Visitors From Overseas !

Albufeira 10th – 22nd October

I remembered celebrating my birthday last year, we had only been in Northern Spain for three days, after a one night stop on an Aire we ended up in ‘Palencia‘ and was seeking some WiFi, we ended up in a ‘Burger King’ fast food place and so my birthday meal was a ‘Whopper’, not as in ‘Massive’ but as in the type of burger !! This year’s birthday meal was going to be slightly different………………..

We had based ourselves on the ‘Aire’ at Parque da Palmeira in Albufiera in readiness for a small contingent of our family to arrive, their day of arrival being my birthday on the 16th. I have to be totally honest though, this was just by sheer luck rather than any cunningly pre-conceived plan. Even knowing that they would be arriving on ‘my’ big day, I hadn’t anticipated that we would do anything special as I knew that they would have been up at stupid o’clock that morning to travel to their respective Departure Airports, then the hanging around at the Airport before boarding, then the three-hour flight, the arrivals procedures at this end before a one-hour road journey to Albufeira before checking in at their respective ‘Accommodations’, so no, I rather expected that when we collected them from the Airport that they would all be ‘knackered’ and would just want to unpack and ‘chillax’.

We had been advised, by some of our fellow travellers on last year’s trip, that parking at Faro Airport was a bit of a nightmare and that parking outside the terminal building was not permitted. There were of course ‘car parks’ but these had height barriers, let alone the fact that ‘Big Momma’ would need to use at least two parking spaces. Needless to say that I did have a few concerns and so the night before our visitor’s arrival saw the return of the ‘Dark Forces‘. We had arranged to time our arrival after Shazza’s mum had landed, collected her suitcase off the carousel and got through the ‘Immigration’ check point, so hopefully they would all be waiting outside, we would do a ‘drive by’, habitation door open, moving at a slow speed and bundle them all in, so technically we would not be parked !! We received a text message at around 09:30am, to say that ‘Chris and Sarah’ had arrived. Shazza’s mum’s flight was due to land at 11.35am so we planned to arrive at 12pm. We should have known that such a relatively simple and logical plan was never going to come off !! It was a short twenty-five mile drive to the Airport, we timed our part of the plan to perfection but we were thwarted, first because we couldn’t get anywhere near the terminal building and second, the ‘Thomson’ flight from Doncaster was ‘delayed’ by fifteen minutes, now there’s a surprise !! Fortunately, we saw an area, not far from the terminal building, where a load of mini-buses were parked and quite conveniently there was a ‘Big Momma’ sized space available, which I immediately occupied. We received a text from ‘Chris’ saying that they could see us, well ‘Big Momma’, isn’t really that unmissable ! They were going to wait to meet Shazza’s mum and then walk across to where we were parked. In the meantime Shazza would go across and do the ‘huggy’, ‘kissy’, greeting stuff and then bring their cases over to the van. All in all this was a good impromptu secondary plan. Well it would have been if the two eagle-eyed Portuguese Policemen hadn’t spotted us !! However, they were very nice Policemen and apart from pointing out that we could not park where we were parked, they explained where we could park, with the coaches in the ‘P6’ Parking Area, €0.15 (£0.12) for the first fifteen minutes then €0.35 (£0.28) for every fifteen minutes thereafter and joy of joys it was only a two or three-minute walk from the terminal building. So another lesson learnt, whilst it is always good to listen to advice, there are times when you just have to try things for yourself !!

'Big Momma' parked up in the 'P6' Buses Park at Faro Airport. Right across from the terminal building and plenty of room !!

‘Big Momma’ parked up in the ‘P6’ Buses Park at Faro Airport. Right across from the terminal building and plenty of room !!

Happy smiling faces all round. And the weather had now turned again for the better with temperatures for the week 'forecast' to climb from the current 23 degrees(c) to a balmy 27 degrees(c). Not bad for the Middle of October !!

Happy smiling faces all round. And the weather had now turned again for the better with temperatures for the week ‘forecast’ to climb from the current 23 degrees(c) to a balmy 27 degrees(c). Not bad for the Middle of October !!

