Alvor – Silves (15 miles)
We would be leaving the ‘Aire’ at Alvor to head back to the ‘Motorhome Park’ at Silves, just a short 15 mile easy drive away. As is now usual, there is no hurry to get away so we took our time, I did the usual weather check and I wasn’t surprised that yet again the ‘Works of Fiction’ had got it wrong. It was supposed to be a warm 22 degrees(c) but cloudy all day and with rain moving in later in the afternoon, the ‘Aire’ at Alvor is not the place to be when it rains !! However, I could see no clouds but I could feel the heat of the sun already beating down, no way was this going to be just a 22 degrees(c) sort of day. The question now though, do we stay or do we go ? I consulted ‘she who must be obeyed‘ and she said that we will stick with ‘Plan A’, thank goodness that she wasn’t up for another couple of ‘Orgasms’ I didn’t think that I would be able to manage it for a second consecutive night, well I knew my wallet couldn’t and that was a certainty !! but until we actually moved off the ‘Aire’ I knew that that could quite quickly change to some sort of ‘Plan B’ !!
First things first though, we visited the ‘Service Point’ to do the necessary with the on-board facilities. Some may question the logic of this as the Motorhome Park at Silves had a fresh water tap, virtually at the pitch, so why carry the weight of one hundred litres of ‘fresh’ water when I could fill up when I got there. A very good question and well presented, but if you are regular readers of my humble ramblings you will know that with Shazza, what may start out as an intended destination can change at any given point in the journey !! So, we may well initially be heading for Silves but could actually end up in Portimao, or Wild Camping in Carvoeiro or………………. well I guess you get my drift, so it was always best to commence our travels ‘Empty and Full’ as appropriate.
We wouldn’t actually be going very far at all if our next stop wasn’t at the ‘GALP’ service station, on the N124 on the road out of Portimao towards the N125, as my low fuel warning light was telling me that ‘Big Momma’ needed her own kind of sustenance and whilst there, seeing as they also provided GPL (LPG), we may as well top up our ‘Gaslow’ cylinders. First it was top up the LPG as this was on the right hand side as you entered, before the fuel pumps. Worthy of note, literally just before the ‘GALP’ service station there is a ‘BP’ that also does LPG but it is more expensive !! We had last topped up with LPG, 21 days ago, so it would be interesting to see how much we had used. The answer was 15.23 Litres at a cost of €0.69 per litre (£0.56). Next it was Diesel and I had last filled up on 2nd October, today was 1st November, I filled ‘Big Momma’ up, she drank 80 Litres at a cost of €1.28 per litre (£1.04). All the ‘essentials’ completed we set off again, ‘Plan A’ was still the destination.
For anyone who has not done the Algarve coastline before, West to East (or Vice Versa), it is not very long and there are so many ‘Aires‘, ‘Tolerated Parking Places‘ and safe ‘Wildcamping‘ locations along the route, that journeys between them are not great distances. For example, Alvor to the Aire at Portimao was only about 3 miles, but Silves was an easy fifteen miles and it wasn’t long before we were turning into the entrance to the Motorhome Park. We knew exactly where we wanted to be, along the front, this gave us ‘unrestricted’ views out to the surrounding landscape so that we could watch the horses graze in the fields in front of us and also to watch the flocks of Storks that feed in the same fields every single day.
We like the ‘Motorhome Park’ at Silves, okay we could park for nothing at the ‘tolerated parking’ area next to the Swimming Pool, but someone has gone to the trouble of providing this facility, it is beautifully maintained and immaculately clean and for the very spacious pitch, EHU, Motorhome Service Point and WiFi (which admittedly can be a bit temperamental at times) it costs a mere €6.50 (£5.30), there are on site laundry facilities, although at an additional charge (€4.50 Not €3.50 as I previously stated in my last post) and I have also noticed that they are currently installing two shower cubicles !! However, this is only my preference and not a criticism of those that prefer to use the ‘Tolerated Parking’ area, as I have always said, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to live this lifestyle !! There was however another very good reason for us using these facilities, there is a readily available and conveniently located supply of ‘water’, ‘Big Momma’ was in urgent need of some TLC, inside and out before we continued with our travels. As I had predicted earlier, the day was a scorcher, far too hot to clean ‘Big Momma’ all in one go, so I did a bit here and a bit there and ………………………………..well there is always tomorrow isn’t there !!
