Loule and Faro

Yes, we’re still here! Just having too much fun to find time to write a post! Settling into daily life at Manta Rota comes so naturally. Even the dog knows his way around!! The weather has been gorgeous. Cloudless blue skies. Finally looking tanned. Lots of familiar faces of all nationalities turning up now. The Germans spend their afternoons playing cards and drinking, the Dutch go fishing whilst the French play Pétanque and Boules. It’s a lovely atmosphere. I have been banned from collecting any more seashells but I have painted a few bits of terracotta octopus traps as I’ve finally run out of books to read. I’m rubbish at just sitting in the sun. I have to have something to keep my hands busy when I’m not holding a wine glass!! Mark wants to re-visit Faro and I fancy a different market so we thought we’d have a drive out on Friday and Saturday as the temperature was going to be a bit cooler. I apparently need to choose a birthday present and as you all know, I never turn my nose up at a bit of retail therapy! Faro old town is such a pleasant surprise once you’ve made your way through the bustle of the busy, built up area on the outskirts. It has a wonderful Gothic Cathedral and the remains of a towering Moorish wall with its Arco da Vila gateway. There are a few smarter shops and restaurants (even a Michelin star for all you foodies. ‘Check-In’ is in the bohemian area near the Municipal Museum. It looks very smart. Maybe one for when Matt arrives). We found a lovely little square to take brunch, Mark needed sustenance before his wallet took a hammering. The sound of the storks clattering their bills from their rooftop nests was so endearing. I won’t go into too much detail as I’ve covered Faro before. You may recall my accidentally gate crashing a funeral whilst looking for the famous Chapel of Bones. I didn’t have my specs on. It was quite dark. It was only when I examined my photos later that I noticed the corpse. Many apologies whoever you were. I should have gone to Specsavers!! Anyhoo, do go see the Chapel, preferably not when there’s a dead person laid out for family to pay their respects. Today we were content to just wander through the cobbled streets with no particular agenda. I found a fabulous little boutique where the owner bought her pieces from Madrid. That was fun!

Couldn’t resist a drive over to the beach. Follow signs to the Airport. There’s a fab rooftop bar to watch the sunset with a cocktail. Wax Burger Bar is next door. Great food when you fancy something other than traditional Portuguese. We had a super day and I came home with an obligatory bag!!

On Saturday morning we needed to be up and off very early for the market. It took us about an hour to get to Loule, a traditional Portuguese market town. So glad we came though. Not sure what I expected but it was absolutely lovely. The town itself is very handsome. It’s a warren of little alleyways with a medieval feel. Lots of interesting shops selling locally produced delicacies and handicrafts. The Arabian inspired market spills out of the halls and into the streets every Saturday. It was full of music, happy chatter and families out for the day. Every street cafe was heaving. Definitely not one to be missed. Prices were great in the market hall. Bought smoked olive oil, fig balsamic vinegar, olives and prawns the size of my hand. Also a slab of swordfish that weighed as much as a small child. All for a pittance. We picnicked by the gothic castle listening to the buskers. It was just gorgeous. Found another great shop. Martina-Loule. I could happily have walked away with her entire stock. Everything was just so my style. I plumped for a super brightly coloured jacket. That’s Mark off the hook with birthday ideas. I’m totally sorted! Despite my amazing food purchases, himself had spotted a pizza place, where he stood mesmerised for ages outside the window watching them spinning the dough. He was craving junk and they did look pretty good. How could I deny him!! I succumbed. He got a large box of yummies and I got a lovely shopping bag! Happy days.

After two days of shopping and sightseeing, we needed a quiet Sunday. We nipped up to Cacela Velha for morning coffee and some of their incredible orange cake. The view from up there takes your breath away. The rest of the day was spent on the beach with doggo followed by a lovely big barbecue cook up of yesterday’s fish. It sure is a good life!

The hire car is a real Godsend. We can zip up and down the Eastern Algarve without dragging the big bus. We don’t have our bikes this trip. We would definitely be missing them had we not hired the motor.

Ok well that’s all for now folks. We are going to relax for a few days. Matt and Lucy are due out next week so we have more adventures to plan. Hope you enjoyed sharing our travels. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Much love as always from sunny Portugal 🇵🇹 ❤️🌞

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