We had found a car park just a five-minute walk from the Apartments where Shazza’s mum was staying, we drove their first and she ‘checked’ into her room then we all went back to the Motorhome ‘Aire’ and spent a good couple of hours just ‘chillaxing’ with a couple of beers and nibbles. I received some Birthday gifts and then was so pleased when ‘Chris’ piped up and said ‘Where are we going to tonight to celebrate your Birthday” !! So we arranged a time and a place to meet and the deed was done. ‘Chris and Sarah’ got a taxi to their Apartment, which the nice man in our reception hut arranged for them, whilst Shazza walked her mum back to her Apartment, we would collect her again later on our way into the ‘Old Town’.

'Apartmentos Cerra Malpique'

‘Apartmentos Cerra Malpique’

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On our last visit to Albufiera, when we last used this ‘Aire’, Shazza and I had not ventured into town in the evenings, probably because it had been later in the year and was therefore colder when the sun had set. We did get a mini-bus trip to the ‘Strip’ on Christmas Eve when we booked in with the Camping & Caravanning Club Christmas Rally and had stayed for five nights on a ‘proper’ campsite, however, we went straight in to a pre-booked Bar/Restaurant so didn’t see anything of Albufeira itself. This time it was different, the evenings were still warm and so after we collected Shazza’s mum from her apartment we walked the short distance into town where we met up with Chris and Sarah. The place was still ‘buzzing’, this is a ‘winter sun, sand and sea resort’ after all and the holiday charter flights were still bringing in the holiday makers by the plane load !! The bars blared out their music, the bright multi-coloured neon lights added to the holiday feel, the restaurants were ‘busking’ for trade, I loved it, this place was vibrant, the evening was warm and we were all hungry. We wandered up and down, through the numerous brightly lit and busy narrow streets, the choice for places to eat was overwhelming and then finally we found ‘the place’. It was in the central square, it was pretty busy already, this was always a good sign. We managed to grab the last table that could accommodate a group of five people and sat down just drinking in the atmosphere. The ‘girls’ ordered ‘Piña Coladas’, Chris ordered a large beer and I went for my favourite tipple, a JD & Coke.

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Come on now, the dessert isn't 'that' big and anyway it is my 'Birthday' !!

Come on now, the dessert isn’t ‘that’ big and anyway it is my ‘Birthday’ !! Bit worried about the guy behind me though, he appears to have a ‘light sabre’ coming out of his head !!

It was a lovely evening but it had been a long day for our visitors, and stuffed with our three course meals it was time to head off to our respective accommodations. We departed after making arrangements to meet up with Chris and Sarah in a couple of days, they needed time to get some of their own ‘exploring’ done or even catching up with some ‘Sun, Sand and Sea’ !! We escorted Shazza’s mum back to her Apartment, her first introduction to the ‘Albufeira Hills‘ and the ‘Thirty Thousand Steps‘ !! She would become familiar with such ‘descents’ and ‘Ascents’ during her week-long visit and we assured her that by the time she returned home she would be the ‘fittest‘ pensioner in South Yorkshire !! Shazza and I walked hand in hand in the warm night air back to ‘Big Momma’…………………

Just some of the steps to negotiate 'down' into the 'Old Town' !!

Just some of the steps to negotiate ‘down’ into the ‘Old Town’ !! 

And just a few more !!

And just a few more !!

