Gone fishing

Today LWDs forced march was around the fishing port of Sagres. I was in full on photography mode so she also had a lot of standing around.

 

 

Then as she’d been reasonably good and because it was beautifully sunny, we moved on to the beach at Praia de Cordoama where she had an off lead romp.

 

 

The lads doing the paragliding were really showing off for the few beach walkers braving the icily cold northerly wind.

Really pleased with today’s camera workout.

🙂 🙂 🙂

A social life

We’ve moved. We were in the way on pitch 302 at Camping Tourismo, Espiche – someone had booked it from Jan 21st so we had to go. We moved somewhat reluctantly, Espiche being one of the best sites we’ve ever been on – location 10/10, cleanliness 10/10, efficiency of staff 10/10, friendliness of staff 10/10, amenities 10/10, bar and restaurant 10/10, wi-fi  (   s    l    o    w    ) alone let it down … The dreaded morning of 21/07/2016 arrived, I asked reception to arrange our unhook-up, locked cupboards, put away all moveables and, tears in our eyes, we left.

After a 60 second drive we arrived at pitch 615. Hmm – less trees, great for claustrophobics and sun worshippers, and as for the neighbours … within 30 minutes we had been invited out for a beer at 5.30 pm. What could I do? It would’ve been churlish to refuse. Since then it’s been non-stop socialising – fish and chip night + booze , dog-walking on the beach + beer in the bar, raclette meal at T&D’s + booze, and an invitation to a wedding (hopefully + booze). We have a three course meal planned for later in the week – first course at Ann and Bob’s, main course at mine and desert at Tina and Dave’s (+ booze of course!) and Ann, Tina and I have a Girlie Day Shopping planned. Sorry Bezzies I might not quite make it to Tarifa … well all right I will, but I’ll probably be back here next January – just to see if these over wintering folk are as nice as I think they are (+ booze of course).

Without the hire car Daize and I are doing much walking – along the coast path (8k) to Bergau (very reminiscent of the South West Coast Path in Cornwall and Devon) and into Espiche village, both typical Portuguese villages, and out into the countryside locally. Daize is doing very well off lead and (mostly) recalling well, she does excel when I call her back because of the (occasional) traffic. She has really bonded with Linda and Trevor’s English springer Ruby, they’re wonderful together.

Views from our walks

Linda and Trevor are getting married in September and I’m honoured to have been invited – oh dear, how sad, I’ll have to get a new outfit …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Windmills of my mind

I had to have a photograph of a traditional Portuguese windmill and as one of the main reasons for my travels is to get these “must have” images I was prepared to go wherever it took … that is, almost back to Spain!

I know a lot of the photos I take have been taken by thousands of others and a lot of those images will be much better than any I can take but I want my photos. I don’t want to take images to say “look where I’ve been”, I just want to take images that please me.

So for the last day in the hire car I went on a windmill hunt. Without sat nav as there were no co-ordinates on the web site, just directions that said it is 600m off the N270, 4k outside of São Brás de Alportel. 4k in which direction was not specified so it didn’t really matter that which side of the road had not been specified either! Following the Philip’s road atlas I travelled 65k along the N125 before turning left at Bouliqueime onto the N270 towards Loulé. After several kilometres twisting on the mountain road I decided that the sun really was in the wrong general place for me to be travelling towards Loulé. I did the necessary and back tracked. (Had I been using the road map of Portugal which I’d dismissed in favour of the larger scale atlas I wouldn’t have turned left at the point that I did, even though there was a sign for Loulé, as I would have seen that I needed to turn left at a roundabout a bit further along which was marked on the map but not in the atlas.) However what’s a few kilometres between maps/atlases?

I eventually arrived in Loulé, was definitely on the N270 and continued 25k towards São Brás. The Moinho de Vento do Bengado was 4k east of São Brás on the right hand side when arriving from the west. Seen clearly from the main road on approach, once you have turned right and then left via the signed track it cannot be seen at all! It really was as well I hadn’t attempted to find it in R0X1; it being a case of parking the car tucked well in on a small open patch at the side of the single track “road” and playing hunt the windmill on foot. (Daize enjoyed clambering over scrub and boulders and had no problems battling with prickly bushes!) And then finally I had the windmill in the viewfinder …

Moinho de Vento do Bengado

I won’t bore you further with the details of the journey back. Suffice to say going west the N270 directions were not signed as well as going east and I saw rather more of São Brás’s one way system than may have been strictly necessary … several times. However what’s a few housing estates  between roadsigns?

🙂 🙂 🙂

Tra la

The flowers that bloom in the spring,
Tra la,
Breathe promise of merry sunshine —
As we merrily dance and we sing,
Tra la,
We welcome the hope that they bring,
Tra la,
Of a summer of roses and wine,
Of a summer of roses and wine.
And that’s what we mean when we say that a thing
Is welcome as flowers that bloom in the spring.
Tra la la la la-a,
Tra la la la la-a,
The flowers that bloom in the spring.

W S Gilbert (The Mikado)

Portugal is springing to life!

🙂 🙂 🙂

The roof of the Algarve.

