585-589: Moving on to the End of the World

585 – Monday 2nd January 2017:  Rain Soaked in Luz

Monday in 2017 – where did 2016 go? Answer – beautifully….  K did a quick supermercados shop and we returned the lovely ‘Oscar-ka-ka’ – Ford Ka – we would drive the model again.  Really nippy.

Walk to Luz (pronounced ‘Loos’) where no loose women live… It wasn’t really going to rain – was it?  Then what are those bits of moisture from the sky – is my nose running?  Alas, it was ‘baisteach’ – rain in Irish Gaeilge. We reached Luz to find all the coffee shops closed (or at least with no awnings out for those with dogs … something to do with the wind and rain?) and retreated by road instead of the knee-deep clover path we had arrived by.  Maps.me app is generally brilliant, but somehow we’d missed a turn and ended up circumnavigating, a la Henri the Navigator, clumps of bamboo, around ditches and finally over a wall.

We haven’t had rain for a month … really can’t complain!

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Another stick and ankle deep in clover.

 

586 – Tuesday 3rd January:  Golf and Danish Bastard

Margaret, Shirley and I decided the play the Algarve equivalent of the Ryder/Solheim Cup of Scotland v Ireland…  Nice to see that Margaret calls Shirley ‘the bum-biter’ – she bit our bums big time!  Margaret and I went sand castle building in bunkers while Shirley’s short game dominated.  A new word to us … “babu” = bloody awful but useful.  Another was a “mother in law” = M or S mother-in-law used to shoot sideways out of a bunker to extract herself.  We were sort of ‘bunkting’.  

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K had done laundry and run a doggydaycarecentre for the few hours, kindly.   A BBQ of an unknown fish, translated as croaker… hope no one croaked from it!  Cards – rummy and a new game to us called – Danish Bastard:  you just think you are going out when some Bar Steward makes you pick up a fistful of cards … and of course, post Championship celebratory drinkies.


587 – Wednesday 4th January: Cleaning and Super Supper

Morning run with Oscar – we will need to run separately and without him – he just pull us all over the place, if we can’t let him off the lead.  We cleaned Jez inside and had a major sort out – always satisfying.  We are still just about in the season of “Deck yer balls with bows of jolly”… although our decorations came down on 2nd Jan … can’t bear all that clutter and our Christmas balls constantly dropping from whence we had loosely masking taped them.  

One amusing interlude – fellow motorhomers chatting at our pitch – the gentleman seeing K said – “is that your daughter?” !!!  Huge compliment for K – but moi?  She needs to stop calling me Daddy now…

Shigs and Migs (sorry girls – I am having a Martini Cocktail as I write) – Shirls and Curls came over for an aperitif and continued to tutor us in the card game “Danish Bastard”!  Lots of calls of “you bar steward” and “bugger” ensued.  They then kindly took us out to the campsite restaurant for a super duper supper – buffet with loads of good food and vino.  It was to be our last evening together and there was a sense of sadness too.  We first met S&M near Inverness in June last year (already we have to say 2016 is last year!).  It was only a weekend, but we hit it off.  We both write up our travels in our blog, so we have got to know each really well through our reflections.  They have totally made Christmas and New Year for us and we know we will see them early summer in Scotland.

I’m enjoying relearning guitar chords on my super Christmas gift from my gorgeous K… Status Quo – be warned! 

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The Last Supper.  For a while.

 

688 – Thursday 5th January:  To the end of the world and beyond

After a fabulous time at Lagos Camping, we sadly said adieu to S and M and headed west for some 10 days of ‘wilding’.   Happy holidays to Boo, Poppy, Maigret and Sherlock!   We’ve never stayed on a site for so long …. it helped having the car to zip about in, but if we ever get to the stage where travelling palls or is too much, we reckon we could stop here for a couple of months.  It feels strange setting off in Jez, sort of familiar routines of packing up and doing checks, but unfamiliar through lack of recent use.  But it is good to be on the move again.  Still water stagnates.

