A hop, skip and a jump to the Algarve…. .

It’s raining again.  Time to update the blog then.  We’ve had a bit of a hotch potch of a week with a mixture of city life in Coimbra, beach life in Nazaré, village life in Óbidos, coastal life in Vila Nova de Milfontes and now van life in Alvor on the Algarve.

So first up then was a bit of city life in Coimbra.  And I mean a bit………..just a little bit.  We were feeling a little bit tired of sightseeing and couldn’t really drum up too much enthusiasm for a full on expedition.  That’s one of the drawbacks of fulltime travel.  Burnout!

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The aire at Coimbra.  A ten minute walk from the lower town.

After a quick scoot up through the botanical gardens (most of which were closed off due to storm damage) to the university and a coffee and a mooch round the alleys and narrow streets of the old town we were done.

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Coimbra university.

We were in need of a change.  Nazaré fitted the bill perfectly.

P1140513.JPGEver since seeing several Youtube videos of the big wave surfing at Nazaré we knew it was somewhere we wanted to see for ourselves someday.  With our very own eyes!

P1140495.JPGWell, that someday had finally arrived.  We got parked up at a tolerated parking spot in the town by late afternoon with just enough time to hoof it up to the point to have a look see before it got dark.  The last couple of surfers were heading back in but it really didn’t matter as it was great to see where it all happens.

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It didn’t look much on the day we were there but the biggest wave was surfed here in 2017 by Rodrigo Koxa……an 80 foot monster!

It’s a euro to go into the fort where you can get out onto the roof and watch the waves from on high.

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The perfect viewing platform.

It was fab and well worth seeing even without the surfers.  Now we just need to go back when there is some big surf.

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Inside the fort is dedicated to all those that have surfed Nazare.

So after beach life came village life at Óbidos. And what a perfectly charming compact little gem of a town it is too.

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Delightful Óbidos.

Completely enclosed by medieval walls it was just a pleasure to explore.

P1140536.JPGWe didn’t feel it had sold itself out to tourism too much either.  Just a couple of streets with the usual gift and craft shops, restaurants and cafés.

P1140543.JPGYou don’t want to walk the walls if you are the least bit shaky about heights. No handrail and a sheer drop of over ten metres in parts.

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It was a looong way down.

Wall walk or not we think Óbidos is definitely worth a visit.  Get there early and you’ll practically have the place to yourselves at this time of year.

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So then came coastal life at Vila Nova de Milfontes in the Alentejo region.

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Our beach parkig spot just over the river from Vila Nova de Milfontes.

For those of you that know your geography you’ll have sussed out that we have missed out a big chunk of Portugal.  Namely Lisbon and around.  We debated about doing Lisbon.  We really did.  But after the fabulous time and weather we’d had in Porto, followed by our burn out in Coimbra, we decided Lisbon can wait for another time.  I expect it will still be there next year, or the year after.  Or whenever we find ourselves back in Portugal.  Anyway, a bit of coastal walking was on the agenda.

P1140561.JPGWe walked a couple of sections of the coastal path south of Vila Nova de Milfontes over a couple of days.  It forms part of the Rota Vincentina long distance footpath (a 340 kilometre walk from Santiago do Cacém in the Alentejo to Cabo de São Vicente in the Algarve).

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I wouldn’t have put storks down as sea birds.

Ah, I love it.  It’s just beautiful.  Steep rocky cliffs, sandy coves, pines, a carpet of green amongst the orange sandy soil and that smell.  This is the fifth time we have come to this region of Portugal and I always remember the smell.  I can’t really describe it.  Kind of a sherbety smell.  I think it’s the rock roses that grow here.  Whatever, I absolutely love it.  It doesn’t have quite the same effect on Tim.  Probably because he is fed up with hearing ‘ah that smell, I just love it’ over and over and over again.

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View towards Zambujeira do Mar.

After a couple of days of walking we headed down to our old haunt of Aljezur but we didn’t stop as we’ll be back there at the end of next week on our next Helpx.  We continued on down to the aire at Lagos for a bit of a reminisce.  The fair on the aire put paid to that though.  I have lost count of the amount of times we have turned up to an aire to find either the circus or the fair have got there first.  No reminiscing was to be had then as it was getting late and we needed to find somewhere for the night.

Not wanting to go over old ground we plumped for the aire at Alvor as we hadn’t been to the aire or Alvor before.  It’s fair to say that the reviews were mixed about the aire and we can now see why.  It’s basically a piece of land waiting for development and being used as an aire in the meantime.  It is in a great location though just behind a long sandy beach with some nice cliff walks towards Portimão.  But it’s grim when it’s wet as the surface turns into an orange sludge.

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The aire at Alvor.  One night was enough.  We would have liked to have a tour of the biggun next to us!

Of course it was dry when we arrived but it rained overnight.  If you have a dog it would be a nightmare.  I minced across it all this morning on my way to the beach trying not to get covered in the claggy orange stuff.  One night was enough and we have decamped to a car park behind the beach a kilometre of so further east.  We run the risk of a visit and a fine by the policía but that’s preferable to dirty shoes!

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Nice platform to get a view of a huge sinkhole…….
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……….and there it is.
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The view towards Portimao.

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Alvor.

Ok, we’re all up to date now.  Tomorrow we have a date with Tim and Jan who we have never met before.   They started to follow the blog after meeting our friends Sam and Chris when they were working at a campsite in Scotland.  Even though we have never met them we seem to have quite a lot in common.

Of course, you can never be too careful when meeting people via the internet so we are meeting up at a campsite.

Safety in numbers.

Stranger danger and all that.

For all we know they could be serial killers!

No doubt we’ll find out tomorrow.

Tchau!

Published by

bonvanageblog

We are Jane and Tim and we recently gave up our jobs and rented out our house to persue a life of travel across Europe in our motorhome called Ollie.

6 thoughts on “A hop, skip and a jump to the Algarve…. .”

  1. We have been compiling a list of places to visit on our way through Portugal and reading this post is like looking through our list. Have a lovely meet up and if you are still there on Tuesday I believe Piri Piri chicken is on the menu. Sorry we couldn’t join you but we are still in northern Spain at Gijón and have lots of places to visit on our way through Portugal, so thanks for the excellent write ups and pictures as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha… Ditto!!

    We certainly do seem to have so much in common and what we love about your blogs is that you sum up ‘the feeling’ so well…

    It’s true, we travellers all suffer that feeling that the grass may in fact be greener elsewhere and have a want or need for the sea, or forest or city culture, but once its satisfied you crave the other and yes the burnout is soooo true…

    Fingers crossed you are as nice as you seem. Never done internet dating so this should be fun…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi There! It’s raining in Scotland – and it’s very cold. We were where you are last year and we’re feeling just a tad envious. We loved the western Algarve and felt just like you do about the orange sludge at Alvor. We opted for the car park next door that does tolerate motorhomes and drove up to the intermarche in Portimao for free services. Happy travels.

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    1. Hi Mags, thanks for reading. Just re-read your blog post on when you were in Alvor and we had to smile when we saw the guardian of the aire (we thought he looked like a Portuguese Eddie Large) standing in front of the service area with his arms folded making sure no-one was sneaking in!😂

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