Tuesday, 18 February 2014

What a difference the sunshine makes!

Firstly I need to tell you that the photos for this blog entry were all taken with my phone, the photographer has gone on strike! There may be some better ones in an update, we'll see.

We're now on day three of blue sky and sunshine. I know how difficult things are weather wise in parts of the UK and how people are suffering with flooding and storms so it feels slightly shallow and uncomfortable to be saying this but ...... the main reason we are on this journey is to escape the British winter. It has been disappointing so far to have had so much rain and high winds and little sunshine but since Sunday, the weather seems to have turned a corner and it's really lifted our spirits!

Ironically Nigel tweaked a muscle in his back the other day (so that's both of us with bad backs!) and has been suffering quite badly the last few days, so it's been good for him to be able to sit out and rest and relax in the sunshine. There's a cool wind though and the temperature plummets at dusk, not a problem as we're warm and cosy at night times. One problem at this spot was the number of cats around, I counted seven on one walk through the car park and they sent the dogs wild as you can imagine!

Castro Marim Fort
We have just arrived in Castro Marim, a small but interesting town almost on the south eastern Spanish border and in the Reserva Natural do Sapal where flamingos stop to feed and which is also the home of the Mediterranean chameleon, a harmless slow moving lizard that is severely threatened elsewhere by habitat destruction. We are unlikely to see any as the best time to see them is September. There is a vast ruined castle here which we will explore later.
Looking down onto the motorhome
 aire in Castro Marim from the castle

Since my last update, we have not come far, just meandered along the Eastern Algarve coast stopping at aires for a night or three.

We stayed at the campsite in Olhão for nine nights, which surprised us as it wasn't really our kind of place but it was a good spot to stay during a period of really bad weather where we didn't need to worry about solar panels and no sunshine or collecting water and emptying waste! It was also good to catch up with Gary and Annette and meet some of their British friends who spend all winter here. The showers were excellent too, always a bonus! And there was good dog walking and bird watching opportunities direct from the site. We saw purple gallnules here and we walked to the hide at dusk and saw hundreds of egrets coming in to roost.


Gradually almost every available space
 was taken up but not without much squabbling!

We've just had a few nights at Pedras D'el Rei which was very pleasant, just a huge car park, no facilities with thirty or so other motorhomes, some of which looked like they had taken root for the winter. From here we could walk over a causeway and floating pontoon and on over the mud flats at the side of a little tourist train track for a couple of kilometres onto Barril beach on Ilha de Tavira .....kilometres of peaceful dune-fringed beach stretching in each direction, ideal for the dogs and they just loved it.


This lovely almost deserted beach is your prize
after a 2 kilometre walk across the mud flats.


There's some information  and many more photos here about the anchor graveyard below.


Anchor graveyard at Barril beach


Gary Garlic

And today's trivia .... yesterday we became the proud owners of a new mascot for Liberté Too. Meet Gary Garlic. We've been saving tokens on our Lidl shopping, the promotion during January and February was for "The Goodness Gang" soft toys, once you had collected enough tokens you could take the toy of your choice, imagine our excitement as we peeled off the last sticker we needed and went in search of Nigel's favourite. There were seven fruit and veg characters to choose from, we could have chosen a banana (my favourite), a stawberry, brocolli, a pear, a carrot or an aubergine. So Gary Garlic now sits in our windscreen waving at passers by and announcing that we shop at Lidl and are proud of it!

A few extra photos.....

Cattle Egrets

Liberté Too at Pedras d"el Rei

Pink sky at night....

Sunset over the Ria Formosa reserve

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