Sagres – a massive fort, originally built by of Henry the Navigator and sacked by Sir Francis Drake in 1587 – he wrecked most of the coastal towns and fortifications around here – he must have been a very busy man.  The guide book describes him as a ‘privateer’  – more like a pirate really.  Amazing that Portugal is friendly to us, and certainly in the South students are offered French and English from grade 7, but 99% choose English.  The fort gave impressive views out along this cliff coast.

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A replica of the Portuguese-stake-my-land-cross that used to be placed on all new territories during the years of exploration and acquisition.

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Hitting the W coast and the Atlantic … Surfer territory.

Nightfall finds us peacefully at Cape St Vincent – the most southwestern point in Europe – Atlantic waves crashing in the darkness – just a few motorhomes for company – Oscar, ourselves and beautiful memories of our times with Shirley and Margaret – and of course, Boo and Poppydog!

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SW point of Portugal.  Pic taken by a couple of English lady walkers who were fascinated by the freedom of our lifestyle.

Now, I am unashamedly plagiarising Margaret and Shirley’s blog where Boo-the-dog gives his commentary and Poppy-the-tart usually gives a riposte of ’Tee Hee”.  The following is an interview between Richard Dimbleby (or did he hit the dust in 2016 too?) and our Oscar…

RD – Now Oscar – are you happy with your new owners?

O – They’re ok but they need to smarten up their act in the feeding me more often department.

RD – OK, noted, but what about the travelling?

O – It’s a bit boring lying on the floor of a nice 26’ foot tin can for a few hours – but when we stop, I let them both out for a pee. And a number 2 modestly – I don’t want them being messy – so I clear up after them, of course – they’re still being house trained by me.  James is the one I worry about – he wants to wave it all about and it spoils his aim but he’s OK.

RD – So you’re actually happy with life generally?

O – Definitely – but that Shirley is a real ‘bum biter’ – Boo and Poppy need to watch her – and Margaret the ‘Danish Starbewart’ – sorry Dicky – they keep adding gin to my rummy dinner…

And it’s goodnight from us at Vap Can Viventos…..

 

589 – Friday 6th:  Cliffs, Castles and Beaches

Morning – running and Pilates – Oscar was pulling a lot less than the other day… (he did not have J in his sights … the game “where’s James” and run to him is not the best when trying to run oneself!).  The most amazing coastal views for the run and stretches … it really cannot get any better than this.

We drove to a magical surfing beach at “Androphone” or it sounded like that? Actually Amado beach at Carrapateira – about 50 motorhomes parked up.  Plenty of surfers and loads of room for Oscar to run – even though he may have been tired after his interview last evening. He’s been booked by Sky for next week…  

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Amanda beach: great rocks and big wide sandy beach.

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Oscar found a friend to chase him- unusually larger than him.

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Surfer … we’ve not been tempted to get our wet suits on and I don’t think our small polystyrene boogy board would have fitted in here … they were all too good.

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Colours were just beautiful.

Then to Al Jazur (which in Arabic means ‘island’ – 10th Century castle and lovely views.  Actually James, it was Aljezur. Lunch and a walk up to the Moorish castle for the views.  

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Whilst we had lunch, I heard a few cow bells in the car park.  What?  

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View of the hills that we’re headed to tomorrow and in the foreground excavated Moorish house footings.

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This view is out to the estuary leading to the sea.

Next adventure was at our overnight stay – Villa Nova do Milfontes – the first time we’ve wilded alone since Dungeness in October!  Stunning cliff faces and we can hear the waves as K prepares prandials – gin and tonic for K and gin cocktail for moi… 

And Oscar is not having din with his gin dins tonight (would we?) – never…


580-584: Still on Holiday in the Algarve

580 – Wednesday 28th December:  Luz and Cleaning

Wednesday – already?  Mega cleaning – garage unpacking and floor washing – I used the ladder with the intention of climbing on to Jez’s roof – and wimped with lack of handrails – hence no roof washing.  K reorganised lots of cupboards – result, I cannot find my – socks!  Never mind, I can ‘reorganise’ something…   Motorhomers will know -when you unpack and then repack, things don’t quite go back where they should be?  

