Sunday Sevens #199 4.8.19

Hello there! I hope you’re well and have had a good week. Last Saturday we packed up the car and headed off on a road trip to Portugal…. here’s some of what we got up to:

Olá Portugal!

We drove to the lovely seaside town of Alvor in the Algarve. We have visited this part of the world before and spent some time on day trips here before but really fancied being able to spend the evening enjoying the many bars & restaurants rather than just grabbing a quick lunch or ice cream before heading back to our accommodation. This time we rented an apartment in the fishing town and really enjoyed all it had to offer.

Alvor medieval fair

For most of our stay there was a Medieval fair going on at night. There were multiple food stalls, entertainment with ye olde worlde musicians and characters wandering about. There was even a medieval merry-go-round – it didn’t get many takers as far as we could see, the more modern one with hobby horses and fire engines next door was more of a pull for the little ones.

Down at the waterpark

We had a day at a water park on Tuesday – not something you’d normally catch us doing but we met up with old friends while we were away and one of their sons had his birthday last week so this was his choice. I was very brave and went on the ‘Disco River’ slide and screamed all the way down. Littlest asked me not to ride with him again after that…

Beach day

The Little Postcards had a great time last week, not only did we go water sliding, we had 4 trips to the beach. I have to admit, this one is rather spectacular don’t you agree?

Chocolate heaven!

Now do you remember those evening delights to enjoy in Alvor? This has got to be one of them. (I may be regretting some of the naughty things we ate now I’m home and reunited with my scales :-/ ) How about this for a build your own dessert? What a treat…. I went for chocolate centre, dark chocolate coating with Oreo and KitKat crumbly topping on mine ;-).

One last Portuguese sunset

And so our time in Alvor came to an end, a lovely holiday and some lovely memories.

Back home!

There she is! The Rock in which we stand, back home to Gibraltar, just in time for a plane to land and another to take off again!

Thanks for stopping by! Sunday Sevens was first created by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.

If you would like to see a bit more about Alvor, you can pop over to my post all about it from four years ago.

A postcard from Lagos

We’ve just had the midterm holidays and last week, we packed up the car and headed off to Portugal, Lagos to be precise. We’ve been to this part of the world a couple of times before but stayed closer to Portimão, this time we fancied a change of scenery and headed further west to Lagos.

We stayed in a lovely apartment on the western edge of Lagos. Sadly it was too nippy to make use of the outdoor pool (well for the softy grown-ups at least!). Can you see the Atlantic Ocean in the distance? It was a lovely spot.

Lagos has a rather pretty old town which is surrounded by city walls.

The archetypal Portuguese tiles are in abundance here.

Even the pavements are artistic…

And there are some gorgeous front doors too…

At the start of our visit to the city there was a craft fair going on in town. Housed in an old building which used to be a munitions store, it was the home for stalls selling needlework, jewelry, fused glass and cork items.

I was in my element and bought a few bits and bobs which will come in handy for Christmas presents.

Among the stalls was a marvelous collection of yarns and woven items.

The lady who runs this stall hand dyes all her yarns and weaves them into beautiful scarves and bags. She also sold balls of yarn…

She dyes the yarn using seeds, vegetables, bark (for the deep purple) and insects for the pink and red tones. I bought this gorgeous yarn which was coloured using tree roots.

If you would like to see more of her work, you can check out her Facebook page.

Another craft emporium had this fabulous window display;

It was run by a German couple who between them wrote books and poetry and whittled beautiful wooden jewelry. They had been living in Lagos for 20+ years and raised their children here. I bought some earrings made by the wife and a book of folk lore stories written and illustrated by the husband.

Zoo Lagos

One morning we took a drive out to Lagos Zoo. I’m uncomfortable with the whole ‘zoo’ thing but at this one, the animals seemed well cared for.

It was a perfect small zoo for young children. In some areas there were no fences at all, and some of the creatures just wandered around at will.

These pelicans caused quite a stir as they just ambled along the path amongst the visitors. We even got to see them being fed a little while later…

There were plenty of primates, many of whom lived on this primate island. The noise of the calls and booming cries could be heard a good distance away in the car park!

This bird had a really funky hairdo…

I’m told that this Pygmy hippo bore a more than passing resemblance to me…

I loved the flying foxes, they were fascinating to see up close.

