There is a walk that passes through the hills behind the town. It traverses the full length of the Algarve, a distance on the path of 300km. It's called the Via Algarviana, which according to the Visit Algarve website is “Europe's most famous secret”. Wow, I wonder if that's really true? And no it isn't. I've just had a look on the Visit Algarve Website and they mean the whole Algarve, not just the walking path. Doesn't have quite the same impact now. Anyway, we set off on Sunday to complete the walk and got lost. There were loads of trails and only one stretch of about 800m was actually marked. The highlight for me was seeing a naked man doing the strimming, but apart from that excitement, it was a nice day (if not he would presumably have followed different nude activities in the warmth of his home.) So, yesterday, Mike and George set off to do the walk and got horribly lost again, no signs, and an Englishman explained that the posts have gone missing for a variety of reasons. The landowners don't like people walking across their land, and a possibility that maybe only the stretches near car parks where visiting officials have actually been are properly marked. Mmm, dunno, just saying.
There are an awful lot of motorhomes parked in the swimming pool car park. The mayor doesn't appear to mind. By an awful lot I mean over 100. Now call me old fashioned but that's not wildcamping, they're basically staying for the winter. Someone had set up a generator to power a washing machine IN THE ROAD through the car park yesterday. What if the emergency services needed to come through? People are complaining that the local authorities are putting up barriers and fences and asking for a small payment which varies, depending on the facilities available. They feel that the Portugese are 'coralling' them and profiteering in the process. The cost we have seen so far ranges from 2 to 8 euros for the night. Now, it occurred to me that if you can afford a motorhome, the fuel to get here you should be prepared to make a contribution to the cost of sewer, water, garbage disposal. Water rates are high on the Algarve, the country's economy is on its knees. How would these people react if 100 motorhomes parked outside their municipal pool for a whole season in The Netherlands, Germany, or the UK? These aren't scruffy motorhomes either. They range from the standard European types to RV's and palatial ones that come in at well over £100,000. If you can afford one of those.....Anyway, I don't usually rant, or use this as a forum to air my opinions.
There are a couple of vendors that visit our site every day. One is the bread man and the other just has a bootfull of citrus fruit on board from his garden. We've already bought oranges off him so I asked if he had anything else. Yes, he did. Homemade wine. Two euros a bottle. I thought I'd give it a go and when he showed me the bottle it was a regular bottle of plonk from the supermarket. I couldn't pretend that I had my doubts and made him promise it really was home made. "I promise, I promise" He cried. I wonder, and am saving it for fellow drinkers to share with or perhaps a cooking opportunity, just in case. I now think I just made a donation to his family finances.
Anyway, enough said. We're leaving tomorrow, had a lovely time in Silves and here are some photos around town and countryside, because I'm rubbish at describing a view.