We drove down into Praia de Luz (pronounced ‘Loose’) – is nice – but ordinary.  Just discovered that this is infamous for Madeleine McCann … K bought a cream wool cardigan from one of the street stalls, who did the sob story that she had 100 children to feed and no sales!  Full of English and the bar where we had coffee had a Portuguese / English only menu.  No dogs signs for the beach.

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Lovely rocks again along this part o the coast.

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I forgot to add this pic to the last posting … on Christmas Eve when ‘home alone’ Oscar had unwrapped one of J’s Christmas pressies … so when it came to opening his own, he was an knew exactly what to do!

And here is Shirley’s Christmas song that she wrote and performed in Christmas Evening.  Boo is one of their dogs.  

A Christmas Song (sung to the tune of “Mary’s Boy Child”)

 

We’re all having fun in Portugal

Far away from ice and snow

While friends at home sit shivering

In several degrees below

 

Katherine and James and Oscar Dog

Have travelled from afar

Their van is packed with so much stuff

They’ve had to hire a car

 

Chorus

Tapas, chicken, Christmas pud

And jolly good company

I couldn’t eat another bite

Ah, go on, it’s Christmas Day.

 

Chris and Mary have joined us here

Bringing tidings and good cheer

They also bring their cocktail skills

And plenty wine and beer

 

Mags and Shirl love to celebrate 

And any excuse will do.

Someone has a birthday today

The baby Jesus and of course Boo!

 

Chorus

 

So Happy Seventh Birthday Boo!

One of our cheeriest kids

We’ll take you for a birthday walk

And avoid the cattle grids

 

Let’s raise a glass to absent friends

And to those we hold most dear

And give thanks for this Christmas Day

And all the gifts of this year

 

Chorus

 

581 – Thursday 29th December:  High Alte in Rocha da Pena

As I write this, our Oscar dog is sitting on K’s knee sprawled across her – and loudly “snoring”!!! He’s “Osnoring! Pic to follow…

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Back on subject – Alte is a small hill town and a cold wind prevailed – We had coffee and a nice picnic lunch. 

We drove to nearby Rocha da Pena – walked for a couple of hours on a limestone ridge with some beautiful mixed wildlife – and only the end of December – Spring flowers!  We met an English couple who just bought a house here and raved about the area.  Having been coming to the Algarve for over 10 years, they’d bought in the more fertile and less populated with Brits western Algarve.  We can see why they like the hills.

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The Nossa Senhora da Assuncao containing more wonderful carvings and rare blue Sevillian painted tiles.

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The Fonte Grande in Alte, where towns folk collected water and did washing.  Now a picnic area with tiles and statues dedicated to a local poet.

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Picnic lunch:  Oscar just gets water.  And yes, he’s up on the bench.

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Yummy Portugese custard tarts … warm.

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We’re going up there?

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We made it!  Wonderful views.

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A ridge dated from the Iron Age and used as part of a defence system by the Moors.

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Would that be ANOTHER stick, Oscar?

 582 – Friday 30th December:  Crumbling Cliffs in Carvoeiro

Lonely Planet describes Carvoeiro as a “cluster of whitewashed buildings rising up from tawny, gold and green cliffs backed by hills.”  Seemed like a good idea to walk along the cliff to a light lunch in the town …

Stunning scenery along the cliff walk – a walk which would have been banned by the HSE in the UK – but it was doable….. just.  Having scrabbled and largely kept Oscar on the lead as he has no sense regarding staying away from the crumbling cliff edge, we decided the cliff path was exhilarating, but just getting to the town was excitement enough.  We would go back to the car by road!

We met an English family in town – why Oscar’s fur feel funny?  That would be because K gave him a mega short crew cut!  She told the young lad that as a teacher she used to ‘improperly’ stroke the head of any students with new crew cuts … !?!  We explained about his origins – most questions came from a 10-year-old boy who lives in France and is completely bilingual. Oscar’s non-verbal communication is – ‘globalingual’.  The inevitable ice creams just launched themselves at us from a shop – yummy indeed.   Loads of hugely upmarket villas here. 

