Traditional scenes in Portugal…. .

The frontier town of Tui, our last stop in Spain before crossing over the border into Portugal, was anything but twee.  The old town, topped by the cathedral and standing above the river Minho has a dilapidated but up and coming kind of air about it.

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Granite alleyway in Tui.

It’s all a layered mish mash of granite alleyways, compact housing (some derelict and some restored), stone walls, steps and glimpsed views of the river below.

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Handsome square in Tui.

On the hillside opposite Tui, on the Portuguese side of the river, Valenςa do Minho is reached via the handsome iron bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel.  He of Paris fame.

Hot tip – don’t go across the bridge in your van.  It didn’t look wide enough for a car and van to pass and it is really busy with cars presumably trotting across the border into Spain – land of the twenty cents a litre cheaper fuel.  Portuguese cars were queuing up to get into the Repsol garage in Tui.  Eiffel had thought of us pedestrians though and conveniently provided a footpath on either side of the bridge.

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Fortress walls of Valenςa do Minho .

Safely nestled snugly within its fortress Valenςa is just lovely.  Touristy but lovely.  If you want some new tea towels, towels or bed linen then this is the place to come.  It’s one of those places where seemingly every shop sells the same stuff.  But tourist shops aside the all but intact seventeenth century double ramparts and the beautifully restored buildings within the medieval town are undeniably worth some of your time.

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Tiled facades in Valenςa.

Heading south from Valenςa towards Ponte de Lima it felt like a weight had been lifted.  The endless urban sprawl of the previous few days in Spain were a distant memory as we wound up and down through farmland and terraced vineyards in all their autumnal coloured glory.  We arrived in Ponte de Lima to find the car park along the river was flooded after all the recent rain but we managed to bag a space on the pavement in front of the cafes just as a car was leaving.  We found a better place to park for the night after a quick recce of the town so went back to move the van.  Only the policía had shown up by then.  Oh poo.  Several car drivers and one Portuguese motorhomer were clutching tickets in their sticky mitts trying to state their case but plod was having none of it.  They hadn’t quite got to our van so we got in hoping for a quick getaway but a uniform appeared at the window before we could make our escape.  Now, not being able to speak the lingo of the country you are in does sometimes have its advantages and it turned out that this time was one of them.  After Tim apologised in English and waved his hands about a bit the policeman just let out a big sigh and gave us a dismissive wave to say ‘oh just get out of my sight’.  Tim gave him a thumbs up, a big smile and we drove off without a fine.  Excellent.

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Open all hours in Ponte de Lima!

We stayed a couple of nights in Ponte de Lima as it’s a pretty little town with lots of tiny bars where the beers were €1 each and we managed to pick up some superfast free wifi and, as it rained for most of the time we were there, we had the internet to occupy us.  We’d parked up at the large carpark at the edge of the town next to some sort of exhibition centre and all was well.  We were amongst a few other vans and the police did a drive past every once in a while so obviously weren’t bothered about us parking there.  Saturday night passed without incident.  Sunday night we were rudely awakened at midnight by a gathering of youths in several cars right behind the van.  Sunday night is obviously a day off for the police which means its race night in Ponte de Lima for any young person with a car and a tank of fuel.  We didn’t feel threatened by them as they really weren’t interested in us but I guess they gathered where we were because we were under one of the few street lamps in the car park.  We always feel a bit twitchy whenever anyone gets gung ho showing off their driving skills in car parks though as you never know when they may lose control and plough into something.  Like us.  Fortunately on this occasion their own cars were parked in between the speeding cars and us so if they were going to hit anything it would be their own cars first.  Thankfully after an hour or so they left us in peace.

I noticed in the morning that the van next to us had a bright lime green dog bowl outside their van.  I thought ‘I bet they don’t have a dog’.  I don’t think it would have been much of a deterrent for any would be thieves.  The bowl gave it away really as it looked brand new and had fresh clean water in it.  Our dog’s water bowl only ever stayed clean for a millisecond before one or other of them had slurped from it and dunked a mucky beard in it and then slopped most of the water all over the floor leaving bits of mud or gunk floating in the water left behind in the bowl.  Anyway, I couldn’t imagine any self respecting rabid guard dog drinking out of a lime green plastic bowl.

