Sunday, 26 May 2013

Sagres, Zavial to Costa de Santo Andre

Two weeks spent between Sagres and Zavial. In and out of the sea, sunbathing out of the wind and some coastal walks.

We made it back to the lovely little restaurant at Ingrina and had the most fantastic prawns and Sea Bream.

With just over three weeks left we decided that we had to head north up to Carrapateria. We have spent seven weeks on the same two pages in our map and it was finally time to change the page! Total mileage so far is 1250.

Tim ran out of Jazzers and so we had to make some by melting the chocolate in the windscreen and then liberally sprinkling it with billions and trillions. This was one giant Jazzer!


The view from Almograve was stunning coastline in both directions. We spent a few hours looking at the folds in the rocks. Some had been folded under so much pressure that they had over turned back on themselves.

......and at last we saw the sun set over the sea.

A quick campsite for washing and showers at Vila Nova de Milfontes, unfortunately it was a bit far out of the town and so we shall have to return here another time. A short hop up to a new Aire at Porto Covo and then skipped around the refineries and smog at Sines to Praia de Santo Andre. Here we are pictures yet but using the wifi in the bar while we can.

Alvor to Sagres

This will be a little photo heavy as we've not had a campsite for a while and for some reason my ipad mini won't charge from the van. I probably have to buy an Apple charger for around £30! ( edit...I wrote this 2 weeks ago....but no wifi)

These Russian Dolls were from a market in Lagoa, I have a set at home but mine are from around 1978, where as these have a sticker that says 1998. I love how they look and when/if I ever make a sewing room then I will have a shelf especially for them. Though I guess I will never remember what is inside each!
Alvor in the guide book looks like a small old fishing has been modernised, lots of lovely restaurants and still has some character. It was popular port in Roman times and despite suffering extensive damage in the 1755 earthquake it is still a popular holiday town, with a superb beach. We stayed on the Aire here for €4, but the constant wind was blowing dust at us all day, so we continued west.

On to Lagos which had loads of tiled houses with old wrought iron balconies and fortifications left by the Arabs in the 8th century.

This is a statue of Henry the Navigator who turned Lagos into an important naval centre in the early 15th century and financed expeditions down the coast of Africa. It is here that in 1441 the first slave market was held and a plaque indicates the area under the arcades on the far right of the photo.

We finally managed to get a shot of an Azure Winged Magpie. These we have seen many times in large flocks, much brighter to watch than our magpies.

At Boca de Rio we parked as close to the beach as we could and stayed until our food ran out. The sea was quite warm, but still no surfing.

The next beach at Praia de Ingrina was even nicer, though we planned to eat in the restaurant, only to find that it was closed on Tuesdays. If we had a day like this at home this beach would be jam packed. Tim caught 3 mackerel out on the rocks, but they weren't big enough to eat, so he let them go.

On to Sagres, the town furthest west and also the name of the delicious beer that we have been drinking. The far south west tip is Cabo de Sao Vincente where there is a lighthouse, so we peddled over for a look and found yet another beach (Praia do Beliche Beach).....this one had surfing waves and was down out of the wind. It's been very hot....but only if you can hide from the wind!
There are many tiled houses, but this one looked like it was done from a sample pack, very cheerful amongst all the white houses.

This Rosa dos Ventos, wind compass is inside Prince Henry's fortress, though there is some disagreement on what it was actually used for. Lots of wild flowers and birds on the coast path, Choughs too.....though unfortunately we didn't see any.

Our first view of the west coast, looking out over the Atlantic, though Libby was glad she had 4WD to get here.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Alte to Pria de Marinha

Alte is a tiny, unspoiled inland village on the Algarve. It is famous for the Fonte Grande, which is a weir on the River Alte and so we went a lovely long walk, followed by ice cream! Here we saw the first of the traditional wash houses, still used today for scrubbing clothes outside.

Then on to Silves, with the biggest unofficial Aire we have seen so far. There must have been over 60 camper vans staying in a car park by the sports centre, where there is free wifi and showers for €2.50. There are some "long termers" here as there are supermarkets within walking distance, water and a waste disposal point. Silves was also popular with the Romans and then the Moors, when it was renowned as a centre of culture on the Al-Garb (meaning The West). There is still a substantial red sandstone castle that looks down over the pretty town which used to be a port until the river silted up. We saw a couple of pleasure boat trips, full of tourists from the coast. Though it was nice, I wouldn't want to spend a month here as some do.

We treated ourselves to a paid Aire at Parque Da Gale, near Gale Beach €6.50, electric and wifi....a lovely place to stay, but no shower :o(
We cycled into Albufeira for Tim's birthday and had a fantastic meal of Piri Piri chicken and Dorado, Sea Bream. The food here is certainly fresh and delicious, strawberries, oranges, tomatoes are all extremely cheap and very flavoursome. I can imagine these streets and beaches in the height of summer being busy with people on package tours, where as now there are just a few people around, some you can tell are on golf holidays, with matching shirts and socks!

These fresh orange juice machines are all over the place and great for a refreshing drink.....we've now bought an orange squeezer and have it for breakfast.

Gale beach

Then we continued west to a beautiful section of stunning coastline where we were able to walk along, access the deserted beaches, swim and eat in beach cafes. The sea here is a perfect turquoise in the sun, which suddenly seems to have become hot and the wind has warmed up. This is what we came here for and it is all wonderfully relaxing.