Saturday, 13 February 2016

After our little 'Holiday'

After our Little 'Holiday'

Thursday 11th February 2016

Well, today our holiday at the lovely Villa Maria came to an end and it was time for us all to depart and go our separate ways, and this resulted in us all being a bit sad and despondent, and as expected, it all ended in tears on my part.  However, our time there had been very precious and had provided many happy hours with our family.

In fact, after our family had left, I felt the most homesick since our journey had begun 15 weeks earlier, and this wasn’t helped by the days dismal weather.  Still, we had to get on cos we'd chores to do - shopping and finding a parking place for the night.  The shopping was quickly achieved in our usual fashion at the local Lidl, and we aimed the T4rdis for Portimao where we knew there was a commercial Aire.  The attraction there was the beautiful beach, Praia da Rocha, where we strolled, first on a long prominentary that was being regularly swamped with waves, (we just managed to miss getting soaked), and then along the shore line and up onto a view point where we could see the continuation of the lovely coast.  

Portimao’s main claim to fame is that it is the second largest city in Portugal, but to be honest, we were fairly unimpressed with that aspect of it because, as usual, mostly what we found were bars, restaurants and shops nearly all selling beach paraphernalia!  

As you can see from the pics above the skies were laden with wet stuff, but happily we managed to dodge most of it, but it did result in us being back in the T4rdis quite early, giving us plenty of time to cook our fish supper and plan the next few days actives.

Friday 12th February 2016

This morning we set of for Cape Vincent - the most south westerly point in Europe, and an area of outstanding natural beauty that is almost completely surrounded by the Wild Atlantic - and as it was blowing a gale, it turned out to be a very wild place.  The high cliffs provide a Mecca for bird lovers and ornithologists, and it's also quite famous for the autumnal migration of over 300 species that include eagles, kites, buzzards, hawks and kestrels, along with numerous sea birds, and of course, the ever present black stork.  Interestingly, Peregrine Falcons also make their home here all the year round but we didn’t manage to spot any on this visit, but while we didn’t see flocks of birds, there were flocks of people!  They kept arriving by the coach load, but it never did get really busy because they only seemed to be allowed to alight from their transportation for a few minuets to snap a few pics before they were herded back on board for a quick departure!   A trip like that certainly wouldn't be our cup of tea!

Interestingly, we also learnt that Cape Vincent is the start point for several Grand Routes! There is the Caminho Historico (the green route) a 230 km hiking or mountain bike trail that wends it’s way through small villages and towns; or there is also a shorter route of 120kms - Trilho dos Pescadores - The Fisherman’s Trail.  This one has to be done on foot and follows the coastline mainly high up on the cliff edges, and it carries a warning - ‘
not recommended for people with vertigo or fear of heights’!

We managed to bag a parking spot right on the end of the peninsula with magnificent sea views on 2 sides, and we had the pleasure of strolling over the cliff tops to admire the  wild ocean.  

There were also quite a few other vans coming and going, and as it was so lovely we did consider staying put for the night, but following a chat with some fellow Brits we changed our minds when they advised us that it may be frowned upon.   Instead we trundled a bit further down the road to a massive car park where we parked for the night along with about 20 other vans, and although it wasn't quite so impressive, we still had a view of the wild sea.

As the afternoon rolled on the winds became stronger with occasional squalls of rain but we did manage another walk into Sagres - a sleepy little town that seemed to be having a token face lift ready for the ‘season’, however, the ‘season’ had obviously not arrived yet!  It all looked a bit tired and scruffy so we didn’t stay long, and it was a good job because soon after we got back to the T4rdis the rain became almost horizontal in the strong wind - I think we'll be well and truly rocked to sleep tonight.

Saturday 13th February 2016

Well, the strong winds and rain had persisted overnight so we were quite glad we'd chosen a slightly more sheltered spot that provide a nice little cocoon for the T4rdis!  Today we planned to backtrack a little to visit Praia de Luz, and because more rain was forecast, we'd decided to stay in a campsite that would only be a short walk into the town. When we arrived we were given a map with just a few vacant pitches and asked to go and choose our spot, and in the end we felt quite lucky to have got one because when we chattered with another couple who had been on site for a while they told us it had mostly  been completely full since Christmas.

We were soon settled in a very snug pitch - trees touching the back of the van and bushes at the front - it just looks as if the T4rdis has materialised in the space because there was really hardy any room for manoeuvring - I just hope we can materialise ourselves out again in the morning!  

Then, once we were fed and watered we set off for our little walk down to the coast.  This proved to be just over a mile, and although we'd set off with a few rays of sunshine to warm us, we later met several sharp showers, so by the time we got home we were quite wet!  But hey ho! We've got wifi, beer and  a good spot for people watching so we should be entertained for one day!

The stormy beach at Praia de Luz
Oh, and I forgot to tell you about our visit to Praia de Luz - we didn't stay long, maybe because of the bad weather it all looked a bit dismal, and although we'd planned to stop for a drink in one of the bars our plan was scuppered because they were all packed with people trying to shelter form the rain!  I'm sure it would've looked much more welcoming in the sunshine but we plan to move on and go up into the mountains tomorrow, so it may be something we'll never find out.

We met these few characters posing on the beach