When we awoke the following morning, a little later than usual at 09:15am, the sun was already climbing high into the sky, it’s warmth already penetrating our still closed blinds, it was going to be a nice hot sunny day. I am not one for wandering in and out of shops, that was the plan for Shazza and her mum for the day’s activities, or at least a good part of it, so I was permitted to have a ‘pottering’ day to myself. I am not sure that I considered emptying the toilet cassette or filling the fresh water tank as pottering, but it was better than wandering in and out of shops !! It served me right really, the plan the previous day, after picking up our visitors from the Airport was, on returning to the ‘Aire’, to stop at the Motorhome Service Point and fill the water tank. We were almost empty but filling it using the hose at the service point would have taken only a few minutes. However, we were busy chattering and I forgot about needing the ‘re-fill’, by the time we had parked ‘Big Momma’ up on her ‘pitch’ again, got her transformed back into ‘lived in’ mode, rolled out and pegged down the awning it was too late. So, as my penance, today I would have to fill the ‘fresh water tank’ by hand, which would involve ‘numerous’ trips to and fro with a watering can. It took ‘ten’ such trips back and forth !! to the amusement of my fellow Motor-homers who were sat, basking in the scorching heat in their sun chairs, with nice cold beers watching me as I toiled away. One such onlooker, a ‘Dutch’ man asked me what I was doing with my watering can. Well it was a reasonable question I suppose, considering that there was a very good ‘Service Point’ for such purposes, which one only had to drive one’s Motorhome to, insert hose into water filler, turn on tap and wait for tank to fill. So I gave him what I considered to be a reasonable explanation, “It was my fitness regime” I told him, “In the searing heat of the day I walk and fill my 10 Litre watering can, then I return with the now full and heavy receptacle to my Motorhome where I then drink all of the contents to quench my thirst. I then return with my empty watering can and repeat the exercise“. He looked even more bemused and asked how many times I would do this ? I told him that my record was 90 Litres but today, because it was so  searingly  hot, that I was going for the 100 Litres, a new record for me !! He asked how that would keep me fit as my body would bloat with all the water ? Then I told him that, that  was the trick to my fitness regime “I would spend the rest of the day running backwards and forwards to the toilet to empty my bladder” !!

There were two ‘other‘ records broken today, Shazza and her mum returned to ‘Big Momma’ after ‘only‘ four hours of wandering around the shops, and Shazza, in that space of time had ‘only‘ spent Eleven Euro !! Although she had kept up a certain consistency, the one whereby she cannot pass a ‘Supermarket’ without going in, so the scores so far, LIDL 3 – 1 ALDI. The three of us spent the rest of the afternoon and evening ‘at leisure’, basking in the glorious sunshine sat underneath ‘Big Mommas’ awning !!

Sonia enjoying a 'Port & Lemon' whilst engaged in a game of 'Candy Crush' !!

Sonia enjoying a ‘Port & Lemon’ whilst studiously engaged in choosing this week’s lottery numbers and muttering something about me needing a much bigger van with a ‘Grannies Annexe’ !! Best have another slurp it looks as if that drink is evaporating fast in the heat of the sun !!

Chris and Sarah had done their own thing for the day, but we had arranged to meet up again in the town the following day (Saturday). Chris and Shazza are both ardent supporters of ‘Chelsea FC’, well I guess that’s understandable with them coming from ‘Doncaster’ !! Anyway, Chris had noticed that at many of the bars in town they were showing ‘Live’ coverage of the game  against ‘Crystal Place’, so to increase the number of ‘Supporters’ over here in Portugal we all agreed to meet up, have lunch and a few beers whilst watching the game. Now only the ‘British’ can be in an overseas location, sunny, 25 degrees(c) with a golden sandy beach on the doorstep but elect to sit in a bar all afternoon and watch football !!

"c'mon Referee, he dived" !!

” C’mon Referee, he dived, give him an Oscar for play acting” !!

By the time the game was over it was 5pm, Chris and Sarah were moving on to a ‘Cocktail Bar”, well it is quite thirsty work shouting at a TV screen for nearly two hours, nothing to do with it still being ‘Happy Hour‘ of course, which appeared to me to be a long hour as it was on ‘All Day‘ !! We said our farewells and agreed to meet again at ‘Big Momma’ on ‘Tuesday’ afternoon for a farewell BBQ. We on the other hand needed to get Shazza’s mum back to ‘Big Momma’, it was way after the 4pm ‘Aperitif and Nibbles‘ time and she needed her medication (Port & Lemon), so we climbed back up the hills, although this time, because we were not taking her back to her Apartment until later, we made a diversion around the ‘Thirty Thousand Steps !!