My absolute favorites had to be the rainbow coloured parrots (macaws to be precise) and this angora nanny goat!

Lagos fort

At the western edge of Lagos seafront/riverfront stands an old fort-like building. Rectangular in shape, with lookout towers at each corner and with a drawbridge on the land side, it caught my eye the first time I saw it.

On our first trip into Lagos, we had tried to get in, but it was closed for lunch sadly. I made it my mission to be back in town one day while it was open to have a mosey inside.

Over the drawbridge and through the old wooden doors we went to buy our entrance tickets.

The Forte da Ponta da Bandeira is a restored 17th Century maritime fortress. On the ground floor are a series of small rooms which were being used as galleries displaying a photographic exhibition.

There was also a very small chapel, dedicated to Santa Barbara. It may be small, but there was such a calming, yet powerful atmosphere in there, and as you can see it was totally covered with traditional Portuguese tiles.

Up the ramp, to the upper floor…

… and the many wind sculptures…

They were so striking.

In each corner of the fort, as I mentioned, there is a little lookout turret, and we were able to go into three of them.

The narrow slit windows perfectly framed the views they looked out on…

…. both inland….

….and out to sea.

It was such a lovely spot.

Back downstairs, we found another small gallery featuring more work from the artist who had created the sculptures on the roof…

José Maria Silva Pereira is the artist who created these installations and the sculptures on the roof are called Caminhos do Vento (which I think translates of Paths of Wind). They were specially designed to be moved by the north wind which is common in Lagos during the summer months.

And that, is just about it for this postcard from the Algarve. We had a lovely few days, and mainly good weather, if you’re ever in this neck of the woods I’d definitely recommend a visit.

Sunday Sevens #95 6.8.17

Hello there, please excuse the brevity of this week’s Sunday Sevens. I had loads to tell you about our trip to Portugal but the slowest wifi known to man meant I couldn’t write it on holiday (think 12 hours to upload a single photo) and sadly, since we returned yesterday, I have been rather poorly with a very unpleasant bug. I’m starting to feel a little more human this evening so here goes…

Holidays start here!

Last Saturday we arrived on the beautiful Algarve coast near to Alvor. After a five and a half hour drive from Gibraltar it was great to be back in the same place where we holidayed two years ago. It’s still as picturesque as I remembered.

Lovely Lagos

Just a 20 minute drive from our resort is the town of Lagos, we didn’t visit it last time, so paid it a visit to see what was there. With heaps of character and narrow streets, along with moorish architecture it reminded me a lot of Tarifa, which is close to Gibraltar on the Atlantic coast.

Cheers!


Dinner at a beachside restaurant, or chiringuito as they are known close to us in Spain, meant a chance to sample some beautiful food and a gorgeous Algarvian rosé as the sun went down.

Back to Alvor

Our favourite destination on our last visit to this part of the world is the fishing village of Alvor. So quaint and characterful, and home to lots of lovely places to eat!

Taberna 

Talking of eating… While we were in Portugal, we timed our visit to coincide with friends who were visiting from England. One of our friends is Portuguese and has been visiting this part of the world for her family summer holidays for 40+ years. She took us back to her favourite restaurant, ‘Taberna’ in Portimão for a beautiful meal in a truly atmospheric place.

Beach life

I have never visited tropical beaches, but I can’t imagine they are any more beautiful than the beaches of the Algarve, with dramatic cliffs, clean sand and crystal clear turquoise water. We spent many happy hours jumping Atlantic waves and building sand castles.

Heading home

If you have seen the news lately about the heatwave in Central Europe, you will know things have been pretty warm in these parts of late. We set off at 8:15am in an attempt to beat some of the heat, but it wasn’t early enough. The sun was beating down on us just over an hour later as we crossed the bridge from Portugal back into Spain. The highest temperature I read on the car dashboard thermometer was 41.5 C as we crossed the hills south of Jerez. It isn’t a patch on the record highs elsewhere in Europe, but it was rather toasty.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series for bloggers which was created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins. It features seven (or perhaps more) photos from the last seven days of your week. If you are a blogger and would like to join in with the Sunday Sevens community, then pop over to Natalie’s blog to find out how you can get involved.

