Saturday, June 13, 2015

Algarve: Praia Verde beach and the fishing town Olhao

After a night of swatting mosquitos and getting jarred every time Seamus moved on the mattress, we were a bit bleary eyed at breakfast. The owner asked how we slept and I told her. Apparently the mattress was new. I gritted my teeth and didn't say, "but cheap." I asked if she had a different room with two adjoining beds that we could have. After disappearing for awhile and returning this solution was agreeable and we immediately moved everything over.

Our goal today was to look at more of the eastern Algarve known as the undiscovered Algarve. I had asked the lifeguards yesterday where we could find immediate access to the beach so we had some idea where we were going. The first place seemed pretty tourist tacky with lots of apartments and condominiums for August use only. We moved on to Praia Verde, an area of lovely homes and townhouses. Here you walked down to the beach. It was very nice but when we walked around the residential part we could see that it was pretty empty at this time of year.

We drove further along the beach highway that is called the National Highway. This road was in terrible shape and the roads off it to the beach towns were in worse shape. Portugal really is in a state of austerity. I don't know when the roads were last repaired. Each beach town was worse than the previous one. They were like unfinished or really shabbily finished products.

Somewhat disappointed we drove along the toll road, which is in better shape to the old fishing village of Olhao. Since it was Sunday, all the locals were walking along the promenade with loads of Small Portuguese fishing boats bobbing on the water. There were two huge fish market buildings right in the middle of the promenade. We walked across to the street side lined with very busy restaurants and managed to find a seat outside. It was well worth it when I had some espada or black scabbard fish, which was incredibly tasty.

On our return to our mas, we were met by the owner wearing a very serious face. She greeted us with, "I have some bad news for you." Immediately my mind skipped to you don't know us how can you have bad news. The news was that she had made a mistake in her booking and someone was moving into our new room tomorrow. She wanted us to immediately move back to the old room with the mosquitos and mattress from hell. Now we were very hot and tired after driving around all day. We graciously refused to do it saying we would stay in the new room tonight and move out in the morning. Maybe this was Fawlty Towers.

In the evening we went back down to Tavira, which is a lovely little town built on both sides the river, which then sprawls into a biologically diverse lagoon reserve, the Ria Formosa, as it meets the coastline. Walls are bright white and roofs are bright red. We entered the cobbled maze that was filled with little shops and lots of restaurants. We settled on an Indian restaurant since we never see them in Spain. And I must say we did it all from Kingfisher beer, popadoms, samosas, chutney and wonderful curries. What a treat.

It was a lovely night to wander along the river and cross the bridges. We ended up in an old market with a lot of locals watching a snooker contest. It was a beautiful walk around the little town that was much different from the other towns we had seen so far.

Back in the mas we had a good night's sleep.

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