This is going to be the third and last post about the travel to a city called Tavares so it might be a bit longer as I intend to describe the best way I can my experience.
After we returned from the free market we headed back the the house we were staying for a quick shower and then we had lunch at my friend's wife's grandmother. Wha a character that old lady is! People from the city, which is basically a rural city, are very plain and extremely friendly. Seriously, I was shocked. Every small stores I visited I was welcomed by someone with a big smile on their faces and genuinely willing to help, which does not happen here where I live AT ALL! After lunch our wives wanted to spend the afternoon with our friend's grandmother so we embarked on this great adventure without the wives. The sun was unbearably hot but it didn't stop ous from enjoying the afternoon at all so we got into the car and drove off!
Perhaps the photos below may give you an idea how hot it was.
We drove to a small hill from which a large portion of the city could be seen. Some black clouds formation appeared on the horizon, which was good.
Some cows we spotted. The people I talked to said it has not rained for the last three years and they are beginning to worry about it and the dam levels are quickly lowering.
As we drove further and further the only things we could see were some birds, water trucks (to get water from the dam to the city) and a few locals passing by mostly on motorbikes.
Here is something completely unusual. We saw some rocks and something that seemed like a cliff right after the rocks. However, we couldn't get there as the gate was closed and we had no clue who the farm owner was. My friend who grew up in this city so the chances of him knowing the owner were quite high. There we were trying to photograph through the gate when the owner simply popped up from the road. He was curious and at first glance he didn't recognize my friend and yet we asked him to go inside for some shots. He was incredibly friendly. It was only when we were already inside the farm that he recognized my friend who had already had dinner at this house and knew his sons very well. Had it happened where I live we could have been easily shot or the police would have arrested us.
The farmer even fed the birds so that we could take some pictures.
On this farm we walked for 30 minutes to try to get some bird shots. We simply couldn't do it by ourselves. Firstly, the birds would never land close to us. Secondly, it was too hot to walk under the sun. Moreover, It was becoming dangerous at that point. It was only we we returned that he told us he had some bird food. This is the photo I took from the birds. Tiny birds are simply too difficult to photograph.
There was some rain in the horizon at last!
With the coming of the rain (although it only lasted a few minutes) the whole weather changed. The rain would come and go intermittently, which changed the whole scenario for photography.
We were now heading to the city dam which provides water not only for Tavares city but for 9 more nearby ones.
City dam seen from above
Until yesterday I thought I had seen the dam entirely but I was caught by surprise when my friend opened Google Maps and showed me we had only seen approximately 20% of it.
We did get down there for some shots. There were some ducks and lots of birds I had never seen before. We tried to get closer but they flew away to never come back. I will be back in June in the winter season maybe I am luckier next time.
Down there the view was extraordinaire. There were so many different birds including ducks, herons and many more. Some flew very close to the water which could have produced excellent photos had they been closer to us.
We spent about three hours there dreaming about taking nice birds photos. Quite deluded we were!
Despite not having been able to the the shots we had intended it was simply a fantastic experience. Coming from a much much bigger city it was great to experience nature at its best. In addition, it was also a life lesson that I will never forget. I definitely came back home feeling better person, no doubt. The humbleness, plainness and friendliness have made me rethink how I was leading my life and care less for the shallow and unimportant things that causes so many problems in our lives.
Should one go there? If you do want to be in contact with nature and love photography it is a MUST. Some birds species can only be found there. I would suggest spending tens days at least. I think you should do some research before you go and get to know the place to save some time and get the shots you want. Temperature is a problem in summer, seriously! Just be sure you have lots of water and some food wherever you go. All in all, it's a small city abounded in FANTASTIC views with VERY FRIENDLY people! Oh, I almost forgot! It is ABSOLUTELY safe. No worries about having your gear stolen! Simply relax as it WILL NOT happen!
These were the last shots I took before I left.
The peaceful feeling I had while driving through the mountains can never be fully explained through words. It was magical! Oh, boy I am going to miss all that!