That’s it – we have left the Algarve behind and headed inwards and upwards to explore more of Portugal. Quick stop off this morning at the Hypermarket for a major stockup (yes there are supermarkets inland but we seem to panic if more than 5 miles from a Continente store). We used the A22 toll road to try and burn off as much of our pre-payment as we could – alas we only got up to €12 so the Portuguese government now owe us €28 – pretty sure we have zero hope of recovering that anytime in the next 10 years.
Anyway, headed up through the San Vincente Natural Parque , the drive up is literally “Up” we climbed right into the windmills and as it was warm there was a fabulous smell of pine and eucalyptus all the way from the trees on the roadside.
We stopped at Aljezur, a town of two halves – one side of the river is the old town and the other the “new” town, as the “new” town dates back to the 18th century not sure just how old the old one can be. Both towns are fairly small – really villages. In the old town we walked up to the remains of the Moorish castle, a long walk on wet cobbles but would be worth it for the amazing view when we got to the top? Wrong! just as we got to the top we had a torrential downpour, couldn’t really see much at all. From there we headed back down to the river to find a Delta coffee bar (yes the Delta theme is still running daily).
The town is like something out of the hippy era. Lots of aging surfers and hippy type folk wandering around, shops selling surf boards and incense and a general feeling of large quantities of calming substances being used over the years. The area is known for the amount of ‘sweet potatoes’ grown here, they even have a sweet potato fair in the autumn – surely something we should come back for in the future? We are liking this coast, much less hustle and bustle and much more laid back.
We went down to the beach but to be honest it was a bit too windy and slightly raining so we just cooked lunch and watched the sea out of the window rather than going for a walk. The beaches are just as stunning as down on the Algarve but there isn’t the development of the south. Without all the hotels right on the beaches it is so much quieter, really seems a much slower pace of life and all the better for it.