This is part of the sixteenth section of our
around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Spain or read our previous visit to Portugal
21/1/10 It is almost 12 years since we were in
Portugal. Its borders with Europe were already open by then but we had
to change currency, now replaced by the Euro, so we crossed another
borderless border, the only noticeable change was the countryside,
where Spain has the agricultural plateau Portugal was left with quite
barren countryside, but beautiful in its starkness of gorges and rocky
outcrops. Covilha is a town nestled into the hillside, a mixture of old
Portugal and newer development. A place in the cool for summer with
many hotels, some, like ours, showing their age. We strolled the old
part of town, a strong cup of Portuguese coffee, cobbled streets,
some wood smoked salami and local cheese and bread for dinner,
realising how tall we are in a short society and noticing the time
influence of this country's historic association with their
African neighbours, both in the architecture and people.
22/1/10 With a weekend approaching and rain forecast
tomorrow, and no low cost accommodation along our route, we decided to
head straight for the Algarve, which is offering two person studio
apartments, with breakfast, for 20 Euro a night, that's not per person,
that is for a double. It is winter after
all and the economy is down, so after a hotel breakfast, normally
included in Portugal, we headed out into fog for the 470km ride to the
warmer coast. Taking smaller roads, avoiding the tolls which are the
same for motorcycles and cars in this country, we passed through
gradually increasing fertile country, cork
land, cropping land and finally arrived in the Algarve late afternoon
after a lovely relaxed ride of good roads and little traffic.
23/1/10 The resort we are staying in is situated
virtually on the coast, fronting a beach, a place that in summer
attracts the hordes of all inclusive party holiday makers, usually from
Great Britain, the type of place that has a bad reputation for
excessive drinking, but in winter it is quiet. With 260 rooms, we
estimated there were less than 100 people at breakfast, most rooms are
empty, and many of the resort facilities are closed, like the outdoor
pools, but the indoor spa and heated pool are open along with the
sauna, gymnasium and hydro therapy, all of which are included in our
ridiculously low price. There are a smattering of older Germans and
Dutch couples getting away from the cold up north, a group of Irish men
here for a stag long weekend, some middle aged mixed sex Brits here for
a party, and a couple of Australian travellers resting up after a cold
ride, us. It rained most of the day, heavy, so we spent most of the
time checking out the resort facilities, and as Kay has a cold that
hasn't been clearing during our southerly ride a rest was in order.
24/1/10 Sunshine and high teen temperatures had us
out on the beach for a walk along with some other hotel guests, but it
was mostly deserted. Our long distance property purchase is taking up
some internet time but is also adding to things we can do on a quiet
day. Checking into options for weed clearing, planting of native
species, thoughts of what to build, jobs to do on our return to
can all be easily researched over the internet and filled the time
beach walking and resting.
25/1/10 Another lovely sunny day, temperatures in
the mid teens. A walk to town, Albufeira, along the coastal walkway,
meeting more northern Europeans than locals, sitting looking out to
sea, buying groceries, coffeeing in restaurants, it is easy to see why
they are here. We had noticed a wobble in the rear of the motorcycle as
we were arriving in town the other day and on investigating found that
the rear tyre had developed a large bulge on the left side and covered
part of the tread. We contacted Dunlop Germany by email, the people who
provided us with the tyre, and hopefully they will be able to send us a
replacement in a few days time.
26/1/10 Booked in for another week, can't move on
while the price is so low. Thinking back over our entire 14
travelling we can't find any accommodation that has provided so much
for the price, value for money. It's not just the location, on the
beach, nor the facilities, or the room service each day, but the Monica
Isabel Beach Club, where we are staying, provides a reasonable cooked
buffet breakfast, and free internet in the reception lounge area. Our
apartment has a kitchenette, fridge and stove, cutlery and crockery,
linen provided, and a balcony to sunbake in the sun. Unfortunately
today the sun has given way to cloud and some rain.
27/1/10 We think our ten days booked here is long,
but others seem to be here for the winters duration, retired and
settled in, five weeks, six weeks, or more, perhaps not a bad idea, we
might not get to Morocco this trip, who knows. The long termers are
starting to open up to chatting, normally keeping to themselves and
watching the party goers come and go without getting involved.
Breakfast and happy hour the main socialising.
28/1/10 Funny how routine develops. Breakfast at
8.00am, internet research on travelling and the new block of land. A
fast stroll to the beachside cafe where about 100 entrenched
snow birds sit in sunshine, some bronzed down to their speedo's, others
more tastefully dressed. A TV show pre-recorded on the lap top over a
late lunch, internet, news and stories of interest in the afternoon
followed by happy hour, perhaps a lap top movie, or real TV, and bed.
The same again tomorrow with perhaps a spa or heated pool or walk on
the beach for a bit of variety.
29/1/10 - 26/2/10 Rather than bore the reader with
our sedentary lifestyle further here is a shorter summary of the last
The new tyre from Dunlop arrived and was fitted locally, although we haven't ridden much, just a day ride to the south west of the country, Cape St Vincent and some local rides along the coast.
We continued to extend our stay at the resort hotel, week by week, and ended up having our longest stay anywhere, five weeks, still at the same low price. It was hard to leave when the weather elsewhere was either no better or worse.
Daily walks continued along the beach, although there have been many rainy or showery days, and big seas attacked the soft coast causing a number of large conglomerate rocky outcrops to fall into the sea.
A steady stream of holiday makers, or locals here for Carnivale added a bit of interest and some people escaping the colder north outstayed our long visit.
Morocco didn't make the cut in the long run. The cost of the boat trip, that we have been there twice before and a bit of laziness kept us in Portugal too long so we are now going to move to Spain, then around the Mediterranean coast to France and Italy.
US Harley-Davidson advised that our new engine has finally left the factory in Milwaukee and was being shipped to the UK.
The purchase of our rural property in Australia went through without incident, the day after Kay's birthday, so it was an easy birthday present.
Much of our time has been spent reading up on forestry in South East Queensland, council rules on building, wildlife in the area and thinking of what we want to do with the block.
We are now ready to move on, even though the weather is still uncertain, but our laziness has grown to boredom so it is beyond time we hit the road again.
27/2/10 There are certain signs warning travellers
to move on. Waking up in the middle of the night and finding the
toilet without fumbling or knowing where the light switches are.
Knowing how to work the TV and knowing what program is on what channel,
and worse, at what time. When
none of the travellers you saw on arrival
are still around. When staff at the hotel or local bar call you by your
name. Doing washing twice at the local laundry. When the maid needs to
change the sheets on the bed, or worse, needs to do it more than once.
Finding items easily on
the local supermarket shelf, and as we have sinned on almost all the
accounts we can no longer be considered travellers, and have
dangerously become sedenters, (sedentary 2people). Luckily we finally
signs and have moved on but not before the motorcycle put up a last
protest, its battery was dead and required a push start.
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