Monday dawned with wall to wall sunshine and by ten o’clock it was wall to wall cars in the car park.  The huge fortnightly market including livestock and birds was in full swing.

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The small producers at Ponte de Lima market.
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The lady with the green bag spent ages rummaging through all the Octopus picking up each one until she found the one she wanted.

After a quick stroll around we escaped to the hills of the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês, Portugal’s only National Park, to make the most of the change in the weather with a bit of walking.  In the first year of our trip my favourite country visited was Portugal.  Then it changed to Slovenia in the second year.  Then this year after visiting Scotland it was a joint tie between Slovenia and the Highlands of Scotland.  After a few days of walking in the National Park around the little granite village of Soajo my favourite country is now back to Portugal.  How fickle am I?

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View over Soajo village.

Tourism has only really lightly touched this area as the village caters mostly for locals with a couple of cafes, two hardware shops, a bakery and two mini markets.  Some of the housing has been restored for holiday accommodation and there is a little tourist information office in the centre of the village but it doesn’t feel too much like a holiday destination.  Not at this time of year at least.

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Soajo.
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Cunhas village.

Shepherds still walk some of their cattle up through the town in the morning to their pastures returning again in the early evening.  Flat capped elderly men mingle in the village square and inside the cafes chewing the fat.  Black clad widows tend to washing or sit outside their front doors enjoying the warmth of the sun.

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The aire at Soajo.

We enjoyed three days here at the excellent aire on the edge of the village with a view of the twenty or so espigueiros (grain houses) on the rocks overlooking the valley beyond.

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The espigueiros at Soaja.

We frequented the cafe owned by Manuel who was born in the village but left at the age of fourteen to live in New York and work as a truck driver for forty years before returning to the village ten years ago.  He was a very modest chap shifting from foot to foot whilst telling us, in perfect English, a bit about his life and life in the village.  Or I should say poifect English as he had a New York/New Jersey twang.  Think Marlon Brando in The Godfather!

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Lots of footpaths to choose from.
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Fabulous granite footpath to Adrão.  You could see the tramlines worn into the stone over the centuries by ox carts.
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Traditional corn stacks.
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Not a bad spot for a coffee break.
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Barrosa cattle.

We said a cheery Bomdia to anyone we met on our walks and one couple out tending their vines chatted to us in French telling us they had both been born in the village but had lived in Versailles just outside Paris for thirty two years and had returned to the village to retire.  I would have never expected I would be practising my French in a tiny Portuguese village.

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Terraced vines.
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A lovely young dog looking after her goats.  She was a real softy:)

It was hard to tear ourselves away from the area and in a way I wished we’d stayed longer but the need to press on south was strong as we only have a couple of weeks before we need to be in the Algarve for our next Helpx.

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There are over fifty nineteenth century granite espigueiros in Lindoso village.

So onwards it was then to Portugal’s second city, Porto.  We stayed at the cheap as chips Campismo de Salgueiros campsite on the coast five miles or so south of Porto.  It’s a tad scruffy and has dated facilities but the welcome was warm, the showers were hot and it was just a mere three minute walk to the beach.  €7.10 a night with EHU, €4.75 without.  What’s not to like?

It was actually a great place to be and we could have spent a week there had we had more time as after you’ve done Porto there are plenty of cafes to frequent and beach walks to be had.  A bus would have taken us into Porto but as it was a lovely day we decided to walk in and get the bus back.  From the campsite it was about a two hour gentle stroll (the route doubles up as a cycleway too) along the seafront and along the banks of the river Douro into Porto and was an excellent way to arrive as it brings you in on the southern side of the river with splendid views across the water to the UNESCO Ribeira neighbourhood.

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Time for lunch with views across to Porto old town.
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The Rebeira district in Porto.
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Handsome houses line the river.

We couldn’t have had a better day weatherwise and I think we saw it at its best.  I can’t say we did anything cultural (not unusual for us) as all we did really was poke about and mooch around in all the nooks and crannies that make these sorts of places fascinating to explore.

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The tiling depicting the history of tranport at the train station.

