from that gate: a delayed Dublin flight, our own to Stansted and another to Newcastle due to depart at the same time as ours. Most of us milled around while a staff member called increasingly frantically for people flying to Dublin. Meanwhile Newcastle passengers were directed to queue, while those going to Stansted were left to crowd around the foot of the staircase, often doing the job of the staff directing new arrivals to the appropriate queue or huddle.

Only when all the Newcastle passengers were in the gate area were we directed to queue, and we then stood there for some time while they waited to board. Once they'd left the area we were checked through, again just to be left standing. At no point were we told our flight was delayed, let alone for how long.

Boarding at last!

By the time we eventually boarded we'd been standing in various queues for well over an hour without a shred of information from the Ryanair staff. Once we were finally on board the pilot did explain the reason for the delay (air traffic control hold-ups earlier in the day) and also warned of a further such delay here at Faro. We were eventually airborne at 5.10, having been scheduled for take-off at 3.35. Yes, delays happen when flying but I can't recall a delay ever having been so poorly managed as this one!

The last part of the journey home from Stanstead was uneventful, although of course we’d have preferred the much shorter Tube ride from Heathrow, always our airport of choice. Still, we’d had a great weekend, more than worth the hassles of flying with my least favourite short haul airline!

Posted by ToonSarah 15:59 Archived in Portugal Tagged church flight portugal faro Comments (10)

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