What a life!! Sleeping in, finding somewhere to enjoy a day of sunshine, having local cold meat, olives and cheese, for every meal - no cooking or cleaning. I could get used to this!!! We decided we would eat out once in each country, finding the local dish, and eat light the rest of the time - we have to make up for our gluttony in UK!!! Our local meal in Quarteira was at a small café on the beach, where we were the only guests, and the waiter / chef/ owner persuaded us to try a Portugese Pork Stew with cabbage, white beans and Peri Peri, thenlocal wine, dessert, coffee and a complementary brandy - lucky we were eating lean and riding the bikes and walking everywhere there!!! The Algarves is pretty much like the Gold Coast - the coast is full of high rise holiday accommodation and shops, but a few blocks back, the local people live and go about life. There was a market one day, pretty much like the Melbourne markets but with a performing Nth American Indian group at the entrance, which I really enjoyed. Another day, we rode around the beach bike track to the next village, Villamoura - a much more upmarket place with a huge Marina and richer looking tourists. We discovered lots of campers on a piece of land with "No camping" signs - in off season, it is OK to camp in such places. We debated about using them at other places, but were happy where we were with electricity and facilities, after days of freebie camping on the road.
Our next spot was at Olthao, a fishing / tourist town, a few miles east. We found a camp ground, checked it out from the outside, and chatted to a Dutch couple in the campground before checking out the free camping group. In the end we decided to go back to the campground, which was huge, had everything in it, including a restaurant and supermarket. We camped next to our new friends, Hetty and Jan, and relaxed in the sun, reading for a while. Later in the afternoon, we decided to ride into the village and find somewhere to get a fish meal. As we rode through the Park, a very tipsy man called out to us from the bar / café, asking where we were from, and then persuaded us to come and let him buy us a drink. This was the beginning of a very entertaining hour or so. Danny and his workmate Kev were from England where they restored old buildings, and had decided to fly to Portugal for a few days to get away from the weather. They had arrived that morning and I think had been at that seat ever since!! At the table with them, was another couple from Scotland, Elaine and Kev, who were on a similar van to us- they were the sane ones!!!! We had a good time with them all, but had to move on to get to town. It was getting near to dusk when we got to the waterfront so rode along for a while and then stopped for a coffee, watching the sun set over Morocco in a small café. We had intended leaving the next morning to visit Gibraltar, but the café owner came in and gave us a brochure for his boat trip out to a traditional fishing village, with real local, freshly caught seafood lunch, beaches, a visit to a resort / beach cabins island and back again about 5,30, so we changed our plans once again, ditched the dining out plans, and early leaving idea, and booked in for the trip. It was worth it!! The next day, there was a thick sea mist, and as we left in the early afternoon, we could hardly see in front of the boat - bit like Pirates of the Caribbean, minus Johnny Depp - which was cool, and while we were eating the most amazing seafood I have had, the mist cleared, so we were able to go on a tour of the island, and continue on the rest of the trip. It was a fantastic day - so nice to see a less touristy side of the area.
As we had a roast dinner date in Los Boliches to make on Sunday, we drove off as soon as the trip ended, heading to Spain.
That night we pulled over at another free truck stop to sleep. It was a huge parking area with room for tons of buses, but we were the only camper besides 1 truck. We parked outside 3 Spanish hotels which looked deserted. The next morning we were awoken at 6.00 am by the lovely sound of dogs barking!!! When we looked out of the window, we discovered that we were surrounded by buses, cars, and dog trailers. People were pouring in and out of the nearest hotel. Sam went out of course, to check it out, and discovered that it was a meeting place for hunters to have breakfast before heading off on a hunt onlocal private properties. Sam spent 2 hours desperately trying to get people who spoke English to get himself on a hunt, and one stage, thought he had the chance, at which stage, he informed me that he was going hunting and would be back in the afternoon, while I sat in the van, reading!!! You can imagine how thrilled I was at that plan!!! Sadly for him, and thankfully for me, it didn't eventuate, so we headed off again for La Linea to visit Gibraltar.