The Portugal Diaries #15

Our two-week America road trip was a resounding success and turned out to be the trip-of-a-lifetime. It couldn’t have gone any better and has given us a bug for road trips. We got back to Portugal late on Sunday 10th September after a delayed flight from London. 

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Checking out a small herd of bison in Yellowstone

The plane had come from Athens and there was a man with a broken leg stuck in his seat. It took them an hour and a half, with medical assistance, to get him off the plane and get us off the ground. Not the best way to end an epic holiday. But we got home safe and sound.

When we arrived home, we discovered the workmen of our park had finally started sorting out our garden for us. We wanted paths put in and grass to cover the gravel and dust which had started to annoy us. It was great to know the end was in sight where our little patch of Portugal was concerned. And it was completed before the end of the month. It has made the garden look much cleaner and complete now. No more dust coming into our home.

As soon as we were back from our holidays, we went to the school to see the secretary. They had BattleKid on their register and so, on the Tuesday we started him off with four hours, going to up seven hours (until 4pm) by the end of the week. He had no problem at all going in and the language difference didn’t seem to bother him at all. With BattleKid starting school, it made me spend more time on the language app, Memrise, to continue my learning of the language too. And I was soon surprising BattleDad with some of the things I understand and can say. I’ve a long way to go but I’m making the effort.

All the teachers in kindergarten understand English to some extent, but only one speaks it with some confidence. They’re all lovely and very accommodating of both us and BattleKid. There is also another child in his class from an English-speaking family which is great to know. And he seemed to be settling in well.

The weekend after we arrived back from America we attended our first proper motorbike racing meet with BattleKid at Portimao. World Superbikes have a date on their racing calendar at the Algarve Circuit and BattleDad had gotten us paddock access for €35 each. That’s a lot less than the same type of tickets for the Isle of Man TT, I can tell you!

We set off by 10am on the Saturday and just less than an hour and twenty minutes later we arrived to the noise of Superbikes doing practice laps. BattleKid wasn’t too sure of the noise at first, but once the race started he was extremely excited. We also spotted a few racers we know like Stefan Bradl and Eugene Laverty, both ex-MotoGP riders. And BattleKid got to meet the Yamaha pit girls too.

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One excited boy at the racing!
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I don’t think he was too sure about the pit girls!

It had been five years since BattleDad and I had been to a race meet and we agreed it had been too long. I think between WSB at Portimao and MotoGP at Jerez, we are going to be spoiled rotten. We missed Jerez this year but will be eagerly awaiting next year’s date to see if we can get tickets!

Shortly after our racing weekend, we had our friends, W and S, arriving for a week with their two children. It was lovely to see them in Portugal and spend time with them, and I know BattleKid was thrilled to see L!

And the Landy also completed her change from UK to Portuguese number plates. It’s strange looking at them and I was not used to them even a month after they were changed.

We also had some lovely days at the beach during September with the cooler weather, both with W and S, and also with BattleKid’s grandparents. We hadn’t visited the beach too much during July and August due to the heat but with the slightly cooler weather, it was much more inviting.

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Enjoying the beach at the end of September!

The month of September ended on a relaxed note as we continue to find our feet in a country we have fallen in love with.

To be continued….

Cath x

Catch the full tale of our big move in our Portugal Diaries here on the blog.

48/52 My Sunday Photo: 26/11/2017

 This week our Land Rover was in for a service, so BattleDad and I took the opportunity to visit Praia de Faro while we were in the locality. We see the sign for it every time we go to the airport but we’ve never detoured to check it out. Until this week. And I have to say it is just as beautiful as the beaches we’ve discovered in the East Algarve.
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Photalife

The Portugal Diaries #10

So, after finishing his calls by 5pm, we decided to jump into the car and go exploring. And we hit the beach but not Fabrica. We hit a beach called Manta Rota which is a sandy beach that stretches for miles. And even better, you don’t need to get a boat to it. You simply walk out the boardwalk and you’re right on the beach.living arrows my sunday photo

It was still quite busy with lots of people still arriving. It seems it is a popular thing to head to the beach after work! And we had a great time. BattleKid got thoroughly soaked and I was glad I had a spare change of clothes as we headed to Xicken Piri Piri for dinner afterwards.

So nice was Manta Rota that on my sister’s last day I picked them up early and we headed there for a few hours to let BattleKid and his cousin play in the sand. They had a ball and it was lovely seeing them enjoying themselves. After showers and lunch, I dropped my parents home before carrying on to Faro airport to drop my sister and niece off. My sister really didn’t want to go home but they’ll be back later in the year.

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Playing in the sand with his cousin
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Burying me in the sand!

We had a quiet few days after our visitors but on the first Sunday of July, we decided to get out early and carry on exploring. We had been told of a castle fort at a place called Castro Marim that might be a good place for some dragon hunting, so off we went. I was very surprised that it was only 20 minutes for our home.