'Chris and Sarah'

‘Chris and Sarah’

We awoke on Sunday morning to the sun already high in the sky, today’s temperature forecasted to climb to 27 degrees(c) and 30 degrees(c) by Wednesday. Our ‘Overseas Visitors‘ were being treated to a fantastic week of sunshine. We sat in bed, drinking our first coffee of the day listening to ‘Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs‘ on the iPlayer Radio, courtesy of the site WiFi. I ‘just happened‘ to mention to Shazza that some of my blog readers, knowing how proficient she was at baking, had enquired as to whether she had baked me a ‘Birthday’ cake. Not that I was in any way trying to make her feel ‘guilty’ about not having done so you understand !! so what a nice ‘surprise’ when after getting up she decided, for some unknown reason, to bake me some ‘Eccles’ cakes !!

No 'Conventional' Birthday cake, Shazza muttered something about the oven in Big Momma not being big enough to bake a cake large enough to accommodate all of the candles !!

No ‘Conventional’ Birthday cake, Shazza muttered something about the oven in Big Momma not being big enough to bake a cake large enough to accommodate all of the candles !!

Today, Shazza was going to collect her mum from the Apartment and have another saunter along more of the narrow streets of the ‘Old Town’, streets that were lined with even more shops !! Knowing that this was not one of my favourite pastimes, in any weather, let alone a searingly hot 27 degree(c), I was permitted yet another afternoon of ‘me‘ time !! This did, however, give me a chance to conduct a review of our first month’s ‘on the road‘ finances. I do all my budget planning around ‘weeks’ and not calendar months so from landing at Santander on 20th September to last Friday, 17th October, we had completed our first 28 day period (4 weeks) and so it would be good to see how we were faring against each of our allotted ‘budget’ pots.

I have already given a breakdown of our ‘Allocated Budgets’ in a previous post (Land Ahoy), what I may not have mentioned however was that the budget for this year had to take into consideration our planned trip to Morocco. So things like our Ferry costs (€299.00 for an open-ended return) and additional fuel costs (actual mileage unknown so just ‘guesstimated’) needed to be built in to the overall ‘Financial Plan’, then averaged out over the period of the trip e.g. Total additional costs divided by 24 weeks. So whilst our ‘Allocated Budgets’ may, to some, appear a little generous in certain areas, this is the explanation . We had not, by the way, increased our ‘budget pots’ to cater for the week that we had our ‘family visitor’s’, this would just be absorbed within the ‘normal’ allocated allowances.

I could have made my ‘Financial Spreadsheet’ an all singing, all dancing sort of affair, I like ‘Spreadsheets’, however, that would have involved a lot of ‘Columns’ and a lot of ‘Formulas’, and I wanted to keep it simple enough for all the ‘Columns’ to fit on just one page on my iPad screen. So that does involve doing a bit of work with a ‘Calculator’, which I had at the ready, and shortly afterwards I had the information that I required which basically told me that our ‘Total Expenditure’ for this first period of twenty-eight days (4 weeks) was €710.00 (£579).

I will be more interested in the ‘expenditure’ over the next twenty-eight day period though, as there will be some changes to some ‘individual‘ budget pots. For example, the expenditure on ‘Diesel’ should be reduced as the ‘Algarve’ coastline (West to East, or vice versa) is not that long so our ‘trip’ distances, compared to getting down here, will be much shorter and our fuel consumption will also be influenced by how frequently we move from one location to another. However, we did also come out here with some pre-purchased ‘provisions’ so our ‘Grocery’ expenditure has not been that high over this first period. So now, having used ‘most’ of those ‘provisions’, Shazza, the trip provisions ‘Quartermaster’, will be re-stocking as we go, so I am anticipating an increase in this area of the budget, although (Shazza are you reading this ?) hopefully, still remaining within the ‘agreed‘ allocated budget !!

