Another week has passed and we are currently in the eastern Algarve at Olhão, near Faro. We are staying on a campsite for a few nights to catch up with some friends we met on our Moroccan trip last year, they have spent all winter here ……. and also to do some birdwatching at the Ria Formosa Natural Parque.

Plans have chopped and changed over the last week, we were going to travel here slowly, stopping along the coast whenever we could but after the first day or so when we found out how busy and overdeveloped this part of the Algarve is, we decided to miss out some of the coastline, rush here to see Gary and Annette and then maybe go back to the west coast where it is far more “us”. From Lagos to here, there are high rise blocks of apartments crowding the coastline, the campsites are full to bursting even at this time of the year, we knew it would be busy but we underestimated how busy by a long way and we are not really comfortable with it. We’ve still not firmed up our plans for the next few weeks but here’s a quick resumé of what we’ve been up to since last time.

Boats in the harbour at Alvor
but look in the background to see what we mean
about over-development!

After our lovely few days at Praia do Amado we headed further south and spent the next few nights around Cabo sao Vicente under the most powerful lighthouse in Europe. Then we explored the old Fortaleza at Sagres, here allegedly be blue rock thrushes but despite keeping eyes peeled we didn’t see any during the three days we were there.

Cabo St Vicente lighthouse
just lighting up towards dusk

Yellow legged gull

Fishermen take it to extremes here,
that ledge is on top of a 200 foot drop and
this particular guy must have been
in his seventies, one stumble and it’s curtains!

After that we headed into the mountains and spent a windy night at 902 metres at Foia, the highest point in the Algarve when on a clear day the views are outstanding and you can see for miles but you’ve guessed it, it was not a clear day for us! It was however, clear enough from our walk with the dogs, for us to see a rude Portuguese man get out of his car with his wife, go round to the side of our motorhome and urinate on our back wheel! Nigel hot footed it back and took a photograph of his car number plate and then a photo of him, thanking him sarcastically for p*****g on our caravan, he and his wife looked suitably shocked and ashamed and rightly so and scuttled off but not before I went and got our disinfectant spray and theatrically sprayed it over the offending wheel.

The observatory at Foia

Heading back to the coast, we tried to park at an Aire in Lagos but it was full so we travelled along to Alvor, a little fishing village further along the coast, it was during this journey that we decided we were not going to enjoy this part of the Algarve very much. At a very sandy and muddy Aire we pulled in quite dispirited but after a dog walk on the beach and a nice meal we decided we would walk up into the old town the following morning which we did and had a coffee in a little bar while it rained as we hadn’t taken waterproofs with us.

Alvor Church

Pretty flowers, don’t know their name,
some variety of ice plant, we think

Grand Moustaches on a
statue in Aljezur

Random stork

In the afternoon we decided we would travel inland a bit and visit the town of Silves for an overnight stop, we thought it would be less crowded as it was away from the coast but when we got there there must have been about 400 motorhomes there already crowding out the car parks…again not for us so we came to Olhāo and booked in at the campsite for a few nights.

Annette and me in the bar at Camping Olhāo
I bought my Poncho the day before at Foia

Annette getting up close and personal with the
Saharan locals in Morocco

We had always intended trying to catch up with Gary and Annette who we met in Morocco and we did the first night and had a drink and a good natter and we will see them again before we leave. We might have an extra couple of nights here whilst we decide what to do next. Last night we met them again to take part in a quiz organised by some of the Brit contingent on the campsite. Our team came second, pipped at the post by a three man team who got an extra point each round because they were a man down, so technically we got more right answers than they did but coming second we at least got our entry fee back and it was a fun and convivial evening.

Black winged stilt
photo courtesy of wikipedia

It’s good here for birdwatching and cycling and dog walking, yesterday we saw another first…black winged stilts and today as I washed up the breakfast dishes I could see azure winged magpies flitting about in the trees. I was actually daydreaming and thinking about our lifestyle choice as I washed up outdoors in a sink on a crowded campsite compared to a holiday with full board in a swanky 5* hotel (which I’ve never actually experienced) when I caught sight of these beauties just above me and knew where I’d rather be!

Azure winged magpies, one of Nigel’s shots
captured last year in Spain