Santa Luzia

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Santa Luzia
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Thought I’d found some army ordinance on the beach unexploded …
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…a light beacon after the storms !
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Family snap
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Captain becs
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Cataplana of fish and octopus oh and some clams but Rebecca found all those !!
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A wet harbour in VRSA
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A walk along the beach into Tavira
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Stag beatle struggling in the sand
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One of the better looking crabs, an absolute stunner in modern design.
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Ferry back from the barra
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Windy cliffs

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So much for his lucky shirt !
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He looks like he’s struggling to keep up with his big sis !
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My birthday treat
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Alvor……
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….beaches.
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The hang gliding cliffs at Tomates
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Sangria all round then
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Weather picking up a bit
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Endless beaches and drawing games.
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Birthday picnic, egg n sand cobs !
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A well balanced set !
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That’s it then till the next, last !! Family holiday 😊
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Birthday presents.

With the family clan now in Portugal and the weather still very changeable it’s car hire as opposed to cycles, actually the car was cheaper.

So we set off to see the Algarve in the rain and storms, food and drink and a good laugh we had doing it.

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Silves

With the rain imminent I went looking for higher ground and found it at Silves, a busy little place with its own Castle at the top ( where else would you put one) river at the bottom (where else would you find one) and a jazz bar on the water front and all the pirri-pirri grill cafes you could ask for. A cycle ride into the hills to find the Barragem and a look at the exhausted water levels before the rains and perhaps a return visit for a comparison photo. So with all the family in the UK experiencing “the beast from the East” I settle in for a bit of grilled chicken and jazz !

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Silves and it’s public places
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A sign of times gone by collecting the cork
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Scarves on the trees at the riverside but it wasn’t that cold, honest.
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Even the storks sense better weather on the horizon so they reclaim their old nests
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Off to the dam then !
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Very low
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They build dams up in the hills so the views are always beautiful
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Said it would rain….
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…and it did some for a week or more
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So the jazz bar it is then !
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Return trip and the levels have hardly shifted
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Neither have the hardy dam dwellers !

 

Alvor & Praia dos Tomates

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Alvor rock…..
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….beach and waves….
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….rock, beach and waves.
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Portuguese cycle path, get off and brave the bottleneck traffic, must be uk trained !
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Off the beaten track all is peaceful. The sign says in Portuguese, you can drink the water but on your head be it !!
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A packed lunch in Silves, looks good so with the weather breaking this looks like my next port of call.
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View of a near empty beach at Tomates
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Dramatic…… look close and you can see ancient medieval rock art…
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……sand formations
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Some work gone into getting you on and off the beach
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If you find boats you can usually find a bar !
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Oh, right on que ! Looks like a topless bar as well.
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I bet these where fully booked on Valentines night
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You can walk all day on some of these beaches yet only half an hours walk into Portimao in the right direction

Portugal

So we have worked our way over the border into Portugal and into the car park that is Castro Marim, then down to the river front in Vila Real de Santo Antonio, at €4.50/day it’s time to do some laundry. We stayed a couple of nights before heading into Santa Luzia to recce the digs Rebecca and Shaun will be stopping at for my birthday week, with Chris flying home from Faro we moved on to Praia dos Tomates to spend a few days behind the beach cafe, it’s a regular visit now as we found it by accident last year. With one night in the car park literally at the end of Faro airport runway, yes the novelty did wear off pretty quick but they stop flying after 21:00hrs so we slept ok.

As she took off to the worst winter weather in living memory in the UK, I headed off to the Irish bars of Alvor to catch another six nations weekend !

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Chasing shadows
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Portuguese fishing fleet hauled up by tractor right next to the beach restaurant
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Always work to be done
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Well if they take the trouble to catch it the least we can do is taste it !
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It’s a long way back when the tides in and the sand is soft
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Best hurry up misses the tide stops for no man (or woman)
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Time out for sunset
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Santa Luzia for morning coffee
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The beach walk is a trek in itself all 4 odd mile of it
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The things you find on the tide line
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Lunch stop, I’m guessing in the summer those umbrellas are thatched and thousands of books are being read every day !
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This guy popped in to scrounge a crust but look closely and you can see the result of fishing line and hooks have on the local wildlife
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A good winter beach walk takes all the hard skin off you’re feet ! Bargain !

Vila Nova de Cerveira

VN de C sits on the Rio Minho the border with Northern Spain so a last stop in Portugal, dedicated spot for 5 vans but loads of overspill into the adjacent car parks, cycle paths both ways along the river and this being a lovely little town on the river we had a few days before Spain.

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The town mascot
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The church outside the walled fortification
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Border protection from bygone days
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More of the pilgrims way into Santiago de Compostela
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Pilgrim cyclists
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River cycling is only flat as long as you don’t leave the valley, it’s all up hill if you do !
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Serious thoughts about an inflatable canoe !

Vila Cha & Porto

Ten miles North of Porto we found the camping park at Vila Cha, from free to €12.50/night but all the amenities, showers good enough for a double hair wash, luxury!

Met a couple of fellow adventurers, Julie and Martin, having just discovered paddle boarding they have upgraded their boards for “race spec” boards, nothing if not competitive, we will probably see them next doing 30 knots up some Spanish river some place ! Good luck.

After the drive along the spectacular Duro valley, Porto came as a big bustling port with all the tourism that goes with it but we we where looking forward to the famous Port houses to visit and sample their produce !

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Porto and the river
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Lunch on the waterfront
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The old way of transporting the Port down stream
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Then stored ready for shipment all over the world
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It takes a master craftsman to produce a barrel that big and water (Port) tight
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Fish n clams in Vila Cha itself
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Graveyards beautifully kept
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“please drink responsibly”

 

 

Peso da Regua

From the mountains to the Rio Douro upstream of Porto, by a couple of hours, to Peso da Regua, river crossings for road, rail and cyclists also a stopping off point for the huge river boats that defy any possibility of navigating the river !

The official aire overlooking the river is owned by the local fishing club and for a dedicated park with fresh and waste water facilities plus lekky hook up all for 3€, bargain. You can’t park a car in Mansfield for any more the 2 hours for that !

We took a train ride up river, hugging every spare piece of land not being used for grape and Port wine production, landscaped to perfection by Messers Taylor’s, Dow, Sandiman, Grahams to name but a few.

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Our house from the cyclist bridge
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Mr Sandiman greeting all who travel the Douro
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The trees shed a fine white silk like down the whole place looked like a frost had struck.
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The Captain !
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How these huge elegant vessels navigated the river this far up and further amazed me.
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When it comes to Port what’s your colour ?
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These tiles adorn most of the train stations and are now protected as “Listed” in Portuguese terms
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Deface or damage at you’re peril !

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Looks like Buster Keaton was here at one time !

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I found it a stunning river