Had to retreat indoors as it is far too hot to sit out in the sun this afternoon, without a cloud to be seen. Apart from rain on Tuesday, it has been a very warm week although there was a coolish wind from the east which could be chilly out of the sun.
Whilst meandering and exploring the roads yet to appear on the 'Rough Guide award winning map of the Algarve' (and trying to find roads that appear on said map but fail to materialise at ground level) we discovered a very lovely beach on the outskirts of LAGOS called Porto da Mos which seems to a closely guarded local secret. Totally unspoilt with just the ubiquitous bar/restaurant overlooking it and stunning scenery,high golden cliffs with huge golden beach and rolling surf and light blue sea. It was so good we went back and spent most of the day there on Thursday and are going for Lunch on Sunday before we leave.
Porto da Mos is being developed on both side of a valley that sweep down to the sea and if we had to have an apartment on the Algarve (which thankfully we don't) this is where we both agreed we would come. By contrast, we had a ride to the Atlantic West coast where we found a breathtaking stretch of coastline near the village of CARRAPATEIRA, south of ALJEZUR. The name had cropped up several times in conversation and the reality did not disappoint. You can see miles of rugged cliffs and crashing surf with minimal habitation and no developement. The wild campers were out in force along the cliff tops and on the day we went the sea was fairly mild but still sent huge waves crashing into the cliffs and the beach was sensational. The village of CARRAPATEIRA is about half a mile back from the sea, for probably very good reasons, and has more surf shops than bars (4 to 2 at a quick count) and the chance of getting a sandwich with a drink narrowed the choice of bars to one. The village showed no signs of developement as we are now 30 miles north of the Algarve enclave and it is only 'fashionable' with surf dudes, wildcampers,walkers etc. of whom many were in evidence. Trusting the 'RG award winning map'(scale 1cm:1km), we took the pretty route home on the scooter and had to endure the un-noted 15 kms of dirt track that the RG has decided qualifies for the title 'road'. On inspection back at camp, the Michelin Road Atlas (scale 1cm:4km) designates this track as an 'unsurfaced road or track' so I know who I'll be voting for when the awards are next due for distribution and where the bill for new scooter suspension will be heading.
The other bit of fun this week involved the involuntary setting off of the van alarm. This happened 3 times in succession until I discovered that the alarm seemed to have armed itself without any assistance from us and I was only cancelling the alarm when depressing the button and not fully disarming it (in my defence, as I did not know it had been armed and the keys were hanging on the hook, I had no reason to suspect it had been armed). This of course required 3 phone calls to Phantom as the alarm alerts the tracking device and they like you to phone in if you set it off in error so that they don't have to waste time contacting you......of course in this instance they were on the ball and our calls crossed several times ! However, in conversation with the control centre, when they called up our tracker on their computer thay discovered that they could not read our postion as the GPS sender was sending meaningless data and is now probably faulty. It may just be that we are parked in a bad signal zone and that it will self-correct as soon as we move but on the other hand it may not. If it is a faulty unit this means that they cannot track the van should it be stolen although they assured me that they have a back-up system which will 'track the van but not with as much accuracy as we normally expect'.
Obviously the unit is still communicating with them but we shall have to wait until next week to see how serious the position is.......I don't know how it will affect the insurance policy,for which a tracking device was a requirement......and the reversing camera is now permanently upside down and steadfastly refuses to right itself.
Cultural Note : On the way back from Porto da Mos on Thursday we stopped off at Intermarche for essential supplies ie potatoes,white wine and more Tawny port to which I have taken a liking and it disappearing rapidly once opened ( at 4.80€ a bottle I have started using it to clean my teeth). As Easter was rapidly approaching, the Algarve is now full of the 10 million brits leaving the snow covered homeland for warmer climes and their first port of call was the local hypermarket, so it was just like Tesco's the day before Good Friday in Martlesham. In celebration of Easter we bought what looked like a very large hot-cross bun called a Folar de Pacoa and is traditional fare at easter.
As usual, only 3 of the 12 checkouts were open (normal for Spain and Portugal) so the queues were horrendous and we chose the one with the brits whose credit card wouldn't be accepted.....and when we arrived at the checkout 2 days later the harrassed and unsmiling young lady grabbed the bottle of white wine in one hand,the bottle of port in the other, scanned them and then banged them together as she put them down. Have you ever seen the mess a full bottle of port makes when the bottom gets knocked off ? It went everywhere then found a gap and poured down onto the floor. And despite her impassioned calls on the tannoy and the phone, Pedro who had the mop and bucket had apparently gone walkabouts. I nipped back smartly and got another bottle and The GF had the other 2 items scanned so that we paid and exited before the crowd got ugly believing me to be the cause of the accident. As we left, the port was everywhere over the checkout, rendering it unusable and the queue was enormous. They're probably still there now.
But the punch line to the story is the traditional Folar. I swear this is true and we have photos to prove it. The Gf couldn't wait till Easter so opened the wrapping after dinner and went to cut a slice only to encounter something very hard in the middle. We broke it open to discover a hard boiled egg, complete with shell sitting looking at us.
the knife had cracked the shell and the egg was a nasty shade of black & green and even the Gf couldn't face the thought of eating it. We'll bring one home if anybody fancies one...............
5 weeks ago