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Its visitors time again! We have just spent an action-packed long weekend with my niece, albeit one which was shunted forward by a day due to striking air traffic controllers, and have only had today to catch up on work and cleaning duties before two friends arrive on the early flight tomorrow. As soon as they leave we are off to England for a work trip. These are hectic times and sure to make my blogging a little more sporadic, so I apologise for that in advance.
My niece’s visit was tremendous fun, and, as she is more of an active soul that the majority of our visitors, her visit was both good for us and a little tiring 😉
Saturday was spent driving to and wandering around Seville, somewhere that, having visited before, we managed to feel we had “done” quite well in just one long and tiring day. Seville
was as oven-hot as ever and we ate tapas, drank sangria and took photos of many beautiful buildings. It also seemed to be a huge day for weddings in the stunning Spanish city – we saw numerous brides and wedding parties and sat having a drink next to one reception where my niece particularly enjoyed a live rendition of “I will survive.” Cheesy wedding music is not country-specific it seems!
On Sunday we went ocean kayaking on the Ria Formosa, setting off from Praia De Faro, just next to the airport. Although I am not exactly Mr Sporty, I had a fantastic day despite pulled muscles and various scrapes and bruises. I am very keen to do this again – my wife is less so! Struggling with her kayak she ended up being towed by the support boat – her own rather humiliating version of the pope-mobile.
The trip was great – a morning of kayaking with a quick stop for swimming, some more kayaking out to the white sands of the Ilha Deserta, followed by a good picnic lunch, beer and snorkelling. This was followed by a rather more difficult journey back, against both tides and winds. At various points we all opted for a quick tow on the back of the support boat. You are advised to use your stomach muscles for propulsion – sadly after my second lunchtime beer my stomach muscles decided they had had enough!
I would really recommend this kayak trip to anyone of a sporting persuasion but would point out that we were the only people on the trip who hadn’t kayaked before and little concession was made for our status as beginners – perhaps worth taking into consideration if, like my wife, you have no intention of become a kayaking expert, you just fancy a fun day out.
After a barbecue and early(ish) night we stayed local on Monday, first taking my niece to see the “secret” waterfall of Pego Do Inferno, where there were no more than 10 other people present. We then took off on a favourite walk of mine, which consists of taking a boat to the Ilha De Tavira and walking the 4 miles or so to Barril beach. This is such a pleasurable walk and one where we saw jellyfish, a (suspected) dolphin and even a seahorse!
September is certainly a wonderful time to visit the Algarve. The weather is still fabulous, albeit slightly cooler and more comfortable, and the streets, shipping centres and beaches all feel almost private. This was emphasised when we visited my favourite tourist zone, Praia Da Rocha, on Tuesday. By sunset we had the beach to ourselves and the main tourist “strip,” which was a hellish land of chavs and sunburned tourists just a month ago, was a very chilled, moonlit spot to stroll and choose a restaurant for dinner.
Outside one bar in Praia Da Rocha I heard someone talking about the beach. He was referring to Praia de Tres Castelos, at the western end of Praia Da Rocha. He was a tattooed,
masculine type – not who you would expect to hear saying to his wife “it was so beautiful down there it made me have a good cry.” It really warmed my heart to know the effect the natural beauty of this place can have on people. We are very lucky to be here, and, now summer is over, it feels like we have got OUR Algarve back. Happy days.