30th December 2010 – Silves

30 12 2010

Another morning of roaring skies, thunderous booms and lightning though this soon ceased and we were left with a fairly hot and humid affair.

It was a very lazy day really, a long walk with Jack in the morning took us around the outskirts of the town of Silves and past what I presumed to be a prison, didn’t know they had one here, bloody small one if it was one but the razor wire around the perimeter kind of gives it away a bit. Lorna went to the supermarket to do a little bit of shopping whilst i busied myself reading and washing up. On the reading front I have now finished the book by John Grisham (The Broker) and have moved on to Money by Martin Amis. I tried to read The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy but got nowhere with it at all and gave up after three chapters, one for the recycling bin I think.

Later in the afternoon, once Lorna had visited the swimming pool to go on the internet and charge her laptop up we took Jack out again for another walk. The Italians who had parked close by when we first arrived were out talking to some others and I saw that their big fluffy cat was about so my grip on Jacks lead was tightened as we walked close by. Jack had seen the cat and was keen to have a closer look but I wouldn’t allow it for obvious reasons! All of a sudden the cat, obviously suicidal, decided that it would be a good idea to take a run at Jack and try to bite his back legs. It didn’t quite manage it but this clearly upset Jack and I literally had to drag him away, for both of their safety’s sake. The Italians seemed fairly unmoved by the whole thing, I doubt they would have been unmoved if I had decided to let Jack go and sort his attacker out. Anyway, we decided on our return that we would move the motorhome to a different part of the parking area, Jack is a wise old bean and we both knew that he would, from that point onwards, be watching and waiting for his opportunity of reprisal. For international relations sake we decided not to give him that chance.

Parked in our new spot we had a dinner of pasta with chick peas and a Lloyd Grossman sauce, tasty. A couple of beers for me and then a very quiet night. Last day of 2010 tomorrow and we have not a clue what we are going to do, maybe a late evening meal followed by a few drinks, maybe not. We’ll see what tomorrow brings but for the mean time, a Happy New Year to everyone.


29th December 2010 – Silves

29 12 2010

I was so rudely awoken at 5.30am by a huge clap of thunder which shook the van a little, from that moment on the rain started and clattered down onto the roof of the motorhome for some time. Eventually up at around 10.30am, Jack was walked and as the day seemed as if it would get no better than grey cloudy skies and the occasional splattering of rain we decided that a lunch out would be in order. We had been recommended the Ponte Romana (the scene of the incredible drinking fest that we had when we were here lat time, JJ Johns the Country singer and as much wine as you can drink) by some other British we met yesterday, they said it was traditional Portuguese fayre, menu of the day reasonably priced at around €7.50 each for the main course.

We arrived there on our bikes, slightly damp, at around 1.30pm and were both quickly shown to a table. The restaurant was full of Portuguese enjoying their lunch break and the food looked good. Lorna ordered the Dourada and I had the Sea Bass, deciding on a fish main for a change. We chomped our way through the bread and butter which was on our table in minutes and savoured the sardine paste which seems to accompany every bit of bread that you have in Portugal. The main meals arrived and they were huge, a massive fish each, chips, salad and a a selection of vegetables. The fish was superb, normally I go for meat but I think I shall be changing my menu choice to fish in the future, nicely grilled with crunchy skin and perfectly white meat inside, excellent. We obviously had wine with our meal and initially I ordered a small carafe of house red but on looking around we decided that the small measure might be a little small so before the meal came I changed it to a large one. We were mistaken as when the wine arrived it was a full litre, not the half we expected………still, not to worry eh!

I was obviously ravenous as, after polishing off the main course I ordered a desert of what resembled Black Forest gateaux, Lorna stuck to coffee. After we paid the bill which was just under €25.00 we left and decided to go for another quick drink before heading back. We stopped at the nearest cafe to the motorhome and had another glass of red. A most pleasant afternoon, it was the weathers fault!

Back at the motorhome we had a most relaxing evening, at around 6.30pm the rain started in ernest again and I watched out of the front window as a storm rolled in from the south west bringing thunder and lightning with it. I love it when it’s like that, the lightning lighting up the sky, the thunder booming through the atmosphere and the rain clattering off the roof.

28th December 2010 – Silves

28 12 2010

Another day in Silves. We would have probably moved on today, somewhere by the beach perhaps, but the weather forecast for the next few days is apparently pretty grim so we decided to stay put as we have the comparative luxury of being parked on tarmac so if it does belt down at least we won’t be in a load of mud which would get into the motorhome and generally depress me. I managed to get out and take some photographs of the town today, nothing to shout about really but it’s been a while since I have gone out somewhere, by myself, specifically to take some photos. I wanted to show what the town was like as the overall view I posted the other day doesn’t really show the character of the place. So I wandered around a bit and took some photographs of doors etc (my usual ‘lets get taking photographs again’ subject) and then just some general shots of the area. I wasn’t particularly inspired to be creative I have to say so I shall probably have another go another day.

Cafe Life, Silves

Church Steps

No. 23

I’m a bit in advance with the blog today as I spent the mid-afternoon sat in the cafe in the swimming pool using the free wi-fi and taking the opportunity to charge up my laptop batteries as both had discharged completely. Running the charger through the inverter is possible but it takes lots out of the leisure battery and as the sun isn’t out much the battery isn’t really being topped up enough from the solar panel. Never mind, the coffee is only €0.65 and it’s a pleasant enough place to be.

