A flock of dunlin swirls over the salt pans and Kentish plover appear. But it's the black-winged stilts that attract me most. They're so elegant. A bird stands on one fine leg and delicately preens with the other. Long red legs that trail behind them in flight. It's the breeding season and they're vocal and agitated. A French couple walks between the salt pans and I join them in conversation. The salt is a rippling crust of pale gold and tiny chicks pop up from the salt and their parents lead them away.
Plants here have to be salt-tolerant. The lady from Aveiro picks a green shoot and hands it to me. Salicornia, she says. It's glass-wort that I know from Walney Island. Good for the heart, she tells me.
We take a boat trip, a fresh perspective on the old city. But it's the ecology and landscape of the salt pans and the glimpse out toward the sea that is so unusual. And that's better seen on foot, walking amongst the salt pans and beyond.