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.
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.