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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Living Arrows 28/52

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

Kahlil Gibran

In the last week we have the pleasure of visiting not one but two castles here in Portugal. I had no idea there were so many in Portugal, let alone within two hours of us.

The first we visited was in a town 20 minutes from us called Castro Marim. Castro Marim has two fort-type castles on opposite hills, one which is open to the public and one which isn’t. We had a lovely time wandering around, looking for dragons of course, and imagining what it was like to live there hundreds of years ago.

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Just taking a break from dragon hunting

We also visited a castle in a town called Beja which is 2 hours drive from us. We were meeting up with friends from Wales who were in Lisbon on holiday and who kindly offered to meet halfway. It was so good seeing M and his new fiancee P, who is lovely, and we spent a lovely hour wandering around the castle, hunting for dragons, before having a bite to eat and a coffee. I was blown away by this castle. And guess what? We passed another one in a town called Mertola which we are going to return to!

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Standing in the courtyard of Beja Castle

We also spent last Friday evening at the beach after BattleDad finished work. I still can’t quite believe that this is our life now; popping to the beach after work on Friday while it’s still hot is still something dreams are made of.

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Jumping the waves on Manta Rota beach

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Living Arrows 27/52

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

Kahlil Gibran

Last week we discovered yet another beach near us, Manta Rota, and what a beach it was. Miles of sand, gloriously warm water and all while in the beautiful Portuguese evening sun. We went after BattleDad finished his client calls, modelling our Saltrock t-shirts, and although we didn’t arrive until nearly 6pm, there were still lots of people still there and more arriving.

We had fun on the beach, the boys splashing in the water and I was glad I brought a change of clothes for a certain little person. We loved it so much that we even brought my sister and niece there on the last day of their visit before they were due at the airport and fun was had by all. I think we’ll be there again this week!

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