The day started with Mick Jagger and ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ in the shower. I strongly suspect that there was some air guitar being played in the men’s cubicles!
We left our cork tree grove and our friendly Dutch campsite owners and headed south. We were aiming for the far south western tip of Portugal on the Algarve. We decided to cut across country, taking a route through the Serra da Monchique, a mountainous area abound with fir plantations and mimosa. The views as we climbed higher into the mountains became more spectacular, along narrow twisting roads with panoramas at every turn, sometimes getting tantalising glimpses of the glistening Algarve coast in the distance. We chose to have our morning coffee in Monchique itself, a charming hillside town
with a pleasant square with cafes and bars. Walking up one of the narrow streets we came across a Cork shop, selling only items made from cork – bags, purses, shoes, mats and even bottles. I purchased a glasses case and a cork postcard, the latter of which I will stick inside Oscar for decoration. I even managed to find some ‘Oscar’ wine in the local hypermarket.
Next we drove onto a town called Aljezur, another hilltop community, with a 12th century ruined fort at it’s summit. We climbed up to the fort, and then stopped for a drink by the river which ran along the town’s lower boundary. We then took the road that headed along the coast to our campsite. We came across a turning to Carrapateira, which we guessed must head down to the sea itself. What a spectacular spot – a headland looking out over a sweeping sandy bay with Atlantic waves crashing onto the shore. This was clearly a surfer’s beach, and as the sun came low in the sky, we spotted several surf boards riding the waves. This was the wild rugged coastline that we had read about on the Western Algarve, largely unspoilt by tourism, with just small surfer’s shack on the beach. Despite it being situated about two miles down a narrow track, it was clearly a popular spot with campervaner’s, since there were several parked up here, presumably wild camping for the night.
We headed on to our campsite for the night, a terraced site, set amongst pine trees. There is a lively looking restaurant here, so we plan to open a bottle of Prosecco and eat out tonight – to cerebrate Valentine’s Night, of course. The only one problem is that the German in the pitch next to us came out of his caravan to inform us that he is ‘a snorer’ – so maybe not such a romantic evening, after all!