Tomorrow arrived, although the sky was blue and the sun was shining there was also a strong wind blowing that made it feel a lot cooler than of late. A perfect day for washing Motorhomes. It was handy having a water tap so close to the pitch, I would need several bucketfuls !! Yesterday’s efforts, although a token gesture, did serve a purpose, I managed to remove the worst of the dead insects, or what remained of them, all six of ‘Big Mommas’ alloy wheels were black to the extent that you couldn’t tell that they were alloys and the Chrome Exhaust tail pipe, well suffice to say that a friend of mine, and fellow fulltimer, would have had a heart attack if he had seen the state I had let it get into !! So the worst of the ‘muck’ was removed. Yesterday had been merely the one hundred metre dash, today would be the ‘marathon’ in comparison but by 3pm, the deed had been done, exhaust tail pipe included and even if I do say so myself ‘Big Momma’ was once again looking immaculate !! Shazza had been busying herself with the inside of the van and with washing towels and ‘stuff’, what are known as the ‘Pink’ jobs !!
After a busy morning and afternoon it was time for a bit of ‘R & R’ (Rest and Recuperation) and as luck would have it the ‘Fair’ just happened to be in town, not just any old ‘Fair’ this was a Portuguese ‘Fair’ !! Of course there were the usual fairground attractions, the rides, the sideshows, the brightly lit and colourful neon lights, the loud music and general hub bub of the crowds. However, their was also a full-scale market selling everything from fruit and vegetables, hams and salamis, cheeses, herbs and spices, a variety of nuts (yes and an extra couple of nuts from the UK), clothing, shoes, kitchen ware etc. etc. then there were a whole selection of food wagons from the savoury to the sweet, it was massive, fortunately there were no ‘Cocktail Bars’, two ‘Orgasms’ in one week should be enough for anyone, and after seeing the state of Shazza after her quota this week, two was certainly more than enough !! We had not eaten before we left ‘Big Momma’ so we decided to grab something ‘on the run’ so to speak, whilst we were at the fair.
It had been a nice evening out and a pleasant surprise to have the fair in town at the time we visited, however, it was also the first evening where we had actually felt ‘cold’, admittedly we were in short sleeve shirts, but still it came as a bit of a shock and a reminder that even down here, winter was fast approaching.
We had come to Silves for a purpose, the cleaning of Big Momma, with that task completed and full fuel and LPG we now needed to decide on where to move to next and when. We consulted the ‘Works of Fiction’, although I don’t hold out too much faith in their accuracy, they are all we have to act as some form of guide. The forecast was not looking good for the next ten days, unsettled would be the best way of describing it, no consistent periods of rain but showers throughout the coming days. What was clearly evident was that there was a significant difference between the weather on the Western Algarve, ‘Faro to Sagres’, than that on the Eastern Algarve, ‘Faro to the Spanish Border’. We had been pottering up and down the Western bit for a little while now so it was time to turn our attention to the East, we had a few ‘favourites’ along the way to re-visit and some new places still to explore. So with that decision made the only question was when ? As the following day didn’t look good, weather wise, we opted to sit it out for one more day at Silves and what an excellent decision that proved to be !
I had heard the faint sounds of light rain doing fairy steps on ‘Big Mommas’ roof during the night, the first bit of wet stuff in nearly three weeks so I guess I shouldn’t complain. However, by the time we had surfaced from under the duvet it was dry again and the sun was shining. We took a walk to the local Supermarket to get some nice fresh crispy bread rolls and some milk and then returned to the van where Shazza made some delicious bacon rolls. It was around 12:30pm, I was just finishing my last bacon roll when Shazza suddenly piped up “Cathy’s outside” !! “Which Cathy” I said, “Cathy and Nick’s Cathy“. I looked out of the window and could see someone stood talking to our neighbour, she had her back to me so I couldn’t make a positive ID but there was a familiarity, there was only one thing for it, I needed to investigate further !! As soon as I stepped outside and went to the front of the van she looked around and sure enough, it was ‘Cathy’ !! Shortly afterwards ‘Nick’ appeared on the scene and we went inside for a good old catch-up, well we hadn’t seen them since ‘Cabarceno’ at the back-end of September.
Five and a half hours and two bottles of ‘Grape Juice’ later !! It was beginning to get dark and we had a lovely sunset, however, we needed to start thinking about food. Nick and Cathy had planned to go and stock up at the Supermarket and we had planned to eat in. However, Nick and Cathy had come down from ‘Monchique’ and another couple, ‘Geoff and Chris’, who they had met there, had also come down to Silves and so it was that we all decided to go and eat at a local restaurant.
After a quick wash ‘n’ brush up we made our way into town to ‘Casa Velha‘. Now anyone who thinks that it is expensive to eat out here think again, we started with ‘Bread, Butter and Olives‘, then a choice of ‘Vegetable or Fish Soup‘, followed by a choice of one of twelve main courses and then a half-dozen or so of Dessert choices. Four ‘Carafes‘ of Vino Tinto, two bottles of water, coffees and a glass each of ‘Port‘, for the princely sum of €7.50 each (£6) !!
What a fantastic afternoon and evening we had and what a good decision it had been to stay for the extra day otherwise we would have missed Nick & Cathy, and not got to meet Geoff and Chris, what’s that thing called ‘fate’ !!…………………………………………….