Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Algarve-Portugal part 1

If you've been keeping up with Camels and Tacos you might have guessed we're a little smitten on Portugal and decided round two was in order.  We set out sights on the Algarve, specifically southwest towards Vila do Bispo and Sagres. Below is the evidence. 

Sagres is a sleepy village on the point of two coasts of the Atlantic. This is an advantage for surfers; if one side is flat, no worries as the other coast will be going off. The town is lined with a couple of hotels, a row of pubs, surf shops, and a walled fortress at the point.  
We stayed at the Good Feeling guesthouse in Raposeira. In our opinion it was a five star hostel. If you needed a board, bike, beach drop-off, dinner, fresh oranges off a tree, beanbags, they had it all.
The charm of Raposeira-it is said that Henry the Navigator once lived here.
On one of my many walks around our hostel.
Sometimes you need this...
...or this. Actually you never need this. I was given a list by our wine house in Lisbon of must try liquids specific to the Algarve. A couple swigs of Castelo de Silves (Aguardente Medronho) will have you seeing Jesus (so I'm told). For fans of grappa. 
The advantage of renting a car is the option of exploring surrounding areas. West of Sagres on the road to Sao Vicente Lighthouse lays a monastery. 
Sao Vicente Lighthouse attracts flocks of tour buses. I have to say the views were the more impressive compared with the lighthouse...though I am hard to press to find a light that can be seen 60 km out to sea.  
Vila do Bispo was the busy metropolis nearest our hostel, they boasted a gas station, market, and cows. 
Overlooking Praia (beach) Cordoama from miradoro. I was fortunate enough to go down and catch a few of the meter and a half waves. A 3/2 wetsuit was warm enough.  
Portuguese man checking out the surf. The first day getting to Miradouro was quite an adventure considering the sparse signage. We knew we were in the vicinity when we spotted droves of people each carrying bottled water and an orange coming down a hill (zombies perhaps?). How and why they were there could only lead to the logical conclusion that it was the UFO's drop-off point.
Living the dream.
Selema was once a little fishing village but fell to the conquest of invading developers.    
The beauties of Selema. 
Possible commentary of the surrounding development. Female matador fending off a charging golf cart. 
Abandoned church. 
I'm guessing that the waves are at least 2 meters just to give you a scale to work with. 
Vila do Bispo in all its glory.
One of the meals served at the hostel. 
Miguel, one of the owners of the Good Feeling Hostel thought we should work on my list of Algarve specialties. First up was Amarguinha (an almond liqueur), it is served chilled and best enjoyed after a meal.   
Miguel giving me pointers on how to enjoy the local offerings.
Brandymel is a liqueur made from Medrono Brandy, honey, and "special plant" extract. You might want to check you blood sugar after a glass.
Missing tooth server + free shots (of the homemade stuff) = mission accomplished.
Long boarders having semi-success at Praia do Amado. 
This is your surfing backdrop.
On the way to Carrapateira.
Fishing off the rocks of Praia do Carrapateira. 
Stencil at a Bus stop (near the turnoff to the village of Pedralva-more on Pedralva later).
Dromedário bistro bar in Sarges serves up a bacon and banana pizza.
We drove past this quite a few times, I thought it needed to be documented.  
On one of my many walks around our hostel.
I was determined to get photos of the ever-present sheep. To make this dream into a reality, I pulled Ana across someone's farm to reach the flock. Afterwords I was on my own. The sheppard wasn't too keen on my photo shoot as I pretty sure he wasn't gesturing and shouting "Hello good sir, welcome to Portugal, I hope you have a nice day."
Zavial is a point break belting out a huge hollow wave when it goes off. I caught a couple of small fast ones. The narrow path leading to the beach weaves though villages and hard to spot megaliths off the side of the road. Zavial is a locals only crowd as car break-ins are pretty common according to surfing message boards.  
Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe is about 2 km from our place and was a nice walk. The attachment to the chapel is a self-guided iPad museum on the history of the area. Prince Henry was said to have worshipped here.

This was explained on the self-guided iPad tour.

Reason no. 9,821 to move to Portugal.
Each village has one.
Pedralva had Pizza Pazza, the closest thing to real pizza outside of Italy. Miguel's girlfriend Ana served us and as luck would have it I left my money back at the hostel (20 minutes away on a dark and secluded road). Ana fondly remembered the condition in which I returned her boyfriend a few nights previous and was forgiving. After a couple of hours of washing dishes we were rewarded with a shot of lemoncello. Actually, she let us go and and we paid Miguel. The fact that someone would trust strangers says a lot.    
Wal-Mart has greeters as does Pizza Pazza.


  1. I went through countless blogs, each different in its own way, but by far this blog is far better than the rest. In both content and design, really good job in keeping it up.

    1. Thank you! Have to check out your Hostel next time we are in the area.