The weather on the Algarve continued to be sunny and warm so I was able to continue with my sickening shots of blue sky and sandy beaches
We spent last weekend parked outside our friends' house and they took us to some new spots. One was at the beach at Barril, near Tavira. There was a car park there for motorhomes which was €4 for 24 hrs. We assumed it would include fresh water and dump but when we went back after the weekend we found out it was for parking only. When we didn't immediately see facilities to take on water and to empty the toilet, Mike went and asked a couple of other couples. They all confirmed that it was just a car park, but if we were quick the first 15 minutes was 20 cents. We quickly raced towards the barrier and saw on the receipt that we'd been parked for 13 minutes, a close shave. Shame though because the location was lovely, with views across the ria to the island beyond. I'd been looking forward to walking across to the island and having a look at the sea on the other side. This is apparently an iconic Algarvian beach with anchors stood upright in the sand. I'll have to go another time. We then returned to the Aire at Manta Rota and bagged the last space, more reasonably priced at €4.50, all facilities except electricity which is extra. I love the beach there but the parking wasn't as attractive as Barril with the 4 long lines of motorhomes parked parallel to each other.
Another of our routine stops at Manta Rota is Mar's Bar. This has the slogan 'the best burgers and ribs on the Algarve' and having eaten there several times since we discovered it back in 2011 we have to agree. However, when I looked up their opening hours on Google I noticed an extremely negative review on Trip Advisor. Restaurants do go up and down and we were put off as it was recent, and vociferous. The reviewer had been particularly disturbed by inattentiveness by the staff and poor quality of the economy menu. Mike went to investigate what this was comprised of and it was a three course meal for €10 and with plenty of choice on each course. The negative review seemed unreasonable in light of this and so we decided to take a chance. After all with three courses for less than a couple of drinks in a restaurant at home, what were they expecting? We didn't eat off the economy meal and the food was first rate. I had the ribs, Mike the home made ground beef burger. I don't think the staff are inattentive, either. The geography is such that the dining area is separate from and out of sight of the bar and so in the winter when there are less staff the diners won't have a server in constant attendance. Again, the place is described as bar and bistro so we wouldn't expect a silver service meal with waiter enquiring after our every need. I'll be putting my own review on Trip Advisor, I don't know the owners nor am I affiliated to them in any way but an unfair review like that one could have put us off, how much business have they lost because of it?
Night two at Manta Rota and I scuttled up into the village for a whole chicken and chips takeaway for the princely sum of €6! I know it seems I'm writing about money a lot, but it was delish and with Mike such an anti fowl eater I couldn't resist AND it was our last night in Portugal. Our five weeks away from the UK have shot past so quickly.
We have decided to follow a similar route home to the one we used to get here in December. Clear running to Seville, then north for an overnight stop at Caceres. Have found the Aire in town and so far nice and peaceful. Got the last place on the Aire proper and there were about half a dozen on the bus parking spaces. Didn't want to take one of those and tangle with a bus in the morning, or run the risk of irritating them by parking out of bounds.