We loved it and would definitely recommend it as a weekend city break.  You can take in a cruise on a barcos rabelos, one of the traditional boats used to take wine down the river from the Douro port estates or join a tour of one of the many port wine lodges or just drink it all in from one of the many pavement cafes lining the waterfront.

If we hadn’t walked into Porto we wouldn’t have discovered Afurada, a compact area of colourful fishermen’s houses about four or five streets deep behind the small marina on the south side of the Douro which wasn’t mentioned in our guide book.

We knew it was going to be something special when we saw the clothes drying area next to the river and the community washing tanks nearby.

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The communal washing lines.

When we passed on the Saturday there was just one lady with a face mask on presumably cleaning the tanks with bleach but on the Sunday it was a hive of activity with washing being scrubbed, slapped and soaked in the tanks.  It’s amazing that this tradition still lives on.

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The communal washing tanks in the Afurada fishermens village.

As the campsite didn’t have a washing machine we’d carried our washing the half hour walk to the nearest laundrette that morning and we’d been feeling mightily pleased with ourselves at getting three weeks worth of washing done whilst troughing pizza slices and pastel de nata’s from the Lidl next door.  That was our work for the day done!

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Fishermen tending to their nets in the Afurada district.

Anyway, the Afurada was a joy to saunter around.

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The traditional houses.

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P1140453.JPGWe’d arrived after the lunchtime rush but it was still pretty lively with the charcoal barbecues in front of the restaurants still in full flow so we stopped for some lunch.

P1140459.JPGI don’t really do fish but I had the sardines cooked on the grill.  I’d like to say I thoroughly enjoyed them but I’d really rather have had grilled courgettes!  Still it gave me my weekly dose of omega 3.

So, another week has gone by and we’re heading further south now to Coimbra.

Adeus!

Some of my best friends are donkeys…. .

Ok, so long time no blog post!  It’s fair to say I’ve left myself somewhat lacking on the blog front over the past few weeks and have left my multitude (aka – handful) of readers in the lurch so to speak.  Desculpe meus amigos!!

So, where are we?  We are currently parked up on the cliffs above Monte Clerigo beach, just outside Aljezur, Portugal watching the surf roll in whilst the rain comes and goes in waves.   Our time at Donkey HQ came to an end yesterday after eight donkey filled weeks and we were sad to leave but also ready to continue with our travels.

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Donkey HQ.

When we first embarked on our fifth Helpx assignment we didn’t think for a minute that we would stay for as long as we have but we had such an enjoyable time there that the weeks just went on by without us noticing too much.

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A terrace of pines.

We so enjoyed looking after all the donkeys and getting to know all their different characters.  Romano, the wise old grandaddy.

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Romano taking a nap.

Margarida, Miss Greedy.

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Margrida, eyes bigger than her belly!

Gentle Mocca.

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Gentle Mocca bringing up the rear.

None too bright Olivia – unfortunately I don’t seem to have aphoto of her:(

Xiquito, Olivia’s shadow.

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Xiquito gearing up for a roll in the sand!

Cheeky Emilio with the most beautiful ears.

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Beautiful boy, Emilio.

Elfrieda, Martha and Isadora, the guest donkeys, or ‘Algarve 3’ as I’ve been calling them.  Still sticking together and working as a team even after nearly two months at donkey HQ.

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Elfrieda, Martha and Isadora (aka the ‘Algarve 3’)

Jeco, the stoic little guy.

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Jeco seems to have Margarida’s bowl!

Xico, aka gnasher!

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Xico with the big teeth!

Steady Emil and friendly, inquisitive Falco.

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Emil (L) and Falco (R) enjoying breakfast in the sun.

And last but not least, and my all round personal favourite, Margalhaes now renamed Kali as no-one could remember or pronounce his name!

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Kali’s first trek to the beach and he’s working the crowd like a pro!

Sofia is passionate about her donkey family giving them a life that most donkeys in Portugal and around the world could only dream of.

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Our last walk with Emilio and Kali 🙂

They are so well cared for and it was a privilege to be able to be a part of their lives and routines for the time we were there.

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Romano checking out the new area of pasture.

Madan, our Nepalese housemate, has taught us much about Nepal and Nepalese cooking and we’ve enjoyed getting to know him.  We now have Nepal on our list to visit in the future!

