Sunday, 12 January 2014

Halfway today

Dave informed me this morning that today is exactly halfway through our epic voyage so,
Menina e o Cão
(Young girl and the dog)
by Teresa Frazão 
depending on viewpoints, sadly half has already passed us by OR, yippee, there's still a whole half to go! This is amazing as I feel we could already been away for a lot longer than the calendar indicates. Salamanca and Caceres could have been several months ago and Aguilar might even have been a previous year! We still love our lifestyle in our Bailey caravan and agree that undertaking our journey was definitely the right decision. We're both getting on fine together which was one worry before we left that turned out to be false! On the negative side, Dave's not finding the caravan seating particularly comfortable during long evenings and that wretched Thetford hob's refusing to light until at least the third match is frustrating me. However, the positives massively outweigh the negatives. We're both far more active than we would have been in the UK, enjoy our walking and the sunny days, are generally relaxed and happier, and appreciate the whole outdoorsiness of this life. Plus, I've definitely got my bookworm vibe back!

Today we went for a stroll from Camping Alvor, through the town and onto the boardwalks which project out across sand dunes for several kilometres. They end at small lighthouses on artificial boulder walls marking Alvor's harbour entrance. The walk started off being more overcast than sunny, but by the time we had got to the sand, the sky had blue patches and the sea looked beautifully blue too. We saw some tiny possibly-crab animals in pointed spiral shells at the water's edge. We sent photos to Dave's daughter Gemma, a marine biologist, to identify them and apparently they are tiny hermit crabs. The sculpture pictured is part of a mini park of six on Alvor harbour front.

Yesterday we visited Monchique which is a spa town part-way up a mountain in the Serra de
Annoyed hermit crab 
Monchique range. The healing waters have been famous since Roman times and locals still make wooden folding seats in the Roman-style. They are on sale to tourists in several of the gift shops and don't look at all comfortable. We drove to Foia, 900 metres up at the top of the mountain, but the famed view out to sea was obscured by low cloud. To compensate, we toured the large store of Regional Products where we bought some local cork gifts for folks back home and Dave found two striking pendants that are surf jewellery from Australia. I guess any region's products qualify! The pendants look great with his black t-shirt and suntan. Returning to Monchique, we ate our picnic lunch in a pretty terraced park by the swimming pool complex. There's some interesting sculptures dotted around Monchique including several in the park and a set of five 
Jorge Melicio bronzes in a square.

However, we did have a few worrying moments this week. Unbeknown to me at the time, Dave lost a filling at a pizza restaurant on Monday. (For foodies, the restaurant is called La Piazza and the pizzas were excellent.) Over the next few days, the broken tooth got very painful so, eventually, a dentist had to be found. Jutte Meycke at Clinica Dentaria Ma Partilha was brilliant! Dave phoned her at 2.30 (yes, really!) on Friday afternoon and within four hours he'd had his appointment, been x-rayed, the bad tooth was out and a replacement was in. How's that for service?

Now we're cosied up in Bailey listening to Steely Dan and the gentle pitter patter of rain on the roof. I don't mind it raining at night, just as long as we get our sunshine back for the morning. Roll on the Second Half!

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