Albufeira – Olhao – Fuseta – Barril Beach
7th and 8th March 2016
We have had a slight change of plan – before leaving the UK we had asked Bailey if we could have our 1st habitation service done overseas to maintain the warranty. The answer was “yes” but the choices of where to have it done limited to one company Euro caravan services who are an NCC approved service co. As they travel around we found out that they were due to be in Vendee in France in June and so had pencilled it in for then. We have however had some minor issues that need an expert eye so we called them and it just so happens that they are in Spain until the end of March. We figured that although it means a long sprint up the coast to just short of Alicante for the 28th, it means we can get the issues and service done and now the rest of the year is fully flexible. A great feeling as our schedule is now our own again. So as you will gather over the next couple of weeks we will need to do some long drives especially as next week we want to stay put for a few days in one place as its Pauls big 50th birthday on the 15th. With this in mind after doing the usual motorhome chores of filling and emptying (it’s not all fun you know) we waved goodbye to Albufeira and headed east of Faro to Olhao.
Olhao Eastern Algarve GPS N37.02404 W7.84520
Weather Windy with sun and scattered cloud 16 degrees
We’ve been looking forward to seeing the real Algarve east of Faro so we headed 58 KMs down the coast to Olhao a working fishing port. We had originally thought of stopping over there for the night and on route I had been trawling both books and internet for somewhere other than a campsite to park for the night. As we had just left an aire with services we just needed somewhere to park and would rather use campsites only when we need to, however my search didn’t produce any results so we thought we’d just play it by ear. On arrival we headed along the river front we spotted a huge car park with lots of other motorhomes already in situ – perfect. We only took advantage of it for an hour or so whilst we did a whistle stop tour of the town and picked up a few things from the market. It felt more of a functional working town than anything and didn’t tug at our heartstrings so we decided to move on to Fuseta. We had seen this town on a place in the sun when back in the UK so were intrigued to see what it held. It’s a small fishing village with a big very windy sandbank where numerous kite and wind surfers were taking advantage of the conditions. As we drove in we noticed lots of signs stating no parking for autocaravans parking only on campsite. Being British at 1st we thought we would either have to give it a miss or obey, however as we drove around we saw around 10 motorhomes parked within the no parking zone right round the corner from the campsite ignoring all notices – had we have been alone we would have not parked there as of course we obey rules however with safety in numbers we joined them. A quick jog around town was enough to see the town in its entirety. Property may be cheap here but again it lacked a little charm for us. As it was now mid-afternoon we decided to head towards Barril Beach (GPS N37.09247 W7.67672) just outside Tavira. We knew from a recommendation that there was a parking area where we could stay for 5 euros and it would mean we could visit Tavira the next day. It was blowing a gale by the time we parked up so we decided to leave exploring until the following day.
We spent our evening debating where we could head for next week for Pauls birthday, he wants somewhere with a bit of life (even though he’ll be 50 he still knows how to party). It seems there are not nearly as many aires in Spain as Portugal and campsites seemed to be few and far between near main towns so we are struggling a bit. We have earmarked somewhere on the Costa del Sol and as with most of this trip thought we’d just adlib and hope we can stumble of somewhere.
Since leaving the rat race we have a little ritual of enjoying a cup of coffee whilst still sat in bed in the mornings. It still feels like a treat to laze in bed for another ½ hour – we always slide back the skylight above the bed to gage the weather and todays bedside weather report was beautiful blue skies (and forecast to be 18 degrees). Even though the locals are still in winter coats and boots that’s shorts weather for us. Barril beach is on Isla De Tavira so we took a long walk to what’s known locally as the anchor graveyard. The beach stretches for miles and is beautiful white sand by the time we got back to Boris around 10.30 am we’d already done over 5000 steps – not a bad mornings work.
We packed up Boris and headed off towards Tavira through Santa Luzia and once again stumbled across a group of motorhomes parked off the main road. We pulled over to see whether there were any services and got chatting to an couple of English guys Adrian and Tim who were in their 16th year of travelling (as we found out later in the day they were a wealth of knowledge and stories). After a quick chat we decided to park there for the night and cycle into Tavira. After a well-earned lunch of pizza and salad in one of the squares washed down with a couple of beers (and all for 17 euros), the rest of the day was spent exploring this charming place. Narrow cobbled streets with the ruins of the old castle and the river running straight through the town centre. This is a place we will definitely revisit.
On returning the Boris Adrian and Tim came over for a drink and to part with lots of their knowledge of places in Spain and Greece which were all quickly scribbled down for future reference.
After a food shop and a drive to the salt marshes to see the flamingos (who were obviously on their holidays this week) the following day we headed out of town for our last night in Portugal.
Goodbye Tavira we will see you again sometime.
Love Andi & Paul x