Week 30 & 31 - I think we’ve taken root.

Week 30

Saturday 15th February 2014.

The weeks on this bog have started each Saturday and finished Friday for a while now but I see this saturday was included with last weeks blog giving you two saturdays in one week. Oh well, from now on the blog week starts on a Sunday, and did anyone spot the deliberate mistake in the Week 28/29 weeks blog? Dementia must be creeping ever closer.

Sunday 16th February 2014.

Rain, rain,rain,rain and yet more rain. Still unlike in the UK this rain is tolerably warm and we are not flooded (although some areas in the north of Portugal are).

Monday 17th February 2014.

Steve K had to get some bits for his motor home so we offered to drive him to the “local” English caravan/motorhome engineer Tommy. Tommy is well qualified and has a long queue of English, Dutch, German and French travellers for his services. He carries a good range of bits and bobs all at seemingly reasonable prices - leastways his Thetford toilet products were cheaper than any we have seen elsewhere.

Tuesday 18th February 2014

Looks like we have to get new tenants in our house from the 1st March, the current one’s don’t want to pay the rent. Over the past few months they have been paying later and later till Decembers arrived not on the 1st but the 30th so they were issued with a two month notice to quit which we tempered by saying that if January and February’s rent was paid on time it would be rescinded. January’s arrived around the middle of the month and February’s never did materialise. A shame as, if they had come and said they were having difficulty we would have been prepared to offer a “catch up plan”. Lets hope they go without too much problem.

Wednesday 19th February 2014

Another meal out tonight. We have been out to eat more times on this trip than we have in years, not that we don’t like going out to eat we just don’t normally quite get round to it (particularly as I am now the permanent designated driver) but ex-pats R & F have been taking us to all their favourite local (and sometimes not quite so local) eateries - back to tonights restaurant, nicknamed “steps” because of the flight of steps leading to which we arrived at just as R & F were sitting down Frank to a beer and Rosemary to a giant pot of camomile tea. There are no menus at “Steps” the waiter (owner) tells you what is available in rapid Portuguese, as is usual the meal started with bread, olives, vinegar carrots etc., again, as normal, this was followed by a salad course. There was then a choice of a fish or meat dish. The meat was chicken - Rosemary and Frank both elected to have that Sue and I chose the fish dish.

When the meal arrived the chicken was in the form of a pile on each plate of wings and other small pieces, the fish was four or five steaks of the Xaputa what we would call Ray’s Bream. As tasty as the chicken looked I think Sue and I got the best deal. This was followed by a delicious creamy pudding. Including the beer and tea beforehand, the litre of wine with and the coffee and tea afterwards the whole shooting match was just €8.00 (£6.60) each

Thursday 20th February 2014

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Visited Salir today. The journey there was one of the most interesting that we have made since we arrived. The road although a main(ish) road between towns took us quite high into the hills but was in very poor condition resembling at times a farm track, the views however were fabulous. Salir itself was a surprise in being clean and cared for - well presented. Many towns and villages in Portugal appear to have given in to neglect and present a rather depressed air not so Salir (at least on the through routes) the buildings were well maintained and the gardens well tended. We had a super walk to the higher levels where there was a museum which led to a walk along the old town walls. Unfortunately I had forgotten to charge the camera batteries and both still and video cameras chose to run out of electrickery, but never mind that gives us an excuse to return another day visit the church and other interesting places.

Saturday 22nd February 2014

We reported in the last blog that Pam was to be transferred to a Brentwood rehab unit, this has now happened and she is working hard to regain use of the left side of her body. Reports we are receiving continue to be positive.

Week 31.

Sunday 23rd February 2014

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Went out for the day today with R & F to have a look at the tall ship Gorch Fock, a German sail training ship. It is currently moored in Portimao harbour and this afternoon was open day when visitors were welcomed on board for a look around the deck. The Gorch Fock is owned by the German Navy and used to train young officers in what could be termed pure or basic sailing so they will know the relationship of wind and tide etc., etc., something far more difficult to learn from the deck of a normal, modern naval vessel. The sailors are given a six months tour of duty aboard and tour the world.

