Friday 26 June 2015

Salema, Sagres, and an adventure in Laundry

Portugal, 7th – 11th January 2015

Albufeira Part 2

Albufeira Harbour
 The next day in Albufeira we decided to explore the harbour area, as we had driven past a neighbourhood that had a load of buildings in pastel colours that looked very unusual compared to the rest of the town.  The buildings were apartments and the whole harbour was built in the same style, with pale colours and lots of geometric shapes that looked very smart.  The harbour was quiet over the winter but was very clean and rather upmarket.

From here we went to the main shopping centre in Albufeira as we needed to get a replacement inner tube for Matt’s bike.  The centre...

...was very pleasant with the upper level being semi-open to the air above, and there were still a few Christmas decorations around.

Some Beach Tranquility

We then set off to continue where we left off at the West end of the Algarve. We drove to Praia Boca do Rio near Salema, which is a nice small bay where you can park up right next to the beach.  There were a few other mainly German motorhomes here but we managed to find a slot between two of them so that we were looking out over the sea.  It was a very quiet beach and there wasn’t really anyone there other than the other campers and the occasional dog walker or local, but during the summer it is prohibited to use the area as an overnight stop so is only suitable during the winter.

We relaxed here and stayed outside until the sun went down, enjoying the scenery.  We liked this spot so much that we ended up staying for two days.  There was a nature walk here over one of the hills, however we made it halfway around the circuit before we reached a point where we couldn’t figure out where the path was trying to take us from the maps, so we deviated from the path a bit and followed our own route. Matt made a temporary repair to the backrest of one of our camping chairs that was split down one side using twine and Duck tape which managed to hold well and lasted the rest of the trip.

Who needs new chairs when you have Duck tape and dreams?
The waves - can you blame me for being a little cautious?
We went in the water at times (Matt would like to make a point of the fact that in my case this only extended as far as a paddle), however the waves here were very rough and there were some very strong undercurrents, so we didn’t venture too far into the water as it could have been quite dangerous if we were overpowered by a wave.  The beach was very sloped, so the water got deep very quickly and there were areas of sand where you would quickly become soaked if a particularly big wave came along.  There were times that we could spot the shadows of fish within the rising waves, which was pretty cool.

We were running low on supplies, so we left our spot and ventured back inland to pick up some supplies from a Lidl.  While we were here Matt picked up a ringed fruit cake type thing decorated with some crystalized fruits that was on offer.  We’d seen quite a few of them around while we were in Portugal, and upon looking it up later have discovered this is called a Bolo rei (translates to King Cake) which is a traditional Portuguese Christmas cake usually eaten between Christmas day and the Day of Kings (January 6th).


Sagres Lighthouse

We travelled to Sagres and parked up on the sea front with a few other motorhomes, and despite Matt’s assurances that we would be fine for water and didn’t need to top the tanks up, they ran out halfway through his shower.  We wandered around the next day looking for water, and found a water dispenser at the Intermarché at Sagres, which was €2 for a token that was supposed to give 100l, but it filled our 120l tank.

We went to the fort at Sagres, but we didn’t go all the way inside as it was a paying attraction and we didn’t know whether there would be enough inside worth spending any money on as we are total cheapskates.  We then went to Cabo de São Vicente, which is a lighthouse at the point where the south and west coasts meet.  The cliffs here looked to be a hundred metres or so above the ground, but this was not enough to deter groups of fisherman who had taken to climbing down the side of the cliffs to cast their lines!

I understand the concept of extreme fishing now (look closely)

There were a couple of other beaches that Matt wanted to find that Mal and Maureen back at Alvor had mentioned, so we went back over to the west coast and went down a few of the turnoffs.  There were a couple of gravel tracks that we went on that were very long and seemed to keep getting worse.  We finally got to a point in the road where it was wide enough to turn around, and we decided not to risk going any further in case we ended up stuck somewhere, so we gave up and returned to the main road and went to one of the spots we had visited before but not stayed overnight, Praia de Bordeira, and stayed here for the night.


Praia de Bordeira
We hadn’t used any campsites while we were away so hadn’t really been near any washing machines and we were starting to run low on clean clothes by this point, so while we were staying here we decided to give a go at doing a few bits ourselves.  I put some detergent in a bucket with hot water and washed the clothes, whilst Matt wrung them out and hung them outside.  We didn’t have an airer with us, so we improvised using the rear ladder, a bit of discarded bamboo, and twine.  My hands felt strangely soapy for hours afterwards, so perhaps in future we will use a little less detergent!

The Dutch lady in the Hymer next to us saw us doing this and came over to chat to us, and gave us recommendations for some campsites she liked to stay at (including ones with laundry facilities!), and lent us their Dutch ACSI book to have a look through, which seemed significantly more useful than our own English book as ours only had the campsites taking part in the Camping Card discount €12/14/16/18 scheme, whereas theirs had loads more.

By the time it started to get dark our clothes weren’t fully dry, so we rigged up various lines of twine inside the van wherever we could (between the light fittings, over the door, over the cab) so we had somewhere to hang things overnight.  We stayed at this site for two days before moving on.

Until next time,

Our Salema spot from above
Rock scupltures at Salema
Praia de Bordeira from over the river

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