Shazza returned from her afternoon out and she certainly looked pretty ‘knackered’, her electronic ‘gizmo’ indicated that she had walked 12km today, that’s a reasonable walk on an ordinary day but in temperatures of 27 degrees(c) and the ‘Thirty Thousand Steps’ and the ‘other’ hills she would have had to contend with, we’ll all I can say is that I am glad that I left the shopaholics to it !! Neither was that it for the day, we had decided to give Shazza a night off from the cooking, and that meant a night off for me from washing the pots afterwards as well, so another walk to the Apartments this evening, followed by a descent of the ‘Thirty Thousand Steps’ and walk into town which would be rewarded with ‘Dinner’, prepared and cooked by someone else, the ‘pots’ cleared, washed and put away by someone else, it got my vote big time !!

The town was reasonably busy for a Sunday evening

The town was reasonably busy for a Sunday evening 

One of the numerous Restaurant 'Tounts' trying to drum up business !!

One of the numerous Restaurant ‘Touts’ trying to drum up business ! 

Cheers !

Cheers !

Eee by gum lad, dus tha know if I should eat  it, drink it or wear it ?

Eee by gum lad, dust tha knows if I should eat it, drink it or wear it !!

Not sure I could eat a whole one to myself but between us we should be alright !!

Not sure that I could eat a whole one to myself, between us though we should be alright !

It's supposed to be an 'Irish Coffee'' with a Pink straw !!!! All it needed was a yellow umbrella and a red Glacé Cherry and it would have been a bloody Trifle !!!

It’s supposed to be an ‘Irish Coffee”, what ! with a Pink straw !!!! All it needed was a yellow umbrella and a red Glacé Cherry and it would have been a bloody Trifle !!!

Actually, it was a damn fine meal, plenty of it and the service was excellent, friendly and attentive without being overly intrusive. Once again though, we ‘over indulged’ and were all pretty well stuffed, but I had the very thing to combat that……………………………………..

Come on girls, it’s time to face those ‘Thirty Thousand Steps‘ but this time in the ‘upward‘ direction !!

C'mon you two, look lively, remember 'No Pain, No Gain' !!

C’mon you two, look lively, remember ‘No Pain, No Gain’ !!

The weather was getting hotter and hotter, even the nights were uncomfortably humid and for the first time in a very long time we needed to use the ‘Air Con’. We had included this as one of our ‘Optional Extras’ on ‘Big Momma’ when we had ordered her from new. We had holidayed previously in Spain, quite a few years ago, in the height of Summer and suffered. However, since purchasing Big Momma we have rarely used it and as it can only be used when on ‘Mains Electric‘, we were beginning to wonder whether this had been a worthwhile expenditure. However, we had it now so just had to live with it, but now it is coming into its own as it really does the job. Opening windows do not ‘cut the mustard‘, especially when there is no cooling breeze, just more warm, sticky, humid air. We may not require it in another few weeks when the evening temperatures will drop dramatically but right now we are both pleased that we have it !!

Shazza had arranged another ‘Expedition‘, this time a bus trip to ‘Faro‘ with her mum to look around the town, Albufiera’s streets and shops having been well and truly ‘walked‘ over the previous few days. Once again Shazza was ‘letting me off the hook’, an hour and twenty minutes on a bus, followed by what could be hours of pavement pounding followed by a return bus journey of another hour and twenty minutes, and in temperatures that were now pretty damn close to 30 degrees(c), you have to be joking !! So Shazza tottered off to first meet her mum and then catch the bus to Faro, whilst I busied myself with……………………. !! Well, let’s see now, I washed a few pots, had a second coffee whilst checking my Emails, reviewing and amending this current blog ‘masterpiece’, chatted to my immediate neighbours, had another coffee, then wandered across for my ‘daily’ catch-up with Roy and Amanda (Twernt on Tour). As I was returning to ‘Big Momma’ I saw what looked like a person sat inside the van, at first I thought my eyes were deceiving me but as I drew closer I could see it was ‘Sonia’, Sharon’s mum. When I entered the van it was full !! Shazza, her mum, and Chris and Sarah, who had apparently met them at the bus station and joined them on their trip to Faro. Now I know that when I get chatting that time can fly by, but I was certain I hadn’t been away from ‘Big Momma’ for that long !! Apparently, they had managed to catch a ‘direct’ bus into the city and that was only a thirty-minute journey, however, they were disappointed with the place and so after a very brief look around they got on the next bus back and Shazza was preparing lunch for everybody. We all spent the rest of the afternoon chatting amongst ourselves, Amanda popped across with another batch of her ‘Chilli Dogs’ and I reminded her to take a photo to include in their next blog post, but I took a photo of the batch that she had brought around just in case she conveniently forgets !! I am sure that she won’t as they are truly wonderful and she needs to show ‘others’ who read our blogs that it isn’t just ‘Big Momma’s’ oven that can produce ‘gastronomic delicacies’ !!