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We have shared many meals.

We also mustn’t forget the hospitality Sofia’s parents, Raban and Nelly, have shown us sharing stories of their colourful lives with us.  Their zest for life at 81 years old is inspirational.

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Sofia, Raban and Nelly on New Years Eve.

The small community we have experienced here has been one of neighbours helping and looking out for each other sharing ideas, skills, machinery, equipment and time.

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Lovely, gentle Florin.

It has been a fantastic learning experience for us and we are leaving with very happy memories and would definitely like to return in the future.

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Walking the local area.

So, Kali says goodbye and wishes us safe travels on he next chapter of our journey wherever it will take us 🙂

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Tchau!!

Até a próxima!

A fortnight in pictures…. .

They say ‘a picture can paint a thousand words’ so in a departure from my usual narrative, and as I’m so behind with the blog, the pictures will have to do all the talking!

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The alternative French circus group ‘Cheptel Aleikoum, Circa Tsuica’.

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Xico checks out the new ‘salt lick’ Tim made for the donkeys.
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Mmm, now everyone takes an interest!
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New Years Eve – whenever there is an opportunity for a photo, Romano seems to be there to ‘photo bomb’ it!
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Madan – chief fire starter.
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Madan’s first experience of sparklers 🙂
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Romano welcomes Magalhaes, the new kid,who arrived on New Years Day.
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Magalhaes must feel a bit under the spotlight as the other donkeys come to stare him out.
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Margarida leads the way on an afternoon trek.
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I’m sooo glad donkeys don’t drool like dogs!
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Another trip to the local produce market.
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It’s not often I’ve answered my front door to a donkey!
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Romano led Magalhaes astray on a road trip to the neighbours and we had to go and retrieve them!
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A trek to the beach at Praia da Amoreira – Xico kindly carries our lunch.
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Magalhaes’ first sight of the sea.
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Lunch stop.
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Magalhaes’ first ever roll in the sand 🙂
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He is still alive!
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Following the river round to the sea.
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(!)
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Hopefully, this will be the first of many treks for Magalhaes.
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Team donkey.
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Xico enjoying a snack on our way back from the beach.
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Aww, Magalhaes is super friendly and he’s now my new favourite!
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Cutting bamboo to be used to replace the ceiling in one of the houses.
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Bamboo ready to be cleaned and dried.
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Loading the bamboo to get it back to the house.
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A music night.

Até mais!

It’s all about the donkeys…. .

Mmm, where to start?  We’ve had a whirlwind of a week which has, once again, shot past.  For the past eight days we have, along with Madan, our fellow Helpxer, been holding the fort here at Donkey HQ, up a lane, near Aljezur, Portugal.

When we originally talked about housesitting being a part of our travels I never expected our charges to be thirteen donkeys.  Dogs, cats, maybe a few chickens or the odd rabbit yes, but donkeys, well, no.  But that is what we have been doing for the last eight days as Sofia, Raban and Nelly flew off to sunny Paris last Thursday to spend Christmas with other members of their family.

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Donkey poo picking is a never ending task!

We were a little bit daunted when the idea was mooted, a couple of weeks ago, that we could look after the house, donkeys, dog and cats whilst the family were away with lots of questions going through our minds.  What if they get out?  What if one has an accident? What if we get the feeding wrong?  What if they throw an all night party?  Or invite friends over through Facebook and everything is trashed?  What if, what if, what if……?!

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Sunrise – nearly every day has been like this 🙂

It has, however, been almost completely stress free and a pleasure to look after them all.  We’ve only had a couple of incidents.  Olivia was missing in action on Tuesday at the morning roll call.  Tim and I split up to go and look for her and I heard her before I saw her as she was calling to the others.   She’d managed to get her leg caught between the barbed wire on the fence in the bottom field.  I don’t think she can have been trapped for too long as there wasn’t a mark on her.  She just let me lift her leg up and out onto the right side of the fence and then went skipping off to regroup with the others.

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The view back to the house from the hill opposite.

