Wednesday 3rd January 2018
SILENCE – for the first time in a few weeks I was woken by silence and not barking dogs, it was 6am. Although the Aire is in a car park it is phenomenally quiet during the night. The quiet was deafening as I lay awake, only broken by a cockerel welcoming in the day. I laughed to myself it’s been a while since anything other than dogs woke me to the day.
Well we are now right on the border of Spain and Portugal. We can see Spain from the top of our town. Tomorrow we head into Spain and to Seville to meet up with our bosses for next season Richard and Angela who we have met a couple of times before and our work colleagues Duncan and his wife who we haven’t. We have all agreed to meet in Seville for the festival of the three kings on 6th January. They are all traveling from the uk and leaving on the 3rd and 2nd respectfully so therefore making hasty road trips to get there. We however have time and distance on our side so have a day or two to kill. We decided to “kill” today by jumping into the smart car and sightseeing. We plumped for a three stop road trip. Firstly the cliff top village of Cacela Velha then on to the pretty coastal town of Tavira split in two by the river Gilão and then finally on to Alcoutim situated up stream on the river Guadiana the natural boundary between Spain and Portugal. Sun out, Roof down and wind in Angie’s hair it was lovely driving in rural Algarve.
Cacela Velha is a very quaint cliff top hamlet nestled around a church. Picture postcard pretty houses with whitewashed walls under terracotta tiled roofs filled the few roads that it had and there were lovely views down to the sea. It didn’t take long to see it in its entirety before jumping back into the car and on to our next stop.
Tavira is probably up there with a few others as one of the loveliest towns we have visited so far. Attractive bridges cross the river and grand houses stand either side of it with their four sided pyramid style roofs. Wide cobbled streets work their way away from the river and palms are everywhere. We wandered the streets and looked in a few shops having a coffee in a waterside cafe before heading back to the car.
Sorry I got a bit “Arty farty” with these photos. Now for some proper snaps…
Alcoutim was in the guide book as another hidden gem- now we have had a few of them that turned out to be glass instead of Diamond but this one was nice. Probably amazing in the summer with leafy streets leading down to the river and terrace bars packed with atmosphere, however on 3rd January it was mainly closed but you could still understand why it has it admirers. Spain was just over the river and you could clearly hear the residents talking in their native tongue.
(The drive there along the IC27 has yet again changed my mind on the Portuguese road system as it was amazing yet the N125 that I was raving about on my last blog was horrendous. I think there is no standard good or bad roads in Portugal it’s just take your chance and hope for the best). We took the old road back to the motorhome as it followed the river and looked more interesting and indeed it was a lovely drive through Alamo and over a mountain pass and rejoined the IC27 further down.
A thoroughly enjoyable day to say goodbye to Portugal and to finish it off a few photos of Castro Marim at night, the two castles, the nativity silhouette against a stunning church, the windmill and sunset
Tomorrow we head for Spain (all of 5k away), and on to Seville. We can’t wait.