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So much new rock fall so fresh colours. 

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We hugged the fence on the left clambering up.

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Caves washed out from under where we’d walked!  Just ready for a big wave and then another part of the cliff will come crashing down!

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A recent landfall.

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No sex please, we’re British!  Saturday and Sunday are named, but Monday to Friday get numbers, starting with number two.
 

583 – Saturday 31st December: New Year’s Eve

K was lying in bed – and had a brainwave – I thought she was looking romantically at me with intent – she was gazing at the roof light thinking ‘”can I stuff my hubby up there?”  She can stuff the knocking out of me anytime… Let’s knock the knocking on the head now, James… We both crawled out through the romantic roof light and – cleaned the roof thoroughly (had a romantic kiss up there) and then cleaned the bodywork too – a very satisfying afternoon. 

The gorgeous girlies Shirls and Mags kindly drove us to the New Year fireworks in Lagos after a prandialissimo ‘KHC’ (K Haut Cuissine’.  Now Ocsardog doesn’t like noise – if somebody sneezes, he wonders where the earthquake is!  When the wireforks started, he commenced his quivering – and our bravest team member – the Rt Hon Member for Oscarbury in South Gloucestershower – retreated with O to a nearby bar and forced herself to drink port!!!   

“Bo Anno” to all our friends and families – everywhere…

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More help with my Pilates – at one point Oscar’s little Dutch friend Fluffy was helping too.

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584 – Sunday 1st December: Barragem Bravura Walk

The old braincells were in 2nd gear after a wonderful night with some Vino Collapso – thus our perambulations around the Baragem Bravura were cut somewhat short.  We do work in sync – we both weren’t feeling the planned mega trek.  How long shall we walk for?  10 mins, no make it 20 then we’ll turn.  We retreated to Jezville and barbecued  – and then to early zzzzburgh…. not even a wirecog!

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Barragem Bravura.

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Is it time to turn around?


Oscar is our second Welsh Springer Spaniel … even though he is most un Spaniel like.  

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Our Oscar.

Resting will

And I dug out a pix of our last Welsh Springer, Will the Wuss.  Oscar is definitely more butch and heavier set.

 

570-579: On Holiday from a ‘Holiday’ in the Algarve

570 – Sunday 18th December 2016:  Resident in Lagos

We left our really lovely pitch and at the Barragem Arade and headed back to Turiscamp, where we had stayed with the Aged P’s for 4 nights.  A quick stop to fill with LPG, which is easy to find over here and we arrived around lunchtime.  Just as we were hunting out the motorhome services and causing a traffic jam, Margaret and Shirley and their two pooches spotted us.  I went into a mega washing load – having established that my twin tub was not in fact broken … the last site in Olhao where I had used it, had blown the fuse.  Relief, and a good week’s washing plus bedding completed.  M and S (wonder if they get dubbed S&M – can’t imagine that they’re into hurting people!) joined us for a cuppa and a tour of Jez.

571 – Monday 19th: We Gets Wheels

Is it Monday?  One of the many joys of full time travelling is – what day is it?  Well, any day will do – every day is a holiday…  Katherine and Margaret did the fitness stretching class.  I took delivery of our hire car; whilst the campsite is possibly the best we’ve ever stayed on, it is not walking distance to much and we didn’t want to be moving Zez every other day.  The car will also give us access to some of the smaller hill towns.   With me behind the wheel … the first real car I’ve driven since April 2015 (!!!), we headed into Lagos (pronounced “Lagosh” – so we couldn’t avoid “oh my gosh we’re in Lagosh” quips) for a wander and and ice-cream.  The ice creams were delicious – not ‘Siciliano’ standard – do we worry?  Supermarket shopping… an ancient ‘Axiam’ car parked too close and scraped our Ka car a little, whilst I was sat in it with Oscar. The even more ancient driver in sign language vehemently denied everything blaming on me – ‘no blame culture’? …  Fortunately, we have a cover all policy and this little scrape will bend with the others on the car.  

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We dubbed the hire Ford Ka … Os-Ka-Ka.

