Well having got up on Sunday we found we had brought the rain with us and when I say rain, I mean rain (always said the Rowleys were the rainmakers). Anyway, we wen't off to the local Continente Megastore to purchase a few items then drove off up the west coast towards Altezur. From here we cut across to Monchique where we decided to stop for a drink (a pint was 1.85 Euro and a glass of wine 60 cents) this is an area we could very possible live in.
As a general rule, Val gets up each morning and goes for a run, either down to the local beach at Porto De Mos (and up & down the beach a few times) or into Lagos as far as the statue of the fisherman in his boat. When she returns she does a few lengths in the pool followed by breakfast. Its about here I get up and join her. Normally we go to the beach for sunbathing, swimming, tan improvements, playing tip it etc, have a picnic, more sun bathing, tan improvements swimming and then decide what we are going to do at night. (hard life eh!!). This is typical so I won't keep repeating it, but I will explain some of the deviations we have done, but our tans are coming on pretty good.
We need to set up a Portuguese bank account. You would not believe how awkward this can be. We apparently need a Portugeuse Fiscal number (similar to our NI number in the UK) but you try and get one! Anyway, we purchased a Portuguese mobile phone and went for a walk around the Lagos Marina where we found a little Bisto with WiFi, sunbathed a little more then went back to the bistro to Skype & E mail everyone (no internet in the appartment yet, Rigsby, pull your finger out).
Val had a typical start to the day and when she returned we decided to go to the beach for a change (yes, sunbathing, swimming, improving the tan etc) then we returned and went in the pool. I was instructed how to switch on the jaccuzi by some young ladies who were staying in one of the other appartments (slight embarassment here).
Down at the beach again at Porto de Mos (sunbathing, swimming getting a tan - getting fed up yet?) but this time it was quite spectacular with the high tide. The tide came in so far and so fierce we were all forced back to the rocks. The restaurant had to take the beds off the beach and a lot of unsuspecting people ended up with soaking wet towels and bags (we didn't you will be pleased to know as we climed up the rocks a little and waited). Went back for a session in the pool & then off to Lyn & Greggs for wine & supper.
Sent Roulston a text to wish him happy birthday and then set off towards the West along the coast visiting places such as Praia de Luz (of Madeline fame) and Salema. Went on the beach here but again the tide came right in only this time we found that the rocks were used as a doggy toilet (surprising really as there are so many Brits here with dogs).
Went for a drive into the mountains (not too far away) where there are some lakes at a place called Barragem, possibly go carp fishing here when I get a permit I thought. The scenery is beatiful and we drove on to Monchique up in the mountains and further on to a view point called Foia. This spot is awesome as you can see the South coast, Cape st Vincent and the West coast all at the same time. On the way down we stopped for a bite to eat and drink at a cafe (as you do) where a guy on a donkey in national dress turned up. We also saw a pony & trap which appeared to be a wedding vehicle. Had a BBQ of sardines that night back at the appartment (we don't BBQ every night but we do eat out on the balcony whenever we eat at home (cause its so hot!!!).
Lagos main beach (Meia Praia) is huge. Its 6 KMs from one end to other and we walk it there and back. At the far end is a stone breakwater where we found a stone and named it ROWLEY'S ROCK. You cant miss it its the only rock in this sea defence with a hole in it (a must find for any of you who visit us!!).
More days of sun (hot), swimming, sunbathing chilling etc followed by walks along the beach and trips into Lagos (drinks, food etc).
Decided to pusue the bank account and Fiscal number thing. We were advised to visit the local council offices (camara) where we sat for 1.5 hours awaiting an appointment, only to be told (politely), that we were in the wrong place and needed to be in the Finance building (so, to the bar for a drink).
Went with Lyn & Gregg up to the beaches on the West Coast at Vila de Bispo, WOW!! We took their dogs (Daisy & Sam) who had a great time running in & out of the surf to get the ball. We took the dogs back home and went to a wonderful seafood restaurant in Salema where we had 4 differnt types of fresh fish, champagne, wine, beer and 2 birtday cakes with candles on (Gregg and Val are both about to celebrate birthdays and it was a good opportunity to celebrate as we were all together). Val & I went down to Antonios at Porto de Mos at night for a quiet drink and met Lyn & Nigel from Preston who were here trying to buy a B & B prroperty. Next day on the beach (yes again because it was Hot!!!) we went to Antonios for a farewell drink with Nigel & Lyn. After beach went for a walk to a couple of local beaches Praia Camilo and Praia D'Ana both local beauty spots & tourist attractions (right on our doorstep!)
