564 – Monday 12th December 2016: Tavira Revisited
After slowest ever fill of 140 litres into Jez’ empty water tank, we ‘escaped’ Camping Olhao. A bit unfair really, as it was not that bad as sites go and only cost EUR12 per night. Apparently, it dropped to 7.50, incl. electricity for a month long stay, and probably less for 6 months … no wonder so many long termers here. But not us … we’re off wilding and travelling for a week until our two week stay back at Turiscamp in Lagos.
We parked up by the Municipal Market in Tavira, with about 15 other motorhomes – a pitch we’d spotted on our Tuk Tuk tour with the Aged P’s. Getting towards lunchtime, so we headed straight to the Black Anchor, a bottle of white and sea bass for K ordered…. GULP SHOCK HORROR – they’d none left … sea bream it had to be! The waitress recognised us and once we’d emptied our bottle and went to wine and port by the glass, she filled them to the brim … and we managed a couple of Ports on the way home too … what a lovely day.
Beautifully cooked sea bream but not a patch on Mutt’s sea bass a few days earlier. I did NOT eat the chips … someone else made a good inroads into them!
Sunny, so the sun hat made an appearance …
Our view of the Roman bridge … we sat there so long that not only did we take root, the water level dropped from high tide.
And getting dark by the time we wended our way home.
565 – Tuesday 13th December – Alcoutim Caught Us
We wandered into the Tavira market in the morning, but not being Saturday, it was only half operational. We did leave with some fish though, including sea bass to compensate for the mild disappointment yesterday. Wrapped and in the freezer 🙂
By the time we arrived in Alcoutim at a fully serviced aire (even electric seemed to be for free, although we did not need it), it was lunchtime. A cuppa soup was all we had on board as I’d not made any soup recently … how about a wander into the town and have a SMALL DISH with a glass of water as TODAY IS GOING TO BE A DRY ONE? Stupid idea really, as we have 0 will power. Best laid plans and all that … we found a restaurant overlooking the river that acts as the border with Spain … full of locals and some tourists. Apparently Tuesday is when the fresh fish is delivered … but we only discovered this after having ordered. The menu only offered vegetable soup as a small dish …. what to do? J had chicken (frango in Portuguese – what great sounding word) and I had the veal stew. No kidding, mine could have fed a family of 4 … Literally a doggy bag: a dog poo sack came in handy for the meat I could not manage, i.e. most of it! As for being dry … it must have been cheaper to drink the house wine than water … a litre jug of red was all of EUR3 and very palatable. We also had a small plate of cheese, coffees and shared an almond cake with a glass of Port (each!) … total bill all of EUR21 …. we can really tell we’ve moved away from the expensive Algarve coast.
Spain with a massive fortress.
The only way across is on a small boat as a foot passenger.
Over lunch we’d started chatting to an English couple; they work the summer season in York, selling ice-cream from boats … and have a boat down here. Apparently you don’t need to register the boat with either Spanish or Portuguese authorities as the middle of the river is international waters. That explains why there are so many boats along here then.
We walked off our lunch wandering the narrow streets and then up to the castle. This castle was a lot more ruinous than its Spanish counterpart, but there were some good views. Seeing these castles and the river border, really brought home the history of battles across the border. We’ve been on and through so many border points, but here seems somehow more real.
Up by the aire are some signed walks, so took Oscar for a longer leg stretch. Part of the Algarve Way, which runs east-west follows the river nearby. And then I rectified the lack of homemade soup – tomato and basil and made a casserole with the veal for the freezer. Another most excellent day.
266 – Wednesday 14th December: A day of two halves
We’d already decided to stay another night and had planned to do a big local walk. However, the wet skies put paid to that … so we did a load of admin jobs. Including re-insuring our car that Dad drives / cares for for us. I’d got a few quotes as the current provider expected the best part of £500 – not happening! Bingo, £367and with adding J to the policy!
By the time the first of the tomato soup was consumed, the sun came out … boots on and off we set. A navigational error on my part … cut the walk a little short, but we still had a good two hours up in the hills and crossing / fording rivers that had swollen.
The whole of this hill side had the trees lined up in regiments.
It might not look much, but J got wet feet crossing and I spent some time throwing stones in to build stepping stones. J did some impressive stone skimming too.
Oscar looking remarkably comfortable in the water … not a good thing as we’ve not encouraged this with him being a van dog!
The next couple of rivers had stepping stones 🙂 And Oscar was wading up to his shoulders … when we first got him in August, he would walk around puddles! Oh dear!
Since we’d failed to have a alcohol dry day yesterday, we thought today would be …. however the walk finished back in the town centre … ho hum … back to the same bar / restaurant … a half carafe of red, followed by another! And two helpings of almond cake … not sharing now we know how good it is! The boating couple joined us … their boat sounds a lot more basic than a motorhome, and it doesn’t go anywhere as the engine is kaputt! They have small solar panel for a leisure battery and run everything pretty much off gas bottles. Water is what they can carry aboard … they have to use local showers … infrequently! We’ll stick with Jez thank you. Whilst we were in the bar a local arrived with a massive basket of wild mushrooms. He and some friends were BBQing them on the restaurant outside grill … a little salt and oil. We were offered samples too … mild tasting and the chap told us that the French and Spanish go mad for them. Can understand why. A good use of google translate and we found out they were Rovellones. A lovely interaction with the locals, which makes a day so memorable.
The basket and some of the mushrooms were really huge, honestly.
And just before we left … a rainbow.
Later on walking Oscar, both sides of the river were lit up … the Spanish all bright white and Alcoutim still using mellow yellow lights. Another reminder of the border.
Another superb day in the Clune household.
Taken from the cockpit of Jez … across to Spain.