572 – Tuesday 20th:  Silves

Another gem of a town – Portugal is growing in a major way on us…. cork shops – coffee – very quiet.  K’s purchase of cork items was the shop’s first of the day and the shop seller said the Algarve is quieter than normal for this time of year.  Suits us.  Quiet – a bit like Radio 3 – if you’ve heard the John Coleshaw comedy BB4 Radio show …. “Quiet.  Shhh – there’s nobody out there” .  Other classics from this programme were:   President George Bush wanted to visit ‘Afganistanshire’?  Vice P Dan Quale (allegedly) refused to visit Latin America because he didn’t speak Latin???  We love America…  Do get back on track, James… 

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The Silves version of the Roman Bridge … all to do with the style of construction, not age.

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Again, lots of storks roosting.  They make one hell of a clatter to communicate.

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The Cathedral.

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We took turns in the castle.  This was a cistern that now is used as an exhibition space.  However, when it use, the literage fed the whole town with water for a year.

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This well is dubbed the well of dogs, as a number to strays were flung down it only to reappear a few days later.  It is believed that an escape passage leads out into the countryside.

 

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Fabulous views all the way round the wall.

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Double knockers!  But not the same.   Moorish origin.  The right hand one is smaller and ladies should use this to knock.  The lone woman of the house then knew a lady was at the door and that it would be safe to open it.  But only, of course, if the robber / rapist male played by the rules.

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Picnic by the river on a thoughtfully provided bench; fortunately we had equally thoughtfully packed our chairs.

573 – Wednesday 21st December:  Are we Feeling Christmas Yet?

Dawn dawned at the usual hour for us – 0900 hours in military time – Katherine, Mary, Chris and Margaret did the fitness class – I had some (?) difficulty in forcing myself (oh, the pain) to stay in bed for a while longer… 

Shopped for Christmas decorations – thankfully, Portugal has not the UK style of over commercialisation of the festive season…but we are getting more more Christmassy… 

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly…”  We’ve learnt from the cellotape mistake of last year.  It pulled off some of the wood effect when the decs came down.  Using masking tape this year: definitely not as sticky as we have to keep re-sticking bits.

Margaret and Shirley brought Chris (M’s son) and Mary (wife of C) over for soup and cheese and a listen to Handel’s Messiah.  Back home, we’d often seek out a concert or carols and so we had our own bit of culture here.  

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Lights, tinsel and decorations … Oh and the saddest ever of Ponsettias, dropping leaves at a fast rate … should make it to Christmas Day, but not, perhaps New Year.

574 – Thursday 22nd December:  Alvor

Alvor is not far away and we didn’t visit the town, but it definitely the best beach we have seen for ages – it goes one for miles – stunning (have we used that word before on our travels – a lot?) sunset…fabulous!  We did a circular walk, starting along a path behind the dunes by the wide tidal estuary.

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Clam pickers at low tide.

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Lots of names picked out in stone … I wonder how often the stones are recycled.

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575 – Friday 23rd December: Faro

Faro is the capital of the Algarve, so relatively large.  The walled old town centre is nice to visit, but not too much to see and therefore maybe not return.   Our visit weather was cold to begin – a warming coffee in a local bar – and then – wall to wall sunshine!  The TIC chap told us to hurry along to a Church dedicated to St Francis as it had some really good blue tiles depicting his life (no pix allowed).  A really nice Cathedral – good views from the roof top walk… an excellent lunch – with – chips for moi….   We even bumped into Margaret, Shirley, Chris and Mary … small world!  We then headed to the Faro Forum … massive shopping mecca.  I stayed in the car with Oscar, once we’d found a parking place and watched the pre-Christmas stressed frenzy of people trying to get parked.  

