“We waded out at the edge of the sea to a fishing village and it was so lovely we promised to go back and stay. When I did go there, ten years later it was unrecognisable. Only the name remained of what was once so exquisite” Patrice Chaplin – ‘Albany Park’
Actually we didn’t need a great deal, the two main items on our shopping list were beer and bread, in that order! We found the beer and quickly calculated how much we would need for three days and set about assembling the purchase at the counter. The shop keeper seemed a bit agitated by this but all she was trying to make us understand was that she would rather like the bottles back when we had finished with them because there was a deposit on them.
And then we turned to bread and spotted it on a shelf behind the old lady and by pointing and shouting, in the way that we do when we can’t understand each other, we drew her attention to it and asked for twenty mini loaves. Now she was alarmed because this was only a small community and this would have cleaned out the entire days supply for the village and we had to seriously negotiate with her to get her to release only about half of our requested quantity.
Back at the villa it was really quite warm in the early afternoon sun and this meant that we could sample the Portuguese beer while sitting around the pool and on the sun terrace on the top of the building. Three of us were content to sit and do very little but Richard, who is by nature a hopeless fidget, quickly got bored and soon disappeared to carry out a more thorough inspection of the car. He was gone for quite some time and first of all he gave it a good bonnet to boot clean, which seemed to cheer it up considerably and it began to look a great deal happier!
It wasn’t all good news however because Richard advised that a quick mechanical check had revealed that one of the headlights didn’t work and there was no heater because the pipes had been disconnected and sealed off with a bit of wood, which wasn’t a repair process that you would find in a Haynes do-it-yourself workshop manual but nevertheless appeared to be relatively effective. At this point things didn’t look good for the journey home and we wondered how difficult it would be to get a flight back instead.
With the car all bright and shiny we all agreed that we should now give it a test drive and make a first trip down to the nearby beach resort of Armação de Pera, about five kilometres away.
It took us only about ten minutes to reach the town that not very long ago was nothing more than a collection of small shacks where the local residents from the nearby village of Pera used to maintain their fishing boats. This was probably a place where men used to gather at the end of the day, and have a bit of a laugh and a beer or two before going home for evening meal. But sadly that was in the past because the adjacent five kilometer sandy beach had turned this into a full-on summer resort, which in my opinion had probably spoilt it forever.
Not that there was a great deal going on today however and after a quick inspection of the empty beach we all agreed that we should find a bar for another beer. We found a traditional sort of place that had an extensive selection of port wines ranging from just a few Escudos a glass to quite a lot of Escudos a glass and because we didn’t understand the hierarchy or the complexities of Port Wine we just settled for a beer instead.
By late afternoon we decided we should go back to the villa so with Richard driving we tried to find our way out of the town. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds and being unfamiliar with driving on the other side of the road he managed to knock over a parked motorcycle and then almost wipe out a couple of pedestrians for good measure. Before he could do some really serious damage we made him pull over and I took over the controls for the short drive back. Equally unfamiliar with driving on the wrong side of the road on the way I knocked over a parked motorcycle and nearly ran over some pedestrians.
We had some more beer of course and then realised that none of us was fit to drive again so we couldn’t go back out and agreed that it would have to be an evening at the villa. After the sun went down it became rather chilly so we gathered up some twigs and branches for firewood and lit a fire in the lounge and spent the evening eating bread rolls and drinking beer. In fact we drank rather more beer than we intended to and by the end of the evening the supply that we had bought for the three days was completely gone!