4th February 2022 – 10th March 2022
We have settled into our little routine, knowing where to get the best Pastel De Natas (Custard Tarts), when the local markets are on and where the best laundrette is and not forgetting the chinese shops which are basically a shop that sells everything and I mean everything. It is an Amazon but in a physical shop form in Portugal. I sometimes wish they had them in the U.K. a one stop shop for everything. Don’t expect it to last very long or be very good, but whatever you need you will find it in here.
The first evening we arrived we were lucky to stay with friends that have settled down here, a beautiful villa looking over the Monchique Mountain range and we were treated to a full on Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Their family had to abandon their plans in December and we were lucky to benefit – OMG it was delicious !
We hired a small car to get around for the next 5 weeks which allowed us to explore some new areas of Portugal. What is so wonderful being here is the outdoor life, the weather has been amazing, the best that we have ever had during these months. I get my butt into gear, learning to Hula Hoop and swimming at the local municipal pool. The only thing is, they have asked me twice if I am a older person when paying. I just hope it is the mask wearing that confuses him and the fact that I go with two other ladies that are older and do get a reduction in the price. Well that’s what I have told myself.
We have been lucky enough to meet up with other friends, some now living here permanently and some others having to juggle the 90 days, under the new Schengen rules. We tried some new restaurants and returned to some that we have been to in previous years. Wild Boar Stew in the Monchique Mountains and the most amazing Lamb Chops in a restaurant that you could drink as much wine as you liked out of a huge wine barrel, sadly I was driving. David and our friend Roger certainly enjoyed afew glasses though.
We have watched an array of camping vehicles arrive from an huge yellow American school bus driven by a young Dutch couple to huge modern Motorhomes. There is also the German Motorhome that parked next to us, a huge vehicle that when it finally got parked, put up the satellite dish, only to find a tree obscuring the signal. He then moved the huge van to the other side of the pitch, up goes the satellite dish, twisting and turning all the time. Trying and trying to find a signal, in the end he drives off and parks where there are no trees. Ask anyone, a satellite signal is the most important thing to a German Motorhome and where they park. We haven’t had TV at all and I certainly do not miss it, especially now with all the terrible heartbreak in the Ukraine.
After a much needed day of rain we decided to take a little road trip up the West Coast to Praia Do Amado & Pontal Da Cara Pateria. David is so good at our little day trips out, always finding good places to go. As we have been lucky enough to have been to Portugal afew times, we have visited all the main towns and it’s nice to find somewhere new. The sky was grey and cloudy but this did not distract from the amazing coastline, which is all along the West Coast and just stunning. The previous day’s weather has created the most amazing waves, they were huge. Crashing onto the rocks and the beach, in great white rushing forms. As we stood on the top of the cliffs, which have fantastic walkways, you could hear the boom of the waves hitting the rocks. We could have just sat there all day, watching the most breathe taking moving picture. We continued driving along the dirt road, hugging the coastline and found a beach, parked the car and walked what felt like into a desert. Huge sand dunes leading to the shoreline, we both said that if Chloe had been here she would have been so excited to see so much sand. The beach stretched as far as the eye could see, a huge expanse.
I first came to the Algarve with my family and I think this was nearly 40 years ago, fond memories of family holidays in Carvoeiro. We returned this trip to visit Jorge a friend I first met all that time ago and we have continued to stay friends since. His unique family restaurant in Algar Seco nestled amongst the rocks, where both families shared some great evenings. Today, Jorge has a huge love of wine and has a beautiful wine bar in the town, with the most wonderful cellar filled with excellent wine. David is always in his element drinking lots of beautiful wine and when we visited Jorge this time, we tasted every dish from the menu, from prawns, risotto and a cheese board to die for. We had such a great evening, although by the time we got back to the campsite the gates were locked and we were greeted by a grumpy security guard who let us in.
We walked along familiar beaches during our stay, but it’s not the same without our four legged companion. My eyes gravitate towards any dog and I smile fondly at any looking like Chloe. Chloe loved the beaches here, so it was fitting that we brought her ashes with us. We decided to scatter them on her two favourite beaches Maia Praia and Praia Da Luz. She loved these beaches, but to be honest she loved any beach, she could smell them as soon as we opened the van or car door. It’s funny because until we bought the van she had been on very few beaches and only learnt to swim when she was 9 in Croatia. David is always telling me she had the best life and I am sure she did, but I still wish she was still here. Now a part of her will always be running free on these beautiful beaches in the Algarve.