K: I bought  replacement hard drive as the main one we used had packed up and Seagate would have wanted over £500 to rip the data from it !!!  Fortunately most data and pix were backed up to another hard drive and Dropbox, but we’ve lost the albums that we’d uploaded to iTunes … they’ve been dragged into the replacement iTunes, but having lost all their metadata, they appear as tracks with no artist or album attached … if anyone has any ideas ….?  There was also a massive Jumbo superstore, so i bought what I needed for Christmas.  The Algarve, is NOT cheap.  I spotted a bottle of Brockman’s Gin – a snip at EUR38 … it was delivered at home for under £30.  It stayed on the shelf!  I did find some Bols Advocat – now that is Christmassy 🙂

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Dome full of christmas Trees decorated by the local community.

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Typical old town street.

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The Se – the Cathedral.

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Views from the top …

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Beautiful blue tiles inside …

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With wonderful baroque wood carvings …

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… Check out the number of cherubs – enough to open a kinder garten!

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This one’s trouble … he’s a rapper!

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Small, but a Chapel of Bones.

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One of the old town gates.

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Would that be chips James?  Must be another lunch then!!!

576 – Saturday 24th December:  Christmas Eve

Running quite early, I went back to my roots – some sprint training repetitions – 600 metre reps with slow recoveries – magic endorphins – or is it ‘el dolphins’ – I had quite forgotten the benefits of intensive exercise.  

Oscar got a rather severe trim … two months worth of fur and fluff … a little too bald in places; we’re having to apply sun lotion!

Supper with Margaret, Shirley, Mary and Chris in the bungalow … Haute Cuisine salmon and too much wine…  

The forecast is good for our second Christmas Day away – we hear it will be the warmest Christmas for many years in the UK.   

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OK, we can live with this!

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Oscar helping and doing his Pilates 100’s!

577 – Sunday 25th December:  It Must be Christmas Day!

A slow start … something to do with K’s foggy brain …. too much imbibed last night.  A sort of American style supper day – Tapas at ours at 1:00 pm, rest – dinner at S&M’s later – lots of silly games – pass the orange via bodily parts – enough of that…  A yummy Portuguese Chicken casserole and Mary made the most stunning Christmas Pudding, ever!  Songs, recitations, Charades – I even managed to imitate Robby Williams song ‘Angels’ for my Charade… Note the silly sunglasses…

If you can’t be with family, being with good friends in 20 C sunshine cuts it pretty well.  It’s a good life…

We remembered absent friends in our toasts… 

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Just how photogenic is Shirley – sporting her Xmas sun glasses.

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We all had sunglasses and hats …

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… except Oscar who just had tinsel, which did stay on all day!

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Don’ ask!  It involved two oranges and gales of laughter.

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And we only met yesterday!

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Racing Santas:  oops two hit the deck and mine is doing an about turn. 

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Main course and pud in the warmth of the bungalow.    The panorama shot did something a bit strange to the visage of our menfolk and Mary really does not have a bottle up her nose!

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Shirley singing her especially written song for Christmas.  We were all in it and sang along to the chorus (except me, as I can’t sing a note!)

578 – Monday 26th December:  Praia da Roche, near Portimao

Beaches in Portugal are wonderful – in December – August must be overcrowded – we like ‘uncrowded’ places…. last Christmes in Punta Braccetto in Sicilia  was great but here there is more to do all around – ‘Ola’ to Dan and our friends in that lovely area – magic sunsets there too.  Walking along the cliff top and then on the beach  – ‘whoops no wallet’ – so no ice creams – but – (but K had preprared  a magic picnic).

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Amazing rock formations.

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Portomao looks totally uninviting … a town planners embarrassing scene of high rises.  I keep wanting to call it Torremolinas.  Can’t begin to imagine how packed this beach much be in high season with the amount of accommodation.

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Oscar joining me on our picnic bench.

 

579 – Tuesday 27th December: In Search of Shoes and Needles

We headed into Portimao centre in search of new running shoes for K – Aged P’s pressie and the correct sized knitting needles.  No luck today: shops shut for holidays or the wrong staff in.  