Then yesterday morning we had an escapee.  Well, it wasn’t exactly the great escape as she’d only gone a few steps from the field to the big pile of straw in the barn and was busy gorging herself!  She was, nonetheless, free range and could have gone on a joyride in the car should she have so desired!  It was one of the new ones, either Martha or Elfrieda, I still don’t know which is which.  We’re still not sure how she got out but think she got through the bungey fence by the barn which is electrified.  We’ve already had to put another bungey up at the far end of the field as she managed to limbo under the higher one!  I think the three new donkeys are working as a team and plotting something.  Them donkeys is organised!  They seem to be one step ahead of us (not difficult).

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They’re up to something, these three!

So, all in all, the donkey care has gone extremely well and they all seem to be content.  They’ve all been groomed up and look lovely until they then go and have a roll in the sandpit!  Only Chico, or I should spell it Xico (he put me right on the spelling!),  hasn’t been groomed as he has a mouth full of big teeth and he’s not afraid to use them!  He caught me the other day on my thigh (through the trousers) leaving a cut and big bruise so we are a bit wary of him.  Tim always keeps the wheel barrow between Xico and himself as a mode of self defence!

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Another of Tim’s ‘art’ photos!

It’s like living on a safari park with all their chat though.  Tim managed to record some of their conversations which will hopefully upload here.

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Retrieving Romano from the garden to take him up to the top field.

Aside from the donkeys, Madan has been the dog and cat daddy for the week and sorted them out with feeding and the like whilst Tim and I have enjoyed having them as company in the evenings.

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Florin and Lotta make themselves at home!

Christmas has obviously come and gone but we did make an effort on Christmas day to create as near to a traditional christmas lunch as we could for Madan, but sans the sprouts, as we couldn’t get any, and a chicken instead of turkey.  I was pretty chuffed with my giant Yorkshire Pudding which came out a treat.

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Giant Yorkshire Pudding.

The gas oven here is a bit temperamental so it was touch and go on the YP front!

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Xmas lunch.

We’ve had time to cycle to the nearest beach which is about eight kilometres away and nearly all downhill on the way back.

P1000941.JPGMadan has cooked some epic food which I’m trying, and failing, to emulate.  He manages to create such intense flavours from just a few ingredients.

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Madan is a fab cook:)

I’m picking up quite a few tips from him and will be joining him for a ‘Madan Masterclass’ sometime soon to learn the secret of how he does it.

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Evening entertainment!

We are now looking forward this next week to a few days off to explore the area a bit more once Sofia returns.

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Another sunrise!

Feliz Ano Novo to everyone!

 

Helpx number 5 continues…. .

So our donkey extravaganza continues 🙂  We have been at Burros and Artes for two weeks now and the time has just whizzed by.

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Chico giving Tim a nibble!

The weather has been warm and sunny every day which makes the work a pleasure and never a chore.  Tim and I have been doing various jobs alongside the donkey care.  We needed to prepare a small area for three new donkeys which were arriving so that they could be separated from the main pack for a few days before gradually integrating them.

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Repairing the electric fence ready for the new arrivals.

The electric fence needed to be repaired and the ground strimmed free of vegetation before their arrival.

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Strimming the ‘quarantine’ area for the new ones.

They are on a two month trial here to see if the land here suits their feet/hooves better.  There was much excitement when they arrived last week.

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Martha, Elfrieda and Isadora arrive.

It was the first time they had been transported so they were a bit stressed when they arrived but soon settled down.

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Showing them to their new home.

They are oh so pretty but a bit shy.  They are beginning to get a bit bolder now though.

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Making themselves at home.

We had quite a noisy two days after they arrived with much donkey braying and general boisterous behaviour from them all.  The original plan was to keep the three new arrivals separated from the resident pack for a few days but Falco managed to get through the electric fence to say hello and took quite a shine to the two new ladies!  Best laid plans and all that!  They are all in together now and seem to be getting on.

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Looking settled after a couple of days.

Sophia’s plan for the donkeys is to split them up into two groups during the day in different pasture areas.  The large field behind the house is to be one area but we needed to repair the electric fence and strim the vegetation around it.

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I wasn’t to be outdone and did my share of the strimming!

It was quite a big job but we made good progress over a few days and the field is now ready.