27th December 2010 – Silves

27 12 2010

Fill up with water – Fail*
Take photographs in the town – Fail

Three hour lunch – Pass
Drink til 5pm – Pass

That about sums up the day. We walked Jack after a good lie in, Lorna buying a ridiculous amount of fresh oranges from the market, then we decided to go for lunch at one of the restaurants on the main road of Silves. I had Chicken Piri-Piri and Lorna the Sea Bass, both were excellent, with it we enjoyed a bottle of red wine from Monsaraz and then a further half litre of house wine, after that we walked up to a cafe close to the church where we had further drinks and chatted to an English couple who were stopping close by. We eventually made our way back to the motorhome and settled down for the evening after a most pleasant and easy day.

*actually, pass as I managed to get the energy together later on to get some water into the tank.

26th December 2010 – Silves

26 12 2010

So it appears that we are really settling down into the holiday mode now, after nearly four weeks away the ‘travelling’ has clearly come to an end and the aim now will be to potter around the Algarve for the next two months. After a good lie in we both got up and planned our day, it didn’t take much planning at all. I decided that the bikes should come off the rack so that we could go for a bike ride at some point so, after walking Jack, off they came and I left Lorna sat outside in the sun reading her book to ride just outside of town to take a photograph of the view that I remember so vividly the first time that I came to Silves many years ago, that of the castle walls and the prominent church next to it. I had to wait a while for the sun to appear from behind some clouds to cast it’s light on the white buildings but I didn’t have to wait for long.


On my way back to the motorhome I met Lorna who was giving Jack another short walk around the exercise area. The main path that surrounds the parking area and swimming pool is designed as an exercise area, the path is painted red and markings all along it signify distances, it also had exercise areas where wooden structures provide facilities for weight lifting, balancing, sit ups and numerous other ‘gym’ type affairs. The area is well used by the Portuguese who, in this town at least, seem very keen to run, power walk and generally lead a healthy lifestyle. When Lorna returned we went on our bikes to one of the local cafes and had a coffee (me, a small beer). Our late lunch (3pm) was one of fried pork belly with mashed potato and baked beans with sausages and the remainder of the afternoon was spent reading books and generally relaxing. The book I was reading was soon finished, The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart was a strange one indeed and probably a complete contrast to my new read, The Broker by John Grisham.

Evening time was further relaxing, chatting and drinking iced Baileys (thanks Mom). We have a few jobs tomorrow, we need to refill the water tank for one and i’m sure there will be some cafe visiting at some point too. I fancy going out and taking some photographs of some of the more interesting doors in the town as well. As I said, holiday mode……….ON!

25th December 2010 – Silves

25 12 2010

Christmas Day in Portugal, slightly surreal as it’s only the second year that we have been out of our natural country for the festive period, and, last year we only left the day before Christmas. I must admit thast I secretly wanted to make it down to the Algarve for Christmas but didn’t actually think we would do it. As it was we had a most relaxing day. It rained very heavily during the night and this continued into the early morning, when we got up at about 9.30am however, the clouds were starting to disappear and the sun started to come out. We spent the early part of the morning opening cards and presents that we had bought with us and then talking to family and friends for a while, giving up on Skype as the connections were so bad that it was impossible to hold a conversation of any length. By the time we had done all of the talking the temperature had risen to around 16 degrees and we considered leaving Silves and heading down to the coast so that we could cook our ‘Christmas chicken’ outside on the BBQ. We decided to stay put though and went for a walk into the town with Jack to see what was open.

Up by the castle walls we found a small bar that had numerous people sat outside and hearing the conversations were in English we sat down and ordered two small beers. We sat chatting to a few people, some with toy reindeer antlers on and, in the conversations found that one of them knew the owners of the caravan site we work on in Stratford, small world! Beers drank and conversations over we headed back to the motorhome and I cooked our starter of prawns in garlic which we both thoroughly enjoyed. The chicken had been marinating in crushed black pepper and garlic for some time and, after a while, was put on to cook. We had that with cubed potatoes cooked with chorizo and a side of tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber, not the most traditional Christmas fayre but damn tasty. We relaxed for a while before washing up and then headed off into the town again just after it fell dark, finding a cafe open we had a coffee outside and took in the ambience of the situation very relaxing. The evening was spent reading and letting our dinner go down.

All in all a really nice Christmas day. The way we feel at the moment we will be stopping where we are for a few more days and then maybe we will move on somewhere else, somewhere by the sea perhaps.

24th December 2010 – Silves

25 12 2010

Lorna suffered after last nights shenanigans and barely left the motorhome all day. In the morning I was up and about, with a slightly numb head, and taking Jack for a walk around the town of Silves where all of the market traders were out selling their wares, mostly fresh fruit, vegetables and of course roasted nuts. Other places selling what looked like hot battered bread had queues outside them. Jack and I strode through the mayhem of the market (Jack as usual getting many stares and being barked at by many a small yappy dog), and up the hill to the castle walls where folk were sat outside the small cafes drinking coffee and relaxing.

Back at the motorhome, Lorna was still feeling rough and my concoction of belly pork served with rice and peas didn’t particularly do a good job of stopping the sickness. We said our goodbyes to Neil and Caroline who were heading off for two nights in a Hotel in Sagres prior to making their way back home to Spain in a few days and promptly moved the motorhome into the spot that they had vacated. An Italian couple had turned up next to us and they had a huge white fluffy cat which they let out a lot, even taking it for walks with them. We didn’t get Jack a Christmas present but didn’t think that it was a good idea to have that temptation right next door to us!

As the sun came out on what had previously been a fairly overcast day I sat outside and read for a while before taking jack out again and letting the patient sleep for a while. Our Christmas Eve tea was one of Heinz tomato soup and bread, simple but very tasty.

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