Friday, January 10, 2014

First Day in Portugal


This winter for some reason has been terrible for me it has made me really miserable, so when my friends Kim and Carlos from the Taste of Portugal said they were off to Portugal in January, I thought what a good idea. So on January 9th we left a wet cold England to holiday in Portugal. A apartment in Club Praia Da Oura Albufiera Algarve  was our base, Carlos and Kim picked us from the Aeroport and took us to Messines Village where Carlos was born, they have rented a small house in the old part very close to his mother. This was the real Portugal the real Algarve, small narrowed cobbled streets, the Village centre  was for local people small family owned shops and cafe, with a proper village market not a T  Shirt in sight. I felt immediately at home we then went back to Carlos's House for a typical Portuguese meal. Before the Dinner we sat on his little verandah looking over his small garden with Lemon tree full of Lemon, drinking a bit of the local fire water. The difference from the UK was not just cultural but weather, to be able to sit outside in a polo shirt in weather similar to June in England in January was fantastic and certainly lifted my spirits. To give you idea of the village and its life style, Carlos mum made a Chicken and Potato stew, and old recipe with an old broiler chicken cooked for hours feet as well, it seem they fight to who get the chicken feet. Carlos walked round to his mums to this delicious pot of food. This was absolutely delicious and I said to Carlos why not put it on the menu? he told me it takes such a long time to cook you would have to get a booking well in advance shame it was  lovely dish.
I mentioned lemons something I did not realise there is abundance in this part of Portugal yet I am told they do not export them, the price is ridiculous about 50p a kilo min you all their fruit and veg is cheap. Orange and lemons crop 3 times a year and taste exceptionally sweet, it seems they do conform to uniform shape required by the EU hence no export. So where ever you go in this part of the country you see orange, lemon and olive trees. Carlos is very proud of this area so when he said he was to take us our Hotel I should have realised it could be a round about way, he took in l his sights of his village and surrounding area. This was a brilliant start to our holiday and something we would never have seen if we had just gone to the hotel.

On the way to the hotel Carlos would make a point of saying beautiful the roundabout were, with my sense of humor this a great time to take the micky out of him and I gave each roundabout a mark. Yet I have to be honest they do make the roundabout a focal point, one had a massive clock another a globe another giant worms and so on. Carlos and Kim's help did not stop there when got to the hotel, there help was invaluable s we got a room which could you barely swing  cat and a cat with a small tail. As soon as the pair of them saw this they were straight down to reception and we done a Sharon Carrott and had a room change, plus Carlos carried the cases.

Great start to the holiday thanks to Carlos and Kim

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