It really was a scorcher of a day, too hot to do anything, other than remove tops off cold bottles of beer and uncork a bottle or two of ‘Fizzy Grape Juice” !! Afternoon turned to early evening and finally, as the sun began to set, the searing heat of the day began to relent and although we had not planned for ‘Dinner’ guests, Shazza being Shazza conjured up a nice meal, Quiche for her mum, Lasagne and a Savoury Mince Pasta Bake, Wedges, Salad and Garlic Bread for the rest of us, washed down with another bottle of ‘fizzy grape juice’, well you have to keep your fluid intakes up in temperatures like this !!

After a little more general chit-chat, with quite a bit of family ‘piss taking’ thrown in for good measure, as you do, it was time for Chris and Sarah to walk back to their apartment. We finished clearing and washing the pots and then walked Shazza’s mum back to her apartment before strolling back ourselves to ‘Big Momma’, and that was another day done.

We had kept the ‘Air Con’ on whilst we had walked Sharon’s mum back to her Apartment, this meant that by the time we returned to ‘Big Momma’ it was nice and cool inside and so we both managed to have a good refreshing sleep. It was a different story when we awoke the following morning ! Any reference previously in my posts regarding the weather, in particular to the word ‘Scorching‘ please ignore, when I had looked at the ten-day weather ‘works of fiction’, at the start of the visit by our family, it had stated that we would reach highs of 27 degrees(c) for their last two days here on the Algarve. Well once again they were consistent in that they got it wrong ! However, on this occasion it was wrong in our favour for little did we know that today the temperature would reach a ‘Scorching‘ 34 degrees(c) !! If my “Belgian” friend, whom we had met at ‘Baragem Pego do Altar‘, earlier on in our travels, we’re here now, I would most certainly have told him that it was definitely “Too Hot” !!

The morning was spent ‘pottering’, as we were due to leave here in just a couple of days Shazza decided to catch up with some clothes washing. I did the necessary with the on-board facilities, you know the ones that need ‘emptying and filling‘ as appropriate, it was hard going in this heat even though it was still only 10am !! Roy called around to inform us that they were getting ready to leave, they had discovered a Campsite near ‘Tavira‘ with good facilities and at a great rate, I am sure he will report on it in his ‘blog’. We once again said our farewells and hoped that we would meet up with each other again somewhere along the Algarve coastline before they made tracks for their Christmas location in Spain, in December. Then it was time for us to meet up with Sharon’s mum, today we had arranged for us all to have a BBQ here on the ‘Aire’, Chris and Sarah would be joining us later, but first there was a little matter of purchasing some meat and re-stocking the all important beer supplies. Sonia was already waiting for us outside the ‘LIDL’ supermarket and so ‘we‘ (Shazza), set about depleting the ‘stores’ stock of fresh meat !! I, on the other hand, had observed a very good special offer on a case of fifteen bottles of ‘Carlsberg’ lager, half price at only €4.99 (£4.06), we will have some of that thank you very much, my part of the mission completed with relative ease !! On our way out of the supermarket we just happened to see Roy parked up outside, Amanda  inside the store doing their own re-provisioning, so we stopped and had another little chat, as you do, before commencing the trek back to ‘Big Momma’. Normally, the walk back to the ‘Aire’ would only have taken an easy ten-minutes, but today with a heavy case of beers in my rucksack, a bag of shopping in one hand and temperatures bordering on the unbearable, it took twice as long ! By the time we returned to the van my head was leaking, my tongue felt as if it was four times its normal size and my head was pounding, I was seriously dehydrated !! It took three ‘tumblers’ of water, which didn’t touch the sides on the way down, before I started to feel better. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the shade drinking as much water as I could, grape juice or beer would have to wait until later !! When Chris and Sarah arrived, mid-afternoon, we all agreed to leave the BBQ until the sun began to set at around 5.30pm, although they were ready to make an immediate start on the beers !! I had decided to utilise both our BBQ’s, our twenty year-old ‘Smokey Joe‘ charcoal BBQ and the newer ‘CADAC Chef‘ gas one, with five carnivores to feed one small BBQ was never going to be enough. Once we lit the ‘barbies’ that signalled that it was also time to uncork the ‘Fizzy Grape Juice’, I decided that I had probably drunk enough water for one day, and let’s face it the odd bottle glass or three of grape juice would go some way towards my ‘Five-a-Day’, well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it !!