After our visit to the ship we went into Portimao then had a slow ride into Alvor, two places that R & F had never visited despite their twelve years in Portugal.

After all our touristy travelling we were starving so another trip to “Steps” was agreed. This time Rosemary, Frank and I all had Xaputa while Sue had a duck and rice dish that she declared to be delicious. The only extra that was charged over the standard €8.00 was Franks special large brandy and that was just a small sum.

Monday 24th February 2014

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Having spent some time in this area in early 2012 and a two week holiday in Olhao in 2013 we have never been in the “Olhao Ria Formosa Park Natural”. Unusually it costs to get in, we were charged €2.60 each but as we spent several hours following the nature trail thought that represented good value for money. There is a museum/visitor centre which proved interesting and a tidal mill - something neither of us had ever come across before. As the tide rose a mill pond filled with sea water. when the tide had receded sufficiently the sluice to one or more of the six grind stones was opened enabling the grain to be milled. Also on the trail was a number of both saltwater and freshwater lakes with hides to enable bird watching. Although not open to the public there is a bird hospital/sanctuary and a kennels for Cão de Água Algarvio  the web-footed Algarvian Water Dog.

We thought we would spend some time today planning for when we move which will be in the next couple of weeks. Our planning is usually done on Google Maps, I can check the route for unsuitable roads and use Street View to check site entrances. You can imagine my irritation to discover that Google have “upgraded” the programme which is now from my perspective totally useless, they have taken a first class utility and turned it into useless junk. After an hour or so of frustration I gave up, I’ll try again another day.

Wednesday 26th February 2014

Another day another meal out 😃. We were taken out this lunchtime to a restaurant in the hills to the north of the campsite. The restaurant was on the first floor and afforded magnificent views over the countryside through huge panoramic windows, usually this restaurant was an eat all you want buffet with starter buffet items, main course buffet items and pudding items. The buffet (excluding drinks) was a flat €6.50 but for just €1 extra you could elect to have BBQ. This meant that at frequent intervals a waiter came round with a large piece of BBQ’d meat on a skewer and cut you of a thick slice or two. I elected to have BBQ and in addition to the buffet enjoyed BBQ’d pork, lamb, beef, chicken, sausages and pineapple. After the meal we went for a short walk on a delightful local riverside and visited a photographic exhibition organised by the local ex-pat camera club. It was very interesting with some very good photo studies on a theme of music.

Thursday 27th February 2014

Back in “tourist“ mode today. We are planning to return to Salir (with camera batteries fully charged) to have a shifty at the church and then go on to visit Alte where it is alleged there is a waterfall with a drop of some 50m however although we found and followed the river and as pleasant as it was we certainly did not find a waterfall and Salir was closed.

Saturday 1st March 2014

Got up early today to visit Olhao fish market to get some fresh fish for dinner. We were mightily impressed by a chap filleting Xaputa and as we find them delicious bought a couple and watched the chap carefully produce four lovely fillets for our dinner. Steve K also watched and was also impressed and as we told him how tasty the fish was and he managed to get the last fish the man had. There had been quite a pile of them when we arrived such was the demand. Later that afternoon Steve came to our caravan with fish in hand - he had started to prepare them and had found they were infested with long white worms. Getting ours out of the fridge we examined them and found a similar infestation. Researching the internet informed us that this is a common problem with this particular fish and there are questions as to whether it should ever be in the human food chain as the worms have the potential to be dangerous. The local feral cats ate well that night, and so did we, we went out to a restaurant. That particular fish variety, despite being delicious, is now permanently off our shopping list. For those with a strong stomach click here

Last Updated - Sunday 27th April 2014.             © Seve  Ghost 2014