Saturday, 27 March 2010

Sun,Sex(?) & Sangria

At last we have discovered the Algarve that everybody waxes lyrical about. And the Gf has discovered jugs of Sangria (a nice little drink for the ladies). The weather has steadily improved, breakfast is taken on the patio and we have ridden further afield on the scooter, exploring the back roads down to small coves where ther is little or no developement and have been rewarded with stunning views and beaches. We had lunch on Sunday at a beach bar in a small cove called Zavial Beach (Praia do Zavial) with a view to die for and spent the afternoon just watching the surf roll in. The restaurant was solidly built with a terrace above the beach and ideal for family sunday lunches as the kids were sent off to play on the sand if they looked like getting fractious whislt the adults got on with eating and drinking. The food was delicious -fresh fish and meat grilled on a barbecue with salad and washed down with vinho verde-the Gf had the usual 5 sardines, so large she only managed 4, and I had a monkfish,prawn and chorizo kebab that was one of the best things I've ever eaten.
Monday, being an even better day, we rode the 25kms to SAGRES and onto CAPE St.VINCENT which you will recall is the most southwesterly point of Europe and a point that all shipping heading up or across the Atlantic must pass, and where Henry the Navigator,a much decorated patron of Portuguese sea exploration, established his School of Navigation c.1450 (No records exist of its actual location). It's just like CAPE WRATH but with sun and surfers. Very dramatic, well worth the detour and we spent a very agreable time wandering the cliffs. From pictures seen, it is even more dramatic in a storm when waves regularly top the enormous cliffs but getting there on a scooter in those conditions might be somewhat fraught. The pretty road back was not so much a road as a dirt track for a great deal of its length - note : white roads on the map may not be surfaced.

We have nice neighbours on the site, all who have have been here before - John & Kath stay here from October to May every year and are a fund of information, and Henri and wife (Dutch) on the other side of us are most friendly and chatty.

Sat.27th

Had a great ride inland up to a reservoir in the hills with excellent views and lovely walks around in perfect silence except for the birds. Lovely scenery and the country roads almost deserted. Then rode down to the coast (through what appeared to be a private golf resort being remade) and found the beaches to the east of LAGOS where we spent a very pleasant few hours......the beaches here are either small hidden coves or 10 mile stretches and always a very acceptable beach bar which is open (unlike in France where it would only be open in July and August.) Even at the reservoir there was a restaurant by the carpark, run by a Dutchman where I had a a huge slice of his homemade apple pie and icecream to die for. Also dotted about the reservoir were at least 8 motorhomes parked off the road in clearings and obviously wildcamping.....apparently reservoirs are well known wildcamping spots which are seldom troubled.

Have also visited another well known Algarve must-see spot to the west of LAGOS called Ponta da Piedade, a series of caves hollowed out by the sea. They can be visited by boat but it was his day off so we just walked down the cliff as far as possible for photos. Quite dramatic

Still cannot accept the level to which the Algarve has been colonised by the British, Germans and Dutch. There is an english language radio station (kiss fm), at least 2 english newspapers which are real eye-openers and all you hear in the supermarkets is english and german. I find it quite depressing for some reason.

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