The Portugal Diaries #11

As mentioned last time, we had a trip inland pencilled in for the Wednesday of the first week of July. A good friend of ours from Wales and his fiancée were holidaying in Lisbon and he had asked if we could meet up as we haven’t seen him for a few years. We also would be meeting his fiancée for the first time, so BattleDad found a place that was roughly half way for us and we planned our meet up.

Little did I know that the reason BattleDad chose it was because there is an amazing castle in the town. We left our place and headed past Castro Marim towards Beja, taking the mountain roads inland. We passed through a town called Mertola, which also hosts a castle on a hill. We plan to visit that as it’s only an hour from us.

After almost 2 hours on the road we arrived in Beja and found the castle. I honestly did not associate castles with Portugal but you can imagine my delight that we managed not one, but two dragon hunts within days of each other.

my sunday photo
Beja Castle
my sunday photo
Beja Castle

M and P were running a little late so we walked along the outer walls and admired how beautiful the castle looked. Once our friends had arrived we went into the castle to explore and hunt out the dragon lurking within.

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Selfie with my boy at Beja Castle

After an hour, we found a café for a sit down and catch up with toasties and a coffee. I have to say I’m a big fan of toasties since moving to Portugal. They aren’t afraid of using butter and the bread they use is really good. Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend the afternoon with M and P as BattleDad had to get back for a conference call at 3pm but we thoroughly enjoyed our catch up and were so grateful they took time out from their holiday to come see us.

We decided to head back to Tavira via the main motorway and we got a nasty surprise on our way home. We came across a set of tolls not far from Beja and I mistakenly thought we could use the fast lane. I’ve set up an online account for our tolls along the A22, the main motorway that runs along the South of Portugal. But alas, these electronic tolls are different to those on the other motorways.

There are actually 3 different types of tolls and unless you have a tag, which you can only get for Portuguese plated cars, you have to get a ticket and present it at the other end. We didn’t have a ticket and as a result ended up paying a fine of over €100 for a trip that should have cost less than €10. A costly lesson to learn! I’m just glad we had enough on us to pay.

On our way home we did pass the exit for Silves which my Dad reliably informs us has another castle. I really am surprised at how many castles there are in Portugal and how amazing they look. I had been wondering whether we would be able to continue our dragon hunting adventures but thankfully we can.

Later that week we spent yet another Friday evening at the beach. Someone fell asleep on the way there and woke up to discover himself at the beach. He and BattleDad had a whale of a time jumping waves and running away from them.

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Jumping the waves on Manta Rota beach

It’s an absolute joy to be able to nip to the beach of an evening and see the joy in our son’s face as he plays in the sand and sea, which is warm by the way. It makes us happy to know our decision to leave the UK for a life in the sun is paying off. We’re starting to settle in and find out feet but we’ve a while to go before I think it’ll truly feel like home. But so far so good.

Next time I tell you of more blogger mail that has winged its way to us here in Portugal!

To be continued…

Cath x

Read more about our Portugal Adventures at Portugal Diaries.

Living Arrows 36/52

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

Kahlil Gibran

We’re currently on holiday in North West America and spent 4 magical days in Yellowstone National Park. We were sad to leave it but very privileged to have had the chance. Whether this little dude remembers any if it remains to be seen but we’ve plenty of video and pictures to show him. And you never, we might return one day in the future.

Living Arrows - BattleKid spotting bison through binoculars in Yellowstone

Living Arrows - BattleKid hiding under his hood at Yellowstone General Stores at Roosevelt

Linking up with Donna of What The Redhead Said. If you’d like to take part or see some other Living Arrows posts, please click the badge below.

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Living Arrows 35/52

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

Kahlil Gibran

Last Monday it was a hot one, so once BattleDad was finished work calls we went for our usual afternoon swim. And this time I brought my phone with me (which is waterproof) to capture some pictures and video of BattleKid swimming. I have to say he does get some admiring looks for his fearlessness.

