Monday, 19 March 2012

19TH Mar ARMONA

We’ve had a fabulous day today, well the past month has been fabulous but today was extra fabulous!

We cycled into town having planned to take a trip around the islands; 1 hour cost 10 each, 2 hours 20 up to 40 for half a day. However, the ferry to the main island  (Armona) was 3.60 return ................... so we did that! Armona was absolutely lovely, so quiet with huge beaches. It is very different from the built up, crowded Algarve (just 10 minutes away). All the buildings were single storey, most of them were empty and none were more than 50 yards from the beach.

 We walked from one end of the island to the other (about a mile) along the main road!!
The main road!!
This is where the main road leads to
And this is where the board walk leads to
There are no cars; everything has to be transported by boat. We ate our lunch watching three men unloading a small motor boat, laden with bags of cement and bricks,  onto the jetty by hand (the down side of island living). They then had to transferred it onto a hand cart, which they had to push/pull themselves, needing several journeys to move it all (we watched for an hour and a half and they were nowhere near finished).

Talking of lunch, as it’s out of season not many of the bars/restaurant were open (in fact nothing much was open); but we found this open (empty) restaurant on the harbour and asked whether he served food; he went out the back to ask what they could do for us and came back saying all he could offer was sea bass, pork chop or squid. We opted for the squid (which he was a bit surprised at, asking us if we knew what it was!!). This is what we were served with ...................................
Griddled squid with garlic and parsley, huge platter of chips, tomato and onion salad; there was enough for four people, but we did our best! It was absolutely delicious; we washed it down with two beers each. When I went to pay it was 25€, just under £21, then he asked if we would like another couple of beers which I politely declined and he said “would I not do him the honour of giving us a drink on the house?” so I had to accept, didn’t I? He was impressed that we liked the squid; he said that the non Portuguese didn’t like their squid to look like squid (e.g. fried calamari – which I love); anyway we achieved some Portuguese credibility!

Then 3 ½ hours after arriving we caught the ferry back to the mainland. We merrily wove our way back to the van on our bikes. We spent an hour washing the van, it gets very dust out here – it was filthy but now it looks very smart. So we’re clean, our clothes are clean, our bikes are clean and now the van in clean and the battery is full charged.
While we were having lunch we were discussing how much we are enjoying ourselves and how lucky we are – we can travel for a year, then go home (to get the van MOT’d) and if we wanted to we can carry on travelling or we can buy a farm, but then there are other options ........ the island today was very like Greece, we love Greece; now we’re thinking a cottage in Greece, with a couple of acres, close to the sea then we could have a boat. We change our minds daily – but I do still love Donkey Quinta.

We’re getting too comfortable here; it would be very easy to stay, so tomorrow we’re going to move on to TAVIRA.

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