Who says men can't do two things at once ? Two 'Barbies', no problems !!

Who says men can’t do two things at once ? Two ‘Barbie’s’, no problems !!

The two ‘Barbie’ system had worked a treat, everything was cooked and ready to eat at the same time. With ‘Big Momma’ set up for just two ‘travellers’ and with limited storage space, we only had the two ‘outdoor’ chairs, but with the sun now set, the intense heat had subsided and so we all sat indoors with all the windows and doors open, there was more than enough seating space, although the fold away dining table is only really large enough for four people, we coped, as you do. The evening passed quickly with general chatter and not one but two ‘video Skype’ calls back to the UK, then it was time to  return Sharon’s mum back to her Apartment for the penultimate time.

Shazza’s ‘Aunty Margaret‘ (her mum’s sister) had told us, on several occasions, about a fishing village at a place called ‘Olhos de Agua‘, not far from Albufiera which, when she had visited, happened to be holding a ‘Sardine Festival’. We decided that for her last day we would take Shazza’s mum to this fishing village. We caught a local bus from the conveniently located bus station, right opposite the ‘Aire’, it was only about a ten-minute ride but when we got off the bus it looked like just another ‘tourist’ town with its Hotel’s and Apartments lining the streets, along with all the usual ‘tourist tat‘ Shops, Cafes, Bars and Restaurants. Fortunately, right opposite where we disembarked the bus, there was a Tourist Information Office, the young female sat behind her wooden desk spoke excellent English, I enquired as to whether there was anything of interest to see in the area. She explained that we were in the ‘new‘ part of the town, for some reason I seemed to hang on to the word ‘Town‘, no mention of ‘Village‘, but she did point us in the direction of the ‘Old’ town and the beach. I imagined that it was a bit like France and Spain, they too sometimes had a habit of calling their Villages, ‘Towns’. We walked down the hill, passing more ‘tourist tat’ shops festooned with beach head wear of all descriptions, multi-coloured ‘flips’ and matching ‘flops’, sunglasses, sun creams and of course the holiday Tee-shirts that you wouldn’t be seen dead in once you returned home, well some of you wouldn’t at least !! We reached the point where you could go no further, unless of course you had a submarine or a boat. There was a nice little square, surrounded by newly developed Apartment blocks, more ‘tourist tat‘ shops, cafes, bars and restaurants but there was not even the ‘sniff‘ of a sardine let alone the sight of one. There was however, a nice sandy beach,  with people doing excellent impressions of freshly cooked ‘Lobsters‘ !! We did not know how long ago it was that ‘Aunty Margaret’ had visited this place, perhaps when it was still a lovely little fishing village, unspoilt by the lure of the tourist Euro, or perhaps, and it is only a ‘perhaps‘, after a glass too many of the local ‘grape juice’, the names of places she had visited had become a bit confused !! Whatever the explanation, we stayed briefly for a coffee, which was well worth the visit in itself as we also got a ‘free’ sugar coated Donut (or for my Deutsch readers, a  ‘Berliner’), then instead of walking back up the hill in the searing heat, yes another 30+ degree(c) day, we took a taxi back to the ‘Aire’.

