Wow, it’s hard to believe that another week has flown by! Time is going very quickly and 2 months are already gone.
Another fantastic week with the weather having improved significantly…lots of sun and warmer temperatures. Beach Time! Karen and I explored a few more beaches in anticipation of where we want to take our Daughter Megan and her husband Chris to when they arrive on Wednesday and did we find some spectacular scenery! The first stop was at Praia Dona Ana with its carbonate rock formations, isolated groups of rock and the remains of potholes and caves. It was really very nice and a beach we will definitely come back to!
The highlight of the day really came when we visited the Ponta da Piedade where the lighthouse is located. They have a wonderful staircase down to the waters edge and a great view of some grottos and caves…again this was a spectacular sight and the weather was perfect.
Keeping with the beach theme, on Monday we went down to “our” beach because the low tide was convenient for us to see how the beach changes with the tides and boy, does it ever change. We were able to walk around the corner to yet another beach we would not be able to access otherwise. Plus, on the other end, the rock formations were completely different…it was like we had a couple of new spots to explore. Since the day was so nice, we decided on coffees and pastries at a beach restaurant called CampiMar.
We thought we better get one more round of golf in before the kids arrive, so on Tuesday we headed over to Salgodos Golf Course on Tuesday. Not sure why I chose that course because it was about 45 minutes away and there are other courses much closer, but it turned out to be a nice course. The twilight rate was 115 Euro for both of us including the cart. Golf is really not very cheap here now that it is classified as “high season”.
Wednesday and Megan and Chris finally arrive. Despite an overnight flight, we hoped to show them around a little bit on the drive home. First stop…the Gypsy Market in Quarteira. I have already blogged about this market so I won’t go into much detail but we bought a couple of things. Then off to the fruit/vegetable market to pick up supplies for tonight’s welcome supper. What a pleasure to be able to buy fresh produce directly from the farmers on market day and at really great prices…it’s nice to support these producers and we try to buy there as much as possible. Today’s haul included the basics like lettuce, tomato, potatoes, cilantro, avocado, lemons, etc but we also picked up almonds, figs, cheese, olives and other great treats.
Chris really likes photography and so, with his blessing, the following are some of his pictures at the market…
Next stop is the fish market to pick out which fish we want tonight. As it turns out, we bought both a sea bass and a sea bream for the next couple of nights. It’s fun to listen to the fish mongers trying to sell their wares and we settled on one, not because his fish looked any better but he was a character. They happily clean their fish and tell you how to cook it…yum!
Home in time for a great late afternoon stroll on the beach, supper and then they crashed!
Another gorgeous day for Thursday, so we decided to visit Sagres with Megan and Chris. We had been here before when the weather was not as nice, so we were excited to be going again. What a difference the sunshine makes! It certainly brought out all the fishermen to the cliffs at the Fort and we just could not believe how they were fishing but there were lots of them and they were catching some pretty nice sized fish. I don’t think I would have the nerve to stand that close to the edge but they certainly didn’t seem to mind it.
We thought this guy was nuts and then we spotted this guy…
From the Fort at Sagres, we went to the lighthouse at the most south western point of Europe…Cabo de St Vincent. The last time we were here, the lighthouse was closed, so we were happy to be able to get in and look around. Not that there was much to see but there were some great views.
Driving to Vila do Bispo for lunch to a restaurant that was recommended to us, we stopped at a great surfing beach called Beliche. It was a long way down and luckily the tide was out so we could actually access the beach. There were quite a few surfers there and the wave action was pretty good. None of these beaches are very busy at this time of year, so we often feel like we have the beaches to ourselves. I expect this will change very quickly once March rolls around.
One of the delicacies that I have been wanting to try are barnacles. These are very difficult to harvest, very dangerous and not always available but the seas have been relatively calm and my hopes were high. The following is a link that shows how they harvest barnacles…the video is from Spain but the process is very similar in Portugal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj714pJI_dM&list=PLMSdLUHR-MuAbF11HnBUm9UVGR9tQk3kf
I was very happy to find them available at Cafe Correia and the rest of the meal was also fantastic! To eat the barnacles, you twist the “stem” and pull, exposing the flesh inside. Then slurp or pull them out with your teeth and chew … discover the meat is very much like that of a clam and tastes similar to them too. The chef here cooked them with a garlic butter and they were truly delicious (happily since they were 32 Euro a kg)!
After lunch we decided to check out a couple more beaches on the way home. There are so many beaches in the Algarve and everyone seems to be different with some fantastic rock formations. The first stop was at Praia da Figueira. The walk into the beach was about .5 km through a bit of forested area but we were rewarded with some fantastic scenery and were able to get some great photos!
Friday had us scouting out more beaches before heading to the Castle in Silves. We stuck a little closer to home and decided to take Megan and Chris to the beaches in Lagos. While we had been to these beaches before (see previous blogs), we did find a way to get down to Praia do Pinhao.
Made the trek back to Olhao for the Saturday market to pick up some produce and fish for supper and to show Megan and Chris our January stomping grounds…the weather was perfect and you could tell by the large crowds today.
How about these delicacies…
Plus every imaginable type of fish…we ended up with Tuna steaks and Salmoneta (no relationship to salmon other than the fish is a pink colour).
Fully stocked with food for supper, we wanted to stop in Faro to see the Chapel of Bones. Unfortunately, being Saturday, the church closes at 13:00 for the day/weekend and we arrived at 13:15. Instead we walked around the old part of the city taking pictures. It is just mind-boggling how many storks there are in the Algarve. It sees that every stack and high pole has a nest and in some cases, like the example below, there can be multiple nests on a building.
We finished the day and the week by going to Adega do Papagaio, the restaurant where you cook your own meat on a hot stone. Great fun and a really good Fado singer as well. Megan and Chris seemed to really like it.
Thanks again for following along with our adventures. Have a great week!