Sophia showed us how to tether three donkeys together to walk them up to the field which was easier said than done!  As long as they keep moving it’s fine but if one decides to stop for a snack on the way then everything disintegrates into chaos!

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Taking the oldies up to the pasture behind the house.

Sophia, with her mother, has managed to walk eleven donkeys at the same time in this way but I think three were enough for us especially if Margarida is lead donkey as she does like her food!

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Romano leading the way.

Romano is the eldest donkey at around thirty years old.  Up until a couple of days ago he was allowed special privileges and roamed free range around the garden.

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Romano likes to join us for lunch!

Unfortunately, he has been eating the roses and damaging some trees so he is now back in with the other ones and he’s none too happy about it!  He tries to escape back into the garden at every opportunity!  He’s a wise old boy!

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Romano pops in to say hello to Sophia!

We’ve also been doing some grooming which goes down well with most of the donkeys.  It’s a bit of a treat for them as they do enjoy it.

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Romano enjoys a daily groom up!

Aside from the donkeys we have been to the local Christmas market in Aljezur.  It was mainly frequented by Dutch, German, French and English families who live in this area making and selling their own crafts and produce.

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Aljezur Christmas market.

Music was laid on too.

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We’ve also been learning about Nepalese cuisine and culture from Maden, our fellow Helpxer who is from Nepal.  He showed us how to make Momo, a type of South Asian dumpling.

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Maden makes Momos!

I think it’s fairly obvious which one I made without Tim pointing his sticky mitt at it!

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Hmm, I need a bit more practice on the presentation.

So, all in all we’ve had a busy two weeks and we love it here.  The countryside is beautiful and we are planning on doing some hiking on our days off over the next few weeks as I think we’d like to stay here at least six weeks.

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The view from the top of the hill.

Finally, we have at last had the boiler repaired. Yay!  We drove back to Camperserv at the end of last week so we now have heat and hot water again.  Not that we need it at the moment as our Helpx accommodation is great with the added bonus of a wood burner which we are making full use of!

Feliz Netal!

Helpx number 5…. .

Having spent just over a week in Lagos it was finally time to move on.

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Street art in Lagos – having had enough of lounging in Lagos sitting out the poor weather we needed to get back on the road.

The  weather  improved on Monday 5th December 2016 so we moved 30km up the south west coast to stop in Aljezur for a couple of nights before starting our fifth Helpx assignment. More on our current Helpx later on in this post.

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Aljezur.

We were first introduced to Aljezur by our friends Chris and Di who have come here over the Christmas period on several occasions in their van.  In 2013 we gate crashed their holiday by flying out to Portugal to meet them and we were really looking forward to coming back here in the van this time.  It has been a really refreshing change leaving the hustle and bustle of the Algarve as this area is less touristy and much quieter.  The area around Aljezur is mainly cork oak, eucalyptus and pine.  There are also plenty of orange and lemon groves.

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Harvested cork.

The weather since being here has been fabulous with warm sunny days so we took the opportunity to break out the bikes for a cycle up to the small town of Monchique.  The market town sits below the mountain peak of Foia which is the highest peak in the Algarve at 902 metres above sea level.

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Cycling from Aljezur to Monchique.

We knew it was going to be mostly uphill all the way but I had miscalculated how far it was going to be.  I thought it was about 20 kilometres but it is actually 20 miles to Monchique from Aljezur.

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Orange groves.

It took us over two hours but the views of the surrounding countryside were worth it!

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Beautiful views on the way up to Monchique.

By the time we got there we only really had enough time for a coffee and a quick sandwich before heading back down again.

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We bought 3kg of oranges on the way back at 0.50c a kilo!  We gave half of them away to a dutch chap in the van next to us in Aljezur as there were too many for us.

So after a couple of nights in Aljezur we were welcomed at our current Helpx assignment.  This one is turning out to be our dream Helpx!  We are staying with a German family – Raban and Nelly (both 81!) and their daughter, Sophia.  They have just over 50 hectares of land and Sophia runs a donkey trekking business 🙂  We are in donkey heaven here!

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Romano helping us unpack the van to settle in to our accomodation.

Sophia currently has thirteen donkeys, ten of which are here and three that are on their holidays with another farm.  She also has another three arriving tomorrow.

