On the whole we have enjoyed Portugal and the friendliness of its people. The Atlantic coast was less fierce than we had imagined due to settled trade winds albeit that we had strong sea breezes in the late afternoon and at times a significant swell.
It sounds strange but we felt Porto and Lisbon to be high on our list of highlights of the Country but they are both intimate and friendly ‘cities’ unlike the vast cities back in the UK.
The western Algarve has a beautiful coastline of craggy multi coloured layered sandstone cliffs with isolated sandy coves and deep caves. It is a desperate shame that these coves and beaches are filled to the brim with British tourists and the cliffs are topped with gross over development of high-rise hotels and apartment blocks. Place names Vilamoura, Praia de Rocha and Almancil may strike the fear of God into you.
We found Lagos pleasant enough as a town, although the language spoken was English. It was here that we first saw Storks who build their nests the size of a mini on top of chimneys, spires, turrets and domes. Apparently the birds migrate to North Africa during the winter here and come back to the same nest in the spring year after year.
It was in Lagos that we said a fond and sad farewell to our very good German friends Michael and Jutta from ‘Allegro ma non Troppo’ who are heading east at a faster rate than us from now on. We hope to meet up with them in the Mediterranean in years to come.
Just east of Lagos is the lagoon at Alvor which is peaceful after the hustle and bustle of the resort towns. Miggy swam here and at the same time cleaned Bella’s waterline.
In the marina at the next stop, Portimao, we first noticed that the boat next to us had a delightful black Labrador on board. A little later we saw that the Dutch boat the other side of us, which was a static ‘live aboard’ catamaran, had a Rotweiler, a Heinz 57 dog, and African Grey Parrot, three Budgies, a Siamese cat and a black Moggie. The Guinea Pigs and Rabbit had died!! All pretty bizarre!!
We quickly transited the resorts of the Algarve to the Rio Formosa, a lagoon on which stands Faro. We anchored for a couple of days just a dinghy ride away from this serene regional capital with its historic old walled town. We were fascinated by the Storks once again and, talking of things that fly, have learnt the livery of every charter airline and budget carrier as the anchorage was directly under the flight path and only a matter of a few hundred meters from the end of the runway at Faro airport. Funnily enough one soon became accustomed to the noise which stopped before bedtime and started at a reasonable hour in the morning.
A few days ago, luckily whilst on a Marina berth at Isla Canela, we had torrential rain and 50 Knot winds for a few hours. Locals here say that the weather patterns in the Algarve have been unusual to say the least this year. We have had our fair share of strong winds and rough seas while sailing along this coast. Still we are safely tucked up in a quiet Marina on this beautiful River for a few days ‘holiday’.
We have found Internet less accessible along this coast, particularly when we are at anchor. We therefore apologise to anyone who has emailed us within the last two weeks for our lack of reply. Normal service should be resumed from now.
Some of you may have heard Miggy broadcasting on BBC Solent Radio on the 11th of August. Her next ‘appearance’ on the Julian Clegg show is at around 0630 on the 8th of September.
We were so devastated to hear of Jim's (Neal's cousin Lorri's husband) stroke. Our thoughts are with you all and we pray for a quick and successfull recovery. Chhwe nid Jhim to chhelp ush shpik thish chhlankwich.
Our Spanish telephone number is +34 636 587 556.