My living arrows picture of BattleKid jumping into the pool My living arrows picture of BattleKid jumping into the pool My living arrows picture of BattleKid jumping into the pool

Linking up with Donna of What The Redhead Said. If you’d like to take part or see some other Living Arrows posts, please click the badge below.

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Portugal Days 5 and 6: 16+17/04/2017

We had an earlier start to the day and had a lovely light breakfast on my parents’ deck of sausage, bacon, eggs and toast. My mum went to Mass for 10am and while she was gone I got stuck into cleaning for her. I thought it only fair since she and my Dad were letting us stay, not only for Easter, but also when we were arriving in May until our own place was ready. While I did that, BattleKid was checking for hares with his Lolo’s binoculars.portugal diaries day 5 portugal diaries day 5

Once my mum was back, we all got dressed nicely and headed to see BattleDad’s aunt, who had invited us for Easter Sunday dinner. I hadn’t met her before and she and her family couldn’t have been more welcoming. She has been lucky enough to be living near Tavira for 5 years now, having retired down there from Ireland. I met her husband, her two daughters and one of her grandsons. They were all lovely and also very welcoming to my parents who came along for lunch too.

We had a lovely Sunday roast with them and spent a lovely few hours in their company and we all looked forward to seeing each other again once we moved down.

We left their house just after 4pm, and as I thought, BattleKid fell asleep in the car on the way back. Once we got back BattleDad and I started to pack our stuff up. That said, we were leaving behind two bags of clothes to cover us for the few weeks we’d be staying with my folks when we moved down. I was grateful we had the option to do so as the car would be rammed with the dog as well.

None of us were particularly hungry so we had a snack and put BattleKid to bed at 8pm. I had an awful night’s sleep with BattleDad’s snoring which is never ideal the night before travelling.

We were up at 6.15am and had some tea and toast before loading up the car and saying Ate Breve to my parents (which means See you soon in Portuguese). We dropped the car back and were at the airport for 8.15am. Check in was easy, the same cannot be said of passport control in Faro Airport.

Faro Airport is having a makeover, which means departures is crazy at the moment. We spent over an hour queuing to get through security, and had to go straight to our gate as they had called for boarding by the time we got through. We left Portugal in high spirits, knowing that when we returned in 6 weeks time, it would be for good.

Cath x

Portugal Day 4: 15/04/2017

7.30am seemed to becoming a regular occurrence and after having breakfast we headed into Tavira hopeful. We were hoping the ferry to Ilha de Tavira would be running so we could visit the beach.

You see, Tavira is a town on the coast but the beaches of Tavira and surrounding areas are located on islands, separated from the mainland by little inlets of water. It all forms part of a nature reserve called the Ria Formosa and you need to get ferries across the inlets to reach them.

The ferries do not run all year round, and normally only run for May to October. However, thankfully since Easter was later this year, the ferry was running. We got the 10am ferry across, which took 20 minutes to get to the Ilha. We paid for a parasol and 2 beds, costing just €10 and spent a lovely few hours at the beach.portugal diaries day 4 portugal diaries day 4

BattleKid had a whale of a time playing in the sand, building sand castles, chasing waves, splashing both BattleDad and his Lolo. And as we were there early, it wasn’t too packed. I could see how it might get very busy during the summer months.living arrows 16 living arrows 16 living arrows 16

We decided to head for a ferry at 1.30pm but had gotten the times all mixed up. It turned out ok as we had a lovely lunch in one of the restaurants on the beach before getting the right ferry back. BattleKid fell asleep on the boat and it was hardly surprising with all the fresh air and fun he had had.

We did a bit of shopping before going back to my parents’ house for dinner and bedtime. Despite his earlier nap he was in bed by 8pm and asleep soon after. We had a lovely day at the beach and can see us spending a lot more time at the beach once we move down permanently.

Cath x