Friday, 25 February 2011

SUNSHINE IN THE SALT PANS

FRIDAY 25TH FEBRUARY 2011 PRAIA DA LUZ

Spent 8 days at CABANAS near TAVIRA in the Ria Formosa National Park....,(GF takes over as he has to go and sort out the electricity in the Pate's chalet. So Cabanas a site rather like a car park but so nice and easy to get on and off the pitches, always a plus in my book. The actual pitches were very small, although we could have gone to an area where there were two or three together, but guess what ???
So we settle in and on Wednesday night it's BINGO run by Mr Personality himself. You wouldn't think it would be difficult to make a bingo session depressing......

And he ran the quiz nite which is why only 4 teams turned up and we came 3rd as every other question was a pop song+artist from the 80's - 90's and guess what.............Partnered Stuart & Thelma, the couple from Conil renting bungalows along the Algarve as they argue over which motorhome to buy next.)

The cycle tracks are great, if a bit rough and stony in places, and run through the salt marshes which have large salt pans and are a haven for birdlife. Flocks of Flamingoes, hundreds of Avocets ,,flocks of curlews,Stilts, Godwits......all of which took much thumbing through the bird book. Also discovered the name of the birds first seen last year that looked like a cross between a magpie and and a jay are in fact Azure Winged Magpies.

The village of CABANAS is lovely now that the sun has returned and our bar continued to charge 1€ for all drinks. TAVIRA itself is charming and about 1/2 hour by bike along the track. Took the train to FARO on Sunday ( 5€60 for two people return and it was 50 mins each way) but it was shut so we had a snack and a beer and went home.
Cycled to FUZETA to meet Paul & Marianne for lunch which was great fun. A great place with a campsite right in the centre of town on the beach and to which we will return to stay at length one day.(Campsite not well spoken -of as iffy in the past, but we had a look and it was very busy with french and germans and seemed ok-esp when you consider the location) Had Chicken Pirri-Pirri off a charcoal grill with all the trimmings, 2 litres of wine, desserts and coffee for 40€ (£36) at a restaurant on the front run by a very cheerful ( & large) husband and wife.

We explored the tracks through the salt marshes, found hideaways where vans are wild camping and seem to be tolerated by the local police who patrol the area but I could not persuade the GF to follow suit for a few days. The weather is brilliant and getting warmer each day.
The Pates, as mentioned, arrive later today to stay in one of the chalets for a week and we have put some goodies in there for them which necessitated having the fridge running .... turning on the electricity at the fuse box is apparently a man's job so Igor had to go and flip the switch from off to on, it being rocket science and all that........

I also realise that I don't like this part of the Algarve which I had forgotten. LUZ is FULL of Essex English and it's very depressing...and the prices are double those around Tavira. The beaches are still great but I shall bypass this area in future and after Tavira & Fuzeta go up country or the west coast.

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