Nice views 'Aunty Margaret' but not a sight of a 'Sardine' !!

Nice views ‘Aunty Margaret’ but not a sight of a ‘Sardine’ !!

For the last day of their holiday we had arranged to meet up later that evening with Chris and Sarah at ‘Urban Pizza‘ in Albufiera’s ‘Old Town’. Shazza wondered what sort of food it would serve, I said it sounded ‘Italian‘ to me !!!!! Because they had an earlier flight back than Shazza’s mum, they would be taking a taxi back to Faro airport in the morning, so this would be the last time that we would see them until we ourselves returned to the UK in March 2015.

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However, like our visitors from overseas, we too would be moving on tomorrow so we needed to get a few things sorted on our last afternoon. Shazza wanted to do some more washing and to change the bedding. I needed to clean the BBQ’s, not the nicest of jobs on the best of days but in these temperatures ! But they needed doing so I just got on with it. I would also need to put the awning away and the ‘poles and pegs’, the sun chairs and then the BBQ’s which would involve unpacking then re-packing the garage. I made an ‘executive’ decision (Shazza lets me do that occasionally) to do those ‘Blue’ jobs once we had walked Sharon’s mum, for the last time, back to her Apartment, it would be much cooler then. Mind you, it was better than sitting inside the van, ironing yesterday’s washing with no ‘Air Con’ on, the iron and Air Con took too much ‘Wattage’ and kept blowing our pitch electrics !! I could of course have set her up with a table outside, under the awning, but she was reluctant to “Aire our clean washing in public” !!

Well, we had been in Albufiera for a total of thirteen days, the last seven having been spent with some of our family from the UK, in what has been some really terrifically hot weather, but the time has now arrived for us to once again each go our separate ways. For them, back to the much cooler climate of the UK Autumn, but for us, remaining in the warmth of Southern Europe, it means getting back onto the road with ‘Big Momma’ to continue our adventures……….

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6 Responses to Visitors From Overseas !

  1. noggin says:

    The e-cig in the BBQ picture looks very realistic Eric, must try one myself…….open invite for xmas as you know but only if it fits in with what transpires for you both……warm down here isn’t it?….don’t like bragging to UK’ers but 34°c yesterday, hope they don’t get jealous….only felt like 33°c anyway! our best wishes, Roy & Amanda

    • They are very realistic :0) Thanks for the open invite, if Morroco doesn’t come off it would be good to hook up and share a bottle or five of ‘Falling Over Juice’ !! As you probably already are aware, we are now back at ‘Alvir’, spent a lazy afternoon on the beach with a few cooling dips in the sea. The WiFi is a bit strange here, last time no probes getting it on the iBoost, today…..Nothing happening !! Went out this evening to a handy coffee bar and used their free WiFi to ‘publish’ latest blog post, then got back and was automatically connected to WiFi, don’t know who’s, which is how I am managing to respond to your comment now !!!!!!! Anyway, you guys enjoy, love to Amanda xx Speak soon :0)

  2. robeymichael says:

    The Olhos de Agua sardine festival is held every year in the second week of Aug
    ust, though it sounds a bit fishy to me.

    • Many thanks for that :0) we were just actually having a tongue in cheek bit of fun with Sharon’s Aunty Margaret. When she reads the blog she will question herself about whether she had told us the right ‘plaice’ (See what I did there !)

  3. Debs says:

    Sounds like u had a lovely birthday and a great week with the family…
    Damn that was a lot of steps !!!!
    I hope the sun is still shinning on you both…The sun is lovely here today..I am watching the countryside go past with its pretty autumn colour as I am on my way to Taunton to see family..
    can’t wait to read your next post ☺

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