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‘Ollie’ parked up next to the donkey fields.

They are sooo well looked after and we’ve spent the last five days, amongst other things, learning all aspects of donkey care!  It’s just lush!

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Olivia, Emilio and Chiquito.

Donkey feeding, donkey pooh picking, donkey grooming, donkey medication giving, donkey walking, donkey rounding up, donkey tug o war, donkey coffee morning, donkey, donkey, donkey!

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Another Monday morning at the office!

We know all their names now and we are getting to know their different characters.

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Margarida, always first in the queue at feeding time!
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Mooching about the pasture.

How anyone cannot just love a donkey I do not know!

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Romano, the oldest at 30 years gets special privileges and joins us on the sun terrace for coffee in the morning!

Suffice to say we have been doing other things as well as donkey stuff but I’ll write about them in the next post.  This one is all about the donkeys!

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Emil and Chico.

Did I mention the donkeys?!

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Playtime!

Boa Noite!

 

Lingering and being lazy in Lagos…. .

There is a clue in the title of this post as to what we have been doing this last week.  In two words – not much!  We arrived in Lagos last Saturday and amazingly, for us, we are still here.  We have been staying at an aire on the outskirts of Lagos which is effectively a large carpark but it is inexpensive, has super fast wifi and a washing machine at €2 a go!

We’ve walked the coastline both east and west of Lagos and explored the old town.

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Meia Praia – the beach to the east of Lagos.

The beaches, caves and rock stacks to the west of Lagos are amazing.

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The coastline west of Lagos.

I love this type of coastal walking as there is always something interesting to look at along any given stretch.  Huge sinkholes, caves, birds, the sea state and the changing colour of the stacks according to the sun and cloud cover.

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Steps lead down to the water where a couple of boats were taking people on tours of the caves and coastline.

Several boats were out taking people to see the caves.  We had done a similar trip last year near Benagil which is definitely worth the trip to see the coastline from a different perspective.

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The boat skippers dog waiting patiently for him – I could have taken this one home!

Lagos has a very nice laidback vibe to it and we like it.  It’s quite lively for this time of year with plenty of people about and most of the town centre shops, restaurants and bars open.

The weather has been pretty unsettled with a couple of huge thunderstorms and plenty of rain. It’s still warm though and a lot of the rain has been overnight.  We’re still managing to get out and about everyday and stay dry!

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A rainy view through the back window at Praia da Cordama on the south west coast. 

We had a ‘day out’ to the south west coast to Praia da Cordama hoping to see some surfers out.  We arrived just before a major thunderstorm which lasted a couple of hours before the sun reappeared.

As soon as the storm was over a mass of surfers emerged from numerous different vans to make the most of the clean and green surf. We walked the length of the beach and enjoyed just watching the surfers do their thing.

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The off shore wind made for good surfing after the thunderstorm.

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Praia da Cordama.

Tim celebrated his birthday yesterday in style by cooking a curry on the Cobb!  It is his favourite thing to do and it keeps him quiet for ages with all that chopping to do!  The weather yesterday was really warm and sunny just for Tim so we made the most of being outside for nearly the whole day.

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Cobb curry!

We hadn’t intended staying more than a couple of nights in Lagos but we seem to be procrastinating over our next move.  We have effectively come to a standstill paralyzed by indecision!  Camperserv, who have custody of our boiler at the moment, aren’t able to get the parts they need to repair it until sometime between 14th December 2016 and 23rd December 2016.  Aaarrrgggghhh!  It’s frustrating, not so much in practical terms of managing without it, but the fact that we feel a bit tied down to not straying too far from the Algarve until we have the repair done.

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Shells on one of the beaches near Lagos.

Mmm, what to do.  Galvanize ourselves into some sort of action is what is needed!  We’ve got a few options kicking about at the moment.

  • Option 1. Apply for a housesit.
  • Option 2. Apply for another Helpx.
  • Option 3. Carry on up the south west coast of the Algarve and shoot back down to the garage when the boiler is ready to go back in.

Option 2 of applying for another Helpx is currently favourite as we’d really like to have a couple of weeks or so of doing something completely different.

Right, what are we waiting for?

We need to get applying.

Até logo!