Evening BBQ – with S&M – M&S?  Sparks and Mincers?  Spanks and monsters?  Steady, James…  K is a pyromaniac with a firelog, as we know, Oscar… we are forbidden to mess with said ‘lirefog’!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

554-563: The Aged P’s and Portugal

554 – Friday 2nd December 2016:  Driving Day and Villa Real San Antonio

We basically awoke surprisingly OK after the excess of last night …. led astray by the Grey Gappers!  Having recently spent a few additional spontaneous nights at different places (we blame the company we’re meeting!), we had to head straight for Portugal for our rendezvous with my Aged P’s near Lagos.  We overnighted at VRSA (Villa Real San Antonio), having been told that it was a good stop over for cheap towels, bathrobes etc.  We parked in the gated aire there …. really not very pleasant and EUR4.50, as it was crowded, some rubbish and barking stray dogs if you headed one way…. all a bit derilict like the railway station adjacent.  However, it was walking distance to the town.  Essentially a few streets, selling only linen and towels.  The only other premises were cafes – we were not moved to stop and sample.  I did buy 3 small hand towels for Jez though.

555 – Saturday 3rd December:  Lagos – Turiscamp and THE AGED P’S 🙂

The Aged P’s had booked a bungalow for 4 nights at Turiscamp in Lagos and then for another 4 at Olhao … we’re stopping in Jez.  We’ve done this before, and the benefit of having them really close by is brilliant for those (all of us) that like to have a drink!  Turiscamp is extremely well run and clean.  I’ve never seen washrooms with smart tiles like here.  Don’t know how we do it, but we both pretty much arrived at the same time …   So good to see them.

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All immaculate, but given the rain there were not many users.

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Large pic, as need it for so many bottles.  Most of this is sherries … for sampling and comparing.  Tonight, we just finished a Canasta and ???, I forget!


556 – Sunday 4th December –  A Tax-ing Lunch

J here on:  One of the letters that Diane and Grahame brought was news of a tax rebate of £4k for me – an instant excuse for a good lunch out !  Excellent luncheon at a recommended fish restaurant in Lagos…..  Wines to accompany the dishes…Heavy rain most of the day !

Sherry sampling tonight was two Manzanillas and a Tio Pepe – a neighbouring motor homing lady saw the bottles on the booze bar in our van – she laughed when K said the contents had already been much reduced – by sampling !

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Prawns with garlic, salmon and swordfish … no room for pud.  We’re discovering that portion sizes in Portugal are HUGE. 

557 – Monday 5th December – Lagos

We wandered around the town centre and bought ice cream, some window shopping and some sunshine….  We even managed to loose Dad for a short while, but her turned up again like the proverbial bad penny, having already had an ice cream…

Sherry sampling tonight was the best of last night – the Tio Pepe and two Olorosso

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Even out of season, Lagos is geared to tourists.

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The market place where slaves were first traded.

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I did a couple of loads in my twin tub and turned the Aged P’s deck into a Chinese Laundry … spot the girl guide line back and forth from the eaves!

 

558 – Tuesday 6th December – Moncheekie (actually Monchique)

Aged P’s had been before and knew where to go … Caldas de Monchique – slightly bizarre spa hamlet with a nice atmosphere, built at the head of the spring, with a bottling plant and a spa hotel.  A few bars … so …early glasses of wine and uphill to a beautiful picnic spot …

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…  up to Foia, the highest peak in the Serra de Monchique.  Almost at the top we stopped for a picnic.  Mostly but great views out to the Atlantic (we thought it may be the S coast, but I checked it in the guide book).  Several cars were stopping to fill water containers from a spring … K went to investigate.  The very nice chap (38 yrs old, a site foreman who has worked all over Europe on major constructions, spoke excellent English and is home for a month for Christmas) gave me a 5 litre container to take away!  I spoke to an Irishman who has lived in London for 50 years and still has retained his inner city “Liberties”accent…

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Out to sea over humpy ground … I thought it looked volcanic (most places are!) and evidence of a recent fire.

Sherry sampling tonight was the best Olorosso of last night and a Cream and Moscatel.  Think we may have hit the Perdro Ximenez too!

 

559 – Wednesday 7th December 2016:  A Move East and a BBQ

We packed up from Turiscamp in Lagos and headed east to Olhao.  Whilst the Aged P’s bungalow was larger it was dark in side with dated decor … but it did have a great patio for a BBQ.  Sherry sampling tonight was a free for all, drinking up the ends of a lot of bottles!