At 905m (2969ft) Foia is the highest peak in the Serra de Monchique and indeed the Algarve. The views from the top are spectacular and Daize and I got to the top!!! On a bright January day it was a bit nippy up there but the end result was worth the effort and the number of calories expended –  unfortunately it was too hazy in the distance to get decent photos of the view all the way to the sea in 3 directions – and anyway I hadn’t got the summit flag with me.

The trip started via the historic town of Silves. From it’s days as a Roman fortress to those as the Moorish capital and cultural heart of the area it oozes history. In fact the region’s name, the Algarve, comes from it’s Arabic name, Al-Gharb. In it’s heyday when its Governor was King Al-Mu’tamid of Seville, Silves was renowned for it’s beauty (and figs).

Come, Abu Bakr, greet my haunts in Silves and ask them

If, as I think, they still remember me.

Greet the Palace of the Verandas on behalf of a young prince

Who feels a perpetual longing for that palace.

Al-Mu’tamid  (1040-1095) – Evocation of Silves (excerpt)

(The rest of it is more an evocation of his women than the town tho’ he does mention that the curves of the river there remind him of the shape of his women.)

 

When the Moors were ousted from the Algarve (1249) by the Christians they high tailed it back to Seville.

Leaving Silves Daisy and I headed once more through Monchique, this time in bright sunshine, and up the long and winding road (calories were used – gear changing and steering round all those bends!) to the radar station at the top of Foia. In the 15th century, the great days of Portuguese maritime explorations, Foia’s distinctive shape and green “skirt” was used by sailors as a navigation guide to the sheltered harbours of the Algarve. Along with all the communications and radar gear at the summit I found a cafe, a souvenir tat shop and an artisan craft shop where Bruno made me a pair of tiger’s eye earrings to match the pendant of his I spotted – £17 the lot.

Another successful day …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Alliances and Friends

I’ve written about friendships before but never realised that, being English, I’m part of what is the oldest documented friendship in the world, all 643 years of it. The Anglo-Portuguese alliance treaty of 1373, signed for England by Edward III and for Portugal by King Ferdinand and Queen Eleanor, updated eventually to include the whole of the UK, remains in force and was most recently invoked by the UK during the Falklands argument, allowing the Azores to be used as a base. (Does this mean Portugal’s the only country we’ve never been at war with?)

The Portuguese are a very friendly, open people whose idea of only speaking a little English corresponds to my idea of virtual fluency.  Given that and the climate and relaxed lifestyle it’s hardly surprising that there are an awful lot of Brits of all ages living and working here.

The weather since I arrived in Portugal has been a tad inclement and another wet and grey day on Friday tempted me towards comfort food, the old friend fish and chips seemed to fit the bill. So I went to the campsite restaurant for fish and chip night; as the waiter escorted me to my table Jasper’s Dad, overwintering here in a motorhome, who I’ve been chatting to on the dog walking circuit, came over and invited me to join him and his wife at their table. Lovely couple and I spent a great evening with new friends. Fish and chip night is a new venture for the chef and he did really well; lovely thin, light batter, the fish was a different firmer texture to cod but moist and tasty and they’d obviously shipped the mushy peas in from the UK! (Note to K; Foreigners can do Mushies. These had not been watered down – we need to have serious words with the station Chinese chippy.) I’ve frequently scoffed at holiday makers who come abroad and then eat only McDonalds or fish and chips and drink beer in “English” pubs rather than trying local specialities; my excuse for this lapse is that I haven’t eaten fish and chips since August and probably won’t again until I return.

Today we touristed Lagos – I’m a little confused by the Lagos boomerangs tho’ cobbers …

🙂 🙂 🙂

The End of the World (and back)

It is possible for even a professional tourist to get into a bit of a routine. Mine is; arrive at a campsite and first afternoon settle in; next day out walking with Daisy. Dependant on how much there is to see locally repeat the walking with Daisy until feet get itchy, leave campsite. I know what you’re thinking – bit same-y isn’t it? But unless you can get on a decent site with plenty of things to see within walking distance …

First I found a really good and fairly reasonable campsite just outside Lagos (Portugal not Nigeria) and then I had another Michael Caine moment. This great idea has resulted in me hiring a car for a week. Daisy will still get her walks but we can go further afield and up into the mountains (where no motorhome has gone before …).

Today’s excursion took me 25kms west. Being the extreme south-west tip of Europe, for hundreds of years Cabo de São Vicente was thought to be the End of the World and was our first stop. The lighthouse there, now we know it’s not the end of the world, is said to be the most powerful in Europe with a range of 95kms. We then had a windy walk round the promontory at Sagres. The limestone cliffs stick out into the Atlantic like a 500m long finger. Landside are some of the ruins of a 15th century building said to have been used by Prince Henry (the Navigator) as a shipyard and navigation school, these ruins were mainly covered by the building of a modern (17th century) fort. Beyond the fort although the land is now an important bird reserve I saw nothing but gulls as the day was so blustery with frequent squalls coming in off the sea – very invigorating tho’.

Tomorrow I have to find a book shop – I have need of a Portuguese phrasebook!

🙂 🙂 🙂