Castro Marim has two forts on top of hills. One is open to the public and in we went, on the hunt of our first dragon in Portugal. It was a great place to spend an hour or two and I’ll be writing all about our visit soon. Afterwards we stopped at a café at the bottom of the castle hill and had toasties and a cuppa before setting off for home. I can see us returning to Castro Marim time and time again.

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The second fort of Castro Marim
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Just taking a break from dragon hunting

After the weekend, and once BattleDad was finished work on Monday evening, we headed back to Manta Rota but not to the beach this time. We wanted to take BattleKid somewhere flat to practise his cycling and there was no better place we could think of than the big square in front of Manta Rota beach. He had a great time for over half an hour before we stopped for dinner.

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Cycling on Manta Rota

Later that week we had a trip inland lined up but it turned out even better than I thought it would. Stay tuned to find out why!

To be continued…

Cath x      

Read more of my Portugal Diaries here.          

The Portugal Diaries #9

The Saturday evening after BattleDad had been in London for a Guns and Roses we had a fun event lined up. My parents had spotted it in the Portugal newspaper, an English newspaper that reports various things around Portugal. They spotted a small article detailing a charity event in support of Animal Vision’s charity cause to raise funds for an animal x-ray machine for Novavet, who we take BattleDog to.

The event was held in Xicken Piri Piri, a restaurant half way between my parent’s place and ours on one of the main roads. It does the most amazing, tasty chicken, far better than any I’ve tasted before. It is this restaurant one of our movers had recommended to us. The ticket included a 3 course meal, soft drinks and wine, and we were to be entertained by Flamenco dancers. portugal diaries 9 portugal diaries 9

Both my mum and I were looking forward to seeing them up close and personal for the first time. I used to do Ballroom and Latin American dancing (think Strictly Come Dancing) when I was younger so have always enjoyed dancing of that sort. My sister, who danced with me, was raging she couldn’t be there for it as she had planned to come a few days after the event!

The evening was a roaring success and raised over €1000 for the charity. The x-ray machine will cost €18k but this was a great start to the fundraising. People were encouraged to come dressed in their best flamenco outfits and there was a prize for the best couple. There was also a raffle and we won a prize too! BattleKid sat in awe during the dancing and was really well behaved, despite being up until well after 11pm. We can’t wait for the next event and we were fortunate my parents spotted the article in the newspaper.

The following morning we took BattleKid for a long overdue haircut. His hair was getting long and was starting to itch him in the heat. I had a browse around the shops while BattleDad supervised the haircut and I got a shock when I saw him. He’d been scalped! But if it meant him being more comfortable, so be it.portugal diaries 9

The next morning, Monday, we were up early to drop BattleDad off at the airport for yet another trip to Paris for work, his last for a while we hope. The project he is working on is at a critical stage but if it goes well it’ll be great for his career and CV.

Left to our own devices, BattleKid and I chilled out on Monday afternoon. We woke early on the Tuesday so I decided it was time to start exploring and we headed to the beach. We started at Cacela Vehla but there wasn’t really a beach. There were steps down to the shore but with a warning sign for snakes I thought “No thanks” and we went a bit further along the coast to a very small village called Fabrica.

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Cacela Vehla

Fabrica had been mentioned by our neighbours and it has a shoreline with beach where boats are moored. To get to the real sandy beach on the Ria Formosa you take one of the small jet boats across. However, BattleKid and I simply walked along the sandy part of the shore, enjoying the sand between our toes. We did make sure we didn’t go too close to the shore as there were hundreds of crabs walking around.

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At Fabrica beach

Visiting Fabrica before breakfast and before the sun got too hot gave us a chance to try out our new Saltrock t-shirts we had received the day before for review. It also meant I felt less guilty about staying indoors with the air con for the rest of the day as the temperatures climbed well into the 30’s.

Dropping BattleDad to the airport wasn’t my only trip to Far airport that week. I returned on the Thursday morning to pick up my sister and niece who had come to visit for a week. It was great to see them both and we had a lovely time catching up in my parents’ house. BattleDad arrived in after 5pm and got a taxi to my parents to save me doing a third trip.

We had a great time with them over the weekend, shopping, swimming and nice meals. It was lovely to have a playmate for BattleKid and surprisingly there weren’t any real fights over toys to report.

After the weekend, on the last Monday of June, BattleDad finished his client calls by 5pm so we decided to go explore again. Where did we go? Find out next time!

To be continued…

Cath x 

To read more of our Portugal Diaries, please visit here.

Living Arrows 34/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Kahlil Gibran

We finally hit the beach again last week on Friday. Hubby was finished work early so we headed to the beach just after 3 for a few hours. Although it had been a hot day, there was a nice breeze at the beach.

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Can I just get to the beach now!

We all had fun jumping waves, making sandcastles, pouring water and even shared some ice creams. We’re off on holiday next week but are hoping to enjoy a lot more beach time in the cooler days of September.

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