Monthly Archives: December 2017

Giant steps are what we take…Touring the Algarve.

Were still on the hunt for something interesting, still coming up empty-handed. The wind’s picked up, possibly a change in the weather is due, but the forecast is optimistic, (or lying). We felt obligated to visit ‘the most south-westerly point of mainland Europe’, the ‘Cabo de Sao Vincent’, a lump of rock that juts out into the Atlantic which attempts to batter it into submission and turn it to sand, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, waves batter these cliffs. So far this out-crop has resisted, where other cliffs have failed…hence the miles and miles of sandy beaches.

Great beaches of the Algarve. This one is at Sagres

As usual, there’s a story attached to the Cabo ‘St. Vincent’, as with every saint here in Portugal (like in Spain), this one’s a corker! During the days of the Christian persecution, St Vincent, then just a Deacon, was burned alive back in 304AD, there was an immense blinding light & the overpowering song of angels, so he was declared a martyr and then a saint. A whole 400 years later, his bones apparently wash up on a beach in a small boat, guided by Ravens! Now this fella is the patron saint of Portugal, so Alfonso Henriques, Portugal’s first Christian monarch, has the bones lifted & taken to Lisbon, the Ravens apparently followed old well traveled St.Vinny back to Lisbon and guard the tomb until the last one died in 1978….not convinced? It’s solid, undeniable stories like this that underline the reason for doubt in folks like me. After hearing all these stories of saints bones returning back from centuries afloat at sea, fully cooked cockerels leaping up from the dining table, and visions of The Virgin Mary that only 3 young girls could see, these stories seed scepticism in the most gullible of simple folk like me. I believe in the power of electricity more than any of these tales, yet I can’t see that either, but the stories, true of yarns add colour and entertainment to an area.

It’s looking increasingly like we’re not going to find what we’re looking for here in ‘The Algarve’. It’s a suit that doesn’t fit. If we liked annual holidays laying on a beach, heat, sun, restaurants, cafes & bars, then we’d be right at home. But we don’t and its winter. Everywhere is on tick-over until Easter warms the mercury, until it touches 25 degrees and those (cheap-as-chips) easyjet / Ryanair coaches of the sky start rolling in. Booked-it, packed-it, fucked-off.

The ‘Common’ Stork

A week ago, with the help of Laura we planned a post-drop at a campsite. I called ahead to confirm they would accept post for us and Laura kindly sent out our package containing a 2018 ACSI card, an insurance ‘Green card’ & a hard copy of out Charliebus insurance Certificate. As yet, 4 days later…no show. LPG was running low, the local BP had run out, so we take a 15km detour into Portimao to find the next LPG station and stumble over a shopping arena containing, C&A and a Waitrose/Iceland combination. Our biggest ever single spend in Portugal, sees the freezer replenished with (long forgotten) Linda McCartney pies and burgers. We march back with full bags and grin like the Cheshire cat that got the rennet-free cheese. Not only meat-free goodies were drooled over, Heinz beanz, Cadbury’s fingers and proper coleslaw were stashed into every corner of spare space. Now we’ve to keep the speed down on round-a-bouts, or we’ll end up tipped over on our side, up to our waists in UK brand names, knocked unconscious by 57 varieties.

Our spoils from Portugal’s Portimao’s, Iceland-cum-Waitrose.

We’re finding ‘The Algarve’ coast to be a little under whelming, as we did last visit. So we hang around long enough to collect the mail package and head inland to Silves. We approach one of 5 Aires close to the historical centre, to find the largest collection of Norwegian and Swedish MoHo’s we’ve ever seen. 10 ‘N’s and 7 ‘S’s all lined up for the winter. Mrs Aire-keep informs me some of them are here until Easter!!. Add another 3 French, 4 German and 4 Brits and the Aire is officially FULL and we’re last in.

All tucked up with the Nor-swedens.

Silves (a little over-sold by our guidebook wee-thinks) a Moorish conception and at one point the ‘Capitol of the Algarve’. A red-sand-stone walled city and ‘sophisticated, stronghold’. We were expecting much…possibly too much. But the history is worth a read: back in 1190 the Christian crusaders (back to the Templers) fancied the look of this walled town for themselves. So for 3 months they hassled the occupants and guarded all the routes into and out of the stronghold. The 30,000 inhabitants soon ran out of food and water and agreed to open the gates. Contrary to promises of leniency (had our fingers crossed), the crusaders slaughtered more than 6,000 fleeing Moors…the rest fled and the walled city of Silves changed government and religions. The Moors regained the town briefly a few years later, but it fell back into Christian hands for good in 1249.

A pleasant enough town, a nice walk on nice sunny Sunday afternoon, but more than half a day and we think you’d be struggling…whatever are all those Nor-Swegens going to do for the rest of the winter?

Time to exit the Algarve , Obrigado Portugal, set the controls for Seville! Olé.

A ‘backwards’ caravan mounted onto a flat-back lorry…ingenious. This one’s from Ireland.

Sleeping Spots:

Sagres n37.00705 w8.93965 Very large car park behind tourist info (which also gives out a trickle of WiFi) town dead. CP full of long term ‘hippys/surfer’ types. FREE no services, but services just up the road at Intermarche.

Figuiera caravan park. n37.07307 w8.84530. Aire/Park €7 + EHU €1.All services. Iffy WiFi @ 500kbp/S. Chucks & woofers!!! A collection of UK plated MoHo’s.

Lagos. n37.11550 w8.67870. Very large car park attatched to an Aire (€3 for the CP too) Dump free. Water is €2, a Jetton from the sports staduim reception. Surprisingly quiet.

Alvor, n37.12393 w8.59588 Large FREE car park next to a mud-quagmire Aire. Loads of vans. Alvor worth a walk around.

Silves, n37.19390 w8.43550 Smart Aire. E8.50 inc. EHU. WiFi @ 1.5Mb/s!!! (off between 23:00-08:00) Showers ¢.50/5 mins. Free dump & water. Noisy in mornings. Perfect location for Silves town. Dozens of storks.

Bonus pic: Not often we see a Zebra double-Decker-bus from GB outside our front screen!

Merry Christmas…Wayne.

PS, We got our post drop! Thanks Laura XX