Monday, 12 April 2010

Lunch with Austin Healey

Plan A was to have sunday lunch at Antonio's on Porta da Mos which may be my favourite beach in the world and we thought there would be no problem after checking on thursday that we did not have to book, only to arrive before 1pm to ensure that we could get a table on the terrace. They probably forgot that it was Easter Sunday. So when we arrived at 12.30 the place was only half full, the other half had reserved cards on the tables and they laughed when I optimistically suggested that they find us a table for two. After a minor hissy fit in the car park about not riding round Lagos looking for a nice restaurant over which I draw a veil, we headed back to Luz and the Paraiso Bar on the beach which we had frequented a few times and as luck would have it we managed to squeeze onto a table on the terrace. Next to Austin Healey. As I clocked him I received a sharp kick on the shins as the Gf hissed "No!". All I was going to say was that he was robbed on Strictly Come Dancing and could he show me how to tie a scarf like that, but I never got the chance. So technically speaking, he doesn't know that we had lunch on sunday, despite being given every opportunity to acknowledge our existence.....I managed the odd eyebrow waggle and nod of the head when I thought the Gf wasn't looking but mostly she caught me and he ignored me.
And I have to sat that he was very wrapped up with his wife and delightful twin daughters even if he can't sit still for two minutes. So, Austin, if your PR people are doing their job and trawling the net for references to AH, rugby star and dancing icon, we could have shared a bottle of Vinho Verde and whiled away a wonderful afternoon in the Algarve sun and I could have given you a few tips.........

Off at the crack of 9.30 on Monday, heading for home. Goodbyes to neighbours etc and stock up at the Ecomarche on the way to Sagres. Took the pretty route to PORTO COVO, the last few miles over what was once a road but has been sadly neglected of late. Lovely drive most of the way and PORTO COVO a delightful fishing village without an 'All day Breakfast' sign anywhere or anything at at all in english for that matter. Following notes I had made from various conversations we found the wild camping place on the edge of the village and the location was quoite stunning, overlooking two small sandy coves with rocks and cliffs just like you see in brochures about deserted,unspoilt beaches with crashing surf. Walked into village and had a drink and a cake, and it was full of Portuguese families on holiday then walked back and had a beach to ourselves for the afternoon. By the evening there were a dozen motorhomes parked up and a french caravan which everybody else ignored and tut-tutted about as it gets us a bad name and draws the attention of the police to the unwritten toleration of illegal wild camping. However we had an undisturbed night, after a brilliant sunset......apart from the noise of crashing surf ha ha. Awoke to another lovely day and a great breakfast watching the fishing boats bobbing about on a clear blue sea..................
Hit the road for LISBOA (LISBON), a rather mundane drive but some nice countryside, esp. the wild flowers, and a very long spell through cork forests. Over the 25th.April Toll Bridge across the Tagus and missed the turning for the campsite by 100 yards too soon. This then required a fraught 15 minutes round the backstreets and some complicated cloverleafs before we got back on track........the campsite is almost city centre, like the Bois de BOulogne in Paris and is a municipal site but probably a bit better than I was expecting,and was 19€ a night (less 10% for an ACSI card). Very security minded with cards for pedestrians to go in and out but close to the bus for direct access to city centre about 30mins. Into city for the afternoon, easy trip, and had a good mooch about but enormous difficulty locating the central tourist info office with few street signs to help as one would expect in a capital city. First impressions were not good as we started in areas that did not do the city justice and were distinctly rundown,faded and in desperate need of TLC. The overall impresssion improved over the 2 days as we found more places to visit, and some were excellent. Loved the old electric trams, which we used a lot to ride around on.....and they pack them worse than the Tokyo subway as they are only supposed to hold about 50 people each but it seems to be a matter of honour not to leave anyone at a tramstop and the local youth hang on the back and the running boards. All journeys on trams(old and modern), metro and buses cost 1.40€ but we bought day tickets for 3.70€ which were excellent value as we were able to just hop on and hop off as interesting places loomed up. I don't suppose we saw more than a small percentage of the the city in the time but we were fairly weary and I soon get City-overload. However, I could return as I liked it in the end even if it is a bit down-at-heel, like a dowager duchess fallen on hard times but trying to keep up appearances. It has a great heritage and is quite rightly proud of its seafaring history (even if they did introduce firearms to Japan) and it is unique, I think, in that a) there is not a bicycle to be seen, because it is so hilly and b) there was hardly any International logos/brand name shops in what we thought were the smart shopping parts............and I stopped to window-shop at a wine shop that was stocked with vintage ports at prices from 50€ to 1600€...I wish.
Met BoB and Joanne with another Autotrail parked nearby and passed a very pleasant time swapping experiences.
However, we decided that we had had enough of LISBOA and are off to PORTO one day early....

1 comment:

  1. Just saw this on Austin Healey's blog:

    Easter Sunday

    Not sure but think I might have just had lunch with Budgie Padlow & Gf at the Paradiso in Luz - was about say hello when the missus kicked me and told me not to bother them. Shame as I wanted to ask about the fruit & veg sale in Lagos cemetery.