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560 – Thursday 8th December:  Tuk Tuk Tavira and THE SEA BASS

Tuk Tuk treat was a Piaggio scooter driven rickshaw – electric power – Joachim was our very well informed guide – a one hour tour gave us an excellent potted history of Tavira…

Lunch at an Irish pub “The Black Anchor” turned out to be the most spectacular meal of the Aged Ps visit.  we’d only stopped for a drink thinking an Irish bar is not going to present the best of Portuguese fare, but how wrong were we – melon, parma ham, sea bass, veal, garlic prawns and fish cakes……..xxxxx  and wine… definitely worth the positive Tripadvisor post from K – and the same for the Tuk Tuk tour…..

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The Roman Bridge – called so due to its shape.

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Outside the free to enter small castle on one of the three hills … a garden and tower inside with views.

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We all just fitted in … and Oscar, who some unaccountable fear of my father (a dog friendly person … has to be … he’s dog sat, walked and fed all my other dogs), even lay quietly under his legs.

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561 – Friday 9th December:  Estoi and Milreu

Estoi promised much – and didn’t really deliver! A Pousada hotel (SLHW – “Small Luxury Hotels of the World”) built from an old palace – the guide books were out of date – the much vaunted gardens were shut and having rebuilding works – from what we could see, they were very early stages in this.  After a fairly brief walk, we selected a small cafe bar for lunch – and the resulting food was not very good!  On our tours, there have not been many places where we have experienced disappointment – not  a bad result in 20 months of full-time travelling…

On our way out of town, we looked for the Milreu Roman ruins – and guess what – we didn’t stop to even look having no signage to help us find them.    

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No entry here … 

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Very little to see garden wise, but you can see the impressive building of the Pousada behind.

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Square where we had the rubbish quality lunch … a nativity scene under the tarpaulin. 

 

562 – Saturday 10th:  Olhoa and a BBQ

Olhao town on Saturday has a bustling market – Grahame drove and found free parking near an carpark full of motorhomes.  Lots of caged birds, turkeys and chickens on sale – is Christmas coming soon?  K not tempted to buy a gooble cock and fatten it up!  We let Oscar off for a good romp along the seafront. A bit later, we found – guess what? – a cafe bar – for a glass of vino tintos!  Only one – as we had planned a BBQ for the afternoon….at chez Jez. 

I fired up the Weber (invented in Chicago – as was the Ferris Wheel – no obvious connection to Portugal – just nice to keep our reader informed…) with lumped charcoal from the Murco Fuel Station on the Gloucester Road near Almondsbury… will you get back on topic, James please!  OK so I won’t describe the ‘twigettes’ I used for kindling, then….  

Chicken and bits – and wine – for 4 ‘OS’ folks – no, not Ordinance Survey people – just ‘Old Soaks’!  No Sherry … tonight was a Port night.  White as an aperitif and a good red after.

Reasonably early to bed – Grahame and Diane will leave for a few days in Faro in the morning…and then back to the UK winter wonderland – just imagine readers – they have to wait a whole month before their next holiday in the sun in South Africa!  Life’s a real bummer…

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Faro is off to the left.

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Yes, mother is at the coffee again … all this caffeine really is not good for one!

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If not a pet turkey, how about a canary?

 

563 – Sunday 11th December 2016:  A Dry Day and Cleaning

After a nice week with K’s parents – outings and dining – we decided to have an alcohol-free day!  Yes, really!!!   Although we had not warmed to the campsite, as it is a bit higgledly piggledy laid out with lots of permanent caravans and campers, we decided to stop another day.  We’ve never seen so many huge Concordes and Carthegos … Nordic countries were well represented.  Today was van cleaning – our campsite has very sandy soil which seems to want to spread itself all inside our Jez home …  We had a ‘dry’ BBQ – unheard of!

You may notice our ‘booze bar’ is greatly reduced in quantity… but the produce was hugely enjoyed …

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