Sunday Sevens #94 30.7.17

This week’s Sunday Sevens features several locations in 4 different countries believe it or not! Here goes…

Sunny English summer skies


This time last week we were in Reading enjoying the last full day with our old friends who once lived in Gibraltar. They have a lovely big back garden and the weather conspired to allow the Little Postcards and their friends to play outdoors for ages on the trampoline and running about on the grass. Meanwhile my friend and I looked on, coffee, and then gin in hand, and enjoyed a jolly good catch up. We had such a lovely time, thank you so much x

Ride a cock horse… our Banbury detour


So our return trip up North managed to coincide with some rather annoying (for us) railway engineering works. We ended up killing an hour in Banbury between connections. My only prior knowledge of the place was a bloke at University called ‘Pete from Banbury’ and the nursery rhyme. I can now add to that extensive catalogue of knowledge by contributing the fact that Banbury Debenhams do a damn fine chocolate brownie.

Family times


On Tuesday we went out for a lovely meal with my parents, brother and sister-in-law. My brother gave us a lift in his van and opened the sunroof, much to the delight of the Little Postcards! Check out that blue sky!

Oh, and there was an octopus at the table too…


Heading home – very slowly!


Wednesday meant time to leave England and a long wait for our plane home. A medical emergency on the plane we should have caught made our departure time 2 hours later than it should be. I hope the patient is ok.

We took off in the end though… good bye for now England!



Blue skies above


Back in Gibraltar, and boy it’s been very warm! Not a cloud in the sky…



Hot, hot, hot!


I know I’ve just spent 2 and a half weeks in England and I’m out of practice, but it really has been hot – 32.4 degrees on Friday.

Off on holiday again


I’ve had a very quick turnaround this week, unpacking our suitcases, washing and refilling them in time for our road trip to Portugal. We are staying in the same place as we did on our last visit two years ago, not far from Alvor. This is the Queen Sofia Bridge in Seville, it’s a huge structure which sea-going tankers can travel beneath. You get a great view of the city from it too. Oh, and it was 38.5 degrees there – phew!

After a five hour drive from Gibraltar and a welcome drop in temperature by a couple of degrees, we arrived at our destination. We’ve been hanging out with the locals…

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series for bloggers which was created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins. It features seven (or perhaps more) photos from the last seven days of your week. If you are a blogger and would like to join in with the Sunday Sevens community, then pop over to Natalie’s blog to find out how you can get involved.

A trip to Alvor

  
We are already halfway through our family holiday to the Algarve. We have been lucky enough to enjoy gloriously hot days interspersed with cloudy, cooler days giving us a respite from the heat. There have been lazy days on the beach and by the pool, but today we took a short drive west along the coast to the nearby fishing village of Alvor.

  
The sleepy village is situated on the estuary of the Alvor River and although it’s not particularly ‘touristy’ it had a fair few overseas visitors today. On our wander through the village, we stumbled upon the Church of the Divine Saviour. The beautiful egg yolk yellow and white of the paintwork looked lovely, it’s a shame I couldn’t photograph it against a brilliant blue sky. I’m not complaining though, it was nice and cool today!

  
  
Unfortunately we didn’t make it inside the 16th Century church this time, but we are hoping to return to Alvor before we leave the Algarve. Perhaps I’ll get another chance to explore inside.

  
The narrow streets are very picturesque with a mix of modern and older architecture. The photo below is of the municipal library.

  
The streets head downhill towards the waterfront and are lined with restaurants predominantly selling seafood (naturally!).

  
Outside each restaurant is a barbecue grill where the fish and meat is cooked.

  
We took our pick from the riverfront restaurants to find a suitable place to eat lunch. While we waited for our main courses to arrive, we munched our way through a basket of bread and this platter of octopus salad, carrots and olives in garlic and a small dish of tuna mayonnaise.

  
I followed that with a very tasty shrimp kebab – yum!

  
After a lovely lunch, I was ready for a nap, a bit like this dog! (I couldn’t resist taking a photo!)

  
The most bizarre sight of the day was this Portuguese cow on a surf board (yes cow, check out the udders!!!):

  
It was standing outside a shop selling gear relating to the Portugal national football team. I have no idea what the relevance is of the cow to the national football team, if you do, please let me know!

That’s all from me for now, thanks for stopping by, I’ll leave you with a view of the beautiful Alvor River estuary. I’ll be back soon with a final Postcard from Portugal.