12th February – Monchique

12 02 2012

When we decided to finally leave Sagres we first visited the market that was held just up the road but this offered nothing much in the way of anything different to any of the other markets we have visited in Portugal before, in fact the market was very small and didn’t really appear to be attracting many people unfortunately. We said goodbye to the people that were on the site by the sea and headed on our way, first stop being the beach at Ingrena which we had visited before but never stayed, no change this time either as we decided to head off and have a look at the aire at Lagos. There was no real reason why we decided not to stay at Ingrena and I’m fairly sure we will be back when we are around that area in the future. We headed toward Lagos and found the aire which was well signposted and located right beside the football stadium, not too far from the town but we decided to head on back to Silves (that place is like a big motorhome magnet for us it seems) vowing to return to Lagos and have a look around at some point.

The weekend of the Country and Werstern event at the Ponte Romana arrived and Marion and Dave had done a good job of getting the numbers up so nine of us ended up trooping over to the hotel for the afternoon of music and drinks.As always we had a wonderful time, the music isn’t my normal cup of tea but it’s always a great atmosphere there and it has been reported that I was up and dancing quite a bit, wonder why. There was a quick visit to the O’Cais bar by Lorna and I after the afternoon finished and that is about as much as I can remember, the people we went with were clearly a terrible influence on us.

Dave and I having a dance, country stylee. Photo by Bill

Settling back down at Silves it suddenly became very important to get our heating fixed as night time temperatures were beginning to drop to under freezing point. We suddenly were experiencing a very cold snap in the area, some parts of the world were really struggling according to the news and we were having to wrap up very cosily to ensure that we were warm enough in the night. We had our water heater on just to keep some warmth in the van and to make sure that the water wasn’t dumped overnight. Even the days were colder that we had been used to, even with the sun out the cold wind made it not particularly pleasant outside. I managed to get in touch with a company called CamperServ and after explaining the problem we were having we were booked in for the day after (Tuesday 7th) to get our problem sorted. The owner was excellent, friendly and welcoming and obviously very knowledgable as our problem was soon isolated to a fauly thermostat which was registering a temperature of 60° when it was only just over 20°, no wonder the heating wasn’t coming on. The problem was fixed very quickly by installing a new thermostat and with a parts charge of €10 and €10 for labour we were both well chuffed. CamperServ highly recommended!

At the Country and Western afternoon we had met Bill and Sue who had told us about a chicken restaurant in Monchique so on Friday 10th we headed up to the campsite just south of Caldas de Monchique and, after dropping off one motorhome, headed up to the restaurant in the other. It was a good recommendation too, great chips! After our lunch we headed up to Foia with Bill and Sue and had a wander around the highest point in the Algarve, not for too long though as again, the wind was very cold.

We have been on the site at Caldas for a couple of nights now and it seems that heating the motorhome is something that is going to be a bit of a recurring issue. Our gas heating still works ok but for some reason our small convector heater has now decided to stop working completely, Great! plugged into the electric and having to use gas driven blown air heating to keep us warm at night. Plans for the next while are to get stocked up with lovely Monchique water and then to see where we land before heading back inland where I might manage to get our convector heater fixed, if not I’ll be throwing in the first skip I see.


4th April 2010 Silves

5 04 2010

We pottered about in the morning, not doing a great deal apart from taking Jack on a good long walk to wear him out for the afternoon as we were going to be out at the country and western dinner dance with Graham (now to be referred to as Twinkle Toes) and Diane.

The show started at 2pm so we got there on time, paid, gave our menu choices and took our seats at a reserved table for four. There was already a bottle of red wine on the table and it wasn’t long before a bottle of white appeared as well, all in the price. The meal itself was quite good, a nice soup to start and then chicken, fish or pork for the main and then a choice of rice pudding or fruit salad. As we ate the music and singing started, the artist was JJ Johns and though I’m not a massive fan of country and western it was actually quite good. Everybody there appeared to be English and many of them were obvious followers of the artist, it wasn’t long before many had finished the meal and were up dancing.

I found it most amusing when people started line dancing. Normally when people dance they have a smile on their face but the people line dancing seemed very dowd, hardly a smile to be seen and almost robotic in their movement, I wondered if this was the normal way it was done. I was soon to find out for myself.

After JJ had finished his first set he came made the effort to go round to each table and have a chat, of course he knew most people there but he didn’t leave us out, stopping at our table for a good while, making us feel most welcome.

Just as the Easter bonnet competition was finishing I walked back to the motorhome to make sure Jack was ok but my timing was not good as whilst I was away JJ did his Jonny Cash set which apparently was quite good, black coat and all. Just after I got back the line dancing started in ernest with an English lady complete with a microphone headset taught and guided from the front, Lorna and Diane were straight up but Twinkle Toes and myself sat it out and continued the tough task of drinking more wine. The line dancing was quite entertaining to watch as the people at the front appeared to know what they were doing and had the benefit of being right behind the teacher. Toward the middle and the back of the group though things were a little different, I likened it to ‘Chinese whispers’ as the further back you went the more confused the movement became, people following the ones directly in front of them the cause of the confusion. They all seemed to have a good time though.

After a lady singer did her bit everybody was encouraged to participate in another line dancing session, Twinkle Toes and I then realised why all the drink was included as it didn’t take much persuasion to get us both up and in a big circle with our partners. We were talked through the steps which I immediately managed to get muddled up, going forward when I should have been going backwards and kicking the wrong leg out, annoying Lorna who managed to remember the moves. After we did these steps for a bit a new one was introduced which resulted in the ladies on the outside of the circle changing partners after each set. This meant that I managed to unsucessfully dance with everyone, quite amusing really, even by the end if it I hadn’t got the moves right. Line dancing is clearly not my thing!

As the entertainment came to a close at 6pm we stayed a good while chatting and finishing off our free wine, of which we had had a fair amount by this time. Unable to resist more entertainment however we headed straight for a bar in town that had a live band on and got chatting to more people in there. I decided that I needed to check on Jack so I headed off back to the motorhome where on entering it I promptly tripped over his bed and fell flat on my face, breaking my glasses and giving myself a rather bruised eye, Jack was unharmed. This kind of knocked the wind out of my sails so I found my spare pair of specs and walked Jack back to the bar in town to collect Lorna. A bit of a disappointing end to the excellent day we had unfortunately.

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