Armacao de Pera

Today we woke up and decided to move on down the road. Because we can, part of the beauty of Motorhoming. Just along the coast, about 5 miles away, is the small resort and fishing town of Armacao de Pera. Liz and Henry our pals from Cornwall brought us here just before Christmas and we loved it. The beach is one of the largest on The Algarve. If you can close your mind to the scatter of ¬†high rise blocks and apartments and focus on the stunning coastline and historic white washed buildings you’ll see what a lovely little place this is. The beach front still houses the old fashioned fishermens wooden stilted cabins where the weather worn looking fisherfolk sit mending their nets and chewing the fat. It’s so interesting to sit and watch them going about their business, bringing in the daily catch and getting it ready for market. They are quite oblivious to the tourist attention. The little boats are aimed at the beach from the sea and driven at full pelt grounding on the sand before being dragged up by the waiting teams of men on the shore. The seagulls circle in flocks as each boat is pulled ashore, it’s quite a spectacle.

Saturday is Market day in Armacao and the streets around the municipal market building are lined with stalls. The vegetables look like they’ve been on steroids, everything is huge! It’s a very colourful bustling affair. You can buy just about anything here. The food hall does Prata del Dia, Dish of the Day, a good solid meal, two choices, all you can eat for about a fiver. Very popular with the locals. It has a great atmosphere, young and old, lots of chatter and music, wonderful vibe.

We met at the market bar with our friends Marion and Tony, fellow Motorhomers from Manchester. We all had the local coffee, Galeo Escuro, it’s like a double strength creamy latte, and obligatory cake! The stall holders and fishermen hang around one particular bar selling Bifanas (hot pork steak cooked in garlic and herbs in a freshly baked roll. Divine!) and drinking tot glasses of rose wine. Obviously we have to try some, it would be rude not to! It’s impossible not to eat and drink around here, it’s so part of the culture. A group of musicians wander through the streets, they are ‘singing in the Janeiras’ as is customary throughout January to welcome in the new year to each doorway and ward away evil spirits.

From the market we have a stroll up to the little Art Gallery on the sea front. They have some smashing bits of jewellery made with sea glass and unusual things found on the beach. There is a pretty little church and a chapel, the trunks of the palm trees all around here are wrapped in crocheted lace. Very quaint.

Anyway it’s time to hit the beach, Dylan has waited patiently for his daily fix! As we walk along the sand, we are highly delighted to bump into our old friend, Per from Sweden. We last met in Porto Covo back in November. He is just a lovely interesting and friendly guy, reminds me very much of my Dad. We spend an hour catching up. He is heading off to sit by the fishing boats as is his daily routine, with a litre of beer and a chunk of chorizo. He likes to watch the world go by and the sunset. He says watching the sea clears his mind. I can relate to that. He is a very uplifting person, so very pleased to see him and he gives great hugs!

When we get back to the van, another friend has arrived, “Maggs” Maggie Hookings and her travelling companion, Kezi the dog. She is another uplifting soul and a clever Artist. Check out her website, http://www.beyondthecanvas.co.uk. Maggs travels in a cute little red van and usually carts her canvases and paints around with her! This year however she is concentrating on making jewellery, today she has made a pendant for Mark containing 3 tiny pebbles from 3 Portuguese beaches. How cool is that!

The sunsets here are legendary. Everyone comes out of the woodwork to watch. The town is suddenly bathed in glorious pinky golden light. Unfortunately, my camera died before I captured the best of it. When the sun sinks into to sea, the sky turns fiery red across the bay. It’s mesmerising.

We decide to call for Maggs and stroll on up to The Water Dog, a pub where the Mancunians have gone to watch football, their beloved City are playing, apparently. As we walk in and disturb their peace, Newcastle score so they tell us to bugger off!! It all ends well, their team win, we have a few beers and put the world to rights. We then head off down town as Lord W has spotted an Indian Restaurant, he has a curry radar that one. We eat at The Bollywood. I am slightly dubious but the food was excellent. I had a Goan style chicken Xacuti, spicy and delicious! Mark had a lamb dish which was wonderfully rich and tender. Very impressive.

So that’s another day done folks. Happy chappies with full tummies. It’s been another good one and we feel lucky to have caught up with some great people. Time for bed and to nod off to the sound of the sea!

Sweet dreams all xxx

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