On the day of our wedding anniversary we started off with a coffee in Lagos followed by a gentle drive up into the mountains to a restaurant called Jardine d'olives which had been recommended to us by Warwick, our neighbour in Southam. Lunch consisted of Wild Boar & Cabbage stew, both extremely delicious accompanied with red wine, coffee and cake. The grounds were wonderful with beautiful views of the mountains and we "rested" here for a few hours. We drove back down the mountains and as it was such a beautiful day we headed of to Vila De Bispo on the West Coast to watch the sun setting. We grabbed a bottle of wine and 2 glasses from the local beach restaurant and positioned ourseleves on the beach (Val wrapped up in the sleeping bag as it was a little chilly at that time of night), but it was a glorious sunset, a fitting end to a beautiful day.
Val's birthday started off as usual with a run & swim followed by a trip into Lagos for coffee. From here we drove to Pina where there was a Sand Sculpture exhibition. It was quite spectacular with many varied sculptures done in sand. We bought a couple of hand made personalised gifts here and drove back to Porto de Mos to Antonios for tea by the sea with Sangria (Val not me, I preferred the beer).
Tried fishing the next day on our beach at Porto de Mos but no success, just an improved tan, swimming chilling in the heat again.
Went to the local Finance office and found out how to get a Fiscal number so that we can sort out a bank account. Hooray at last!!!!!! Went to Barclays who were very helpful and thanks to Pete & Jane for sending over the documents to help us get it sorted, we now have a Portugeuse bank account, albeit our debit cards have been sent to our address in England and we will have to pick them up when we come back in November for Simon & Anne's wedding.
Drove over to the West Coast again and found off road tracks which took us along the coast. The scenery was awsome and we saw guys fishing off the cliffs about 50 -80 feet above the sea having climbed down the cliffs as far a they could (I personally prefer to sit on my chair on flat ground at the side of a pool - much safer). Drove back and called in at Praia de Luz for a couple of hours on the beach (lots of Brits here with screaming kids) nice place but beach is small. Went for a drink in the old Fort (now a hotel). Stunning ambience in the garden overlooking the beach but drinks were very, very expensive.
Sometimes at night when we stay in, Val wants to play cards, a simple game called 8's & 2's. She wishes everyone to know that one night she tin-hatted me twice, not very friendly at all.
More sun, sea and beach, but you don't really want to be reminded how hot it is and how deep our tans are getting and how much swimming we are doing, so I will get back to the plot.
We now have the Internet live in the appartment (thanks Rigsby, Miss Jones is very pleased at last).
Spent time at Praia D'Ana beach (just down the road). Went shopping and found a 10 Litre box of red wine for 7.75 Euros and a shoulder joint of pork for 4 euros (never going to starve with prices like this eh!)
We tried the coastal path walk from Porto De Mos (our local beach) to Lagos, it turned into a bit of a nightmare experience when we found ourselves part way down the cliff and the pathway disappeared (eroded away). We just about managed to scramble up the cliff to safety, guess we won't be doing that walk with anyone who comes out here.
Explored the coast towards the East, looking in at Porto Mao, Praia de Rocha then drove up into the mountains for lunch at a cafe where we ate Monchique Ham and bread (basically a local version of smoked ham on the bone).
Back at Praia de Roche we wandered around the marina, drinking coffee and cake or coffee and brandy (depending on who you were-guess which was which), watched the surfers again (male & female), it seems to be quite a popular sport here.
Drove to Carveiorio (holidayed here 2 years ago. The town has been tidied up and is very picturesque. Went to the beach just outside Carveiorio which is by what we call the Flinstones hotel, did a bit of sunbathing, tan improvemet etc. Drove back to Lagos to celebrate Haloween.
Haloween night was spent at our local friendly Bistro in the Marina, pumkins, severed hands, spiders in beer and ghouls everywhere (in other words the decor was quite good). Some weird items on the menu though and Val drank some very strange looking concotions.