Europe, Surfing

Portugal

Oh Portugal, you gorgeous thang! 6 and a half weeks wizzed by way too fast. We got a bla bla car  that picked us up in France and dropped us off in Lisbon to pick up our campervan at the start of August! **Sorry for the late post! It’s been ready to go for 2 weeks but we haven’t had decent wifi to upload all the pics, it should’ve been ready yesterday and then I went and smashed my head and spent the afternoon at the hospital. Yay. I’m all good, terrifying ordeal, couple of stitches, few nasty bruises but it could’ve been much worse!**

We hired the camper for 5 nights and headed straight to Peniche and set up camp here for the night. SO picturesque. To all the surfers out there this area is a pretty well known spot, supertubos near by is where the WSL is held each year. We went for a surf a little further north and then again just below where we camped on our first night. The roads are SO narrow and oh my god so nerve racking to drive through in a wide camper! But we came through unscathed (thankgod). Dan is super comfortable driving on the wrong side of the road now 😉 so at least the driving part was easy 😛

We then spent a few days heading north and stopping through heaps of little towns and then on to Nazare, the spot famous for the biggest surfed wave in the world,the swell was around 10ft when we were there and it looked tiny, would be so crazy seeing it huge! So many cool towns to visit and so little time! We had avoid tolls on the GPS (the amount of tolls along the highways here is NUTS) and it took us through the most quaint, random places!

 Then headed back to Supertubos and spent 2 nights camping on the beach here- so peaceful. Unfortunately there was no swell so only went for a handful of surfs but I’m sure we’ll be back! It was pretty expensive hiring the camper as it was super high peak season (yep that’s actually what it’s called) but it’s something we both wanted to do and we thought it was well worth the money 🙂 You’re allowed to free camp anywhere here, so freakin cool.

 We spent our last night inland at Sintra, a beautiful town in the mountains with the famous inverted tower (well), spent a few hours wandering about the gardens and through the underground passageways before heading back to Lisbon to drop off the camper. Again blabla car to the rescue, we got a ride back to the coast- Ericeira for 2 Euro!! Spent the next 5 days in the little ol fishing village of Ericeira.

Ericeira deserves its own paragraph; it’s quite possibly our favourite spot so far! Would love to come back and spend a good few months here. We stayed through air bnb in a really lovely house right next to the ocean, walking distance to everything. So perfect. Went surfing a few times but again not too much swell at this time of year! The amount of surf spots here is insane, something for everyone and somewhere would be working if another isn’t. There are cool markets with nick nacks and such which again tested my willpower, and a cute main square. I have a rule, if I want to buy something I have to leave something of mine behind. I don’t have enough room in my backpack for extra/unnecessary things (we share 1 backpack!)

From here we got a bus to Lisbon and then a ride (again through blabla car) to Vilamoura in the Algarve- our home for the next month! This is quite easily the most luxury hostel you will ever see. It also has reallllly nice suite rooms, you can check the place out here -> If Vilamoura. They have 2 tennis courts so got to play a fair bit of tennis!

The highlight of this leg of the adventure definitely has to be seeing Big Tone and Caitlin!!! They flew in the day after we arrived! On Tonys’ bday too, so we organised a few little treats in wine form and spent the next 4 days having a grand ol time! We didn’t really know the must do things of the area so it was fun getting to know the place with them! We did a grotto boat tour and since this is Portugal and you can basically do what you want we took an esky full of beers onto the boat and sat on the roof soaking in the sights. Tough life.

We also spent a day exploring Lagos and Amado and caught up with Nadine and Nicki and their mum who have been in Europe for well over a year now! Such a fun day, thanks for the laughs 🙂

 The Algarve is well known for it’s golf courses and it’s crazy how many there are in such a small area, just near our place there are 7?! Tony and Dan got a game in and Caitlin and I went down the road to a restaurant/café where you can have a drink or meal and use their pool. Perfecto afternoon! Was SO good seeing a familiar face on the road, we LOVEDDD seeing you guys! Thanks for including Portugal on your Europe trip! And perhaps we ate a few too many (is that even possible?) Pastel de natas, a delicious Portuguese delight.

The owners Fabio and Ivonne are quite possibly the coolest, laid back hotel owners ever and they have the cutest little girl Francisca, such a happy bub! The permanent staff Patricia and Maria were soo fun to work with too and of course the other workawayers and guests who made it such a memorable time! We miss you all heaps!!! Patricia how do we not have a photo together?! We also had a few team dinners, Fabio supplied the fine Portuguese wine and we took turns cooking 🙂 The work was super chilled, 2 days off a week and basically running reception/helping with guests needs and breakfast but I don’t think you could really call it ‘work’!!

We hired a car twice and the first time went to Tavira Island for a surf. Return on the boat was like $1.50, really cool place! Also went to Fiesa too- ginormous sand sculptures and this year the theme was music. A good way to spend a morning wandering through and admiring the talented artists!

The second time we hired a car and went to Benagil beach and swam around the corner to the famous cave. A boat trip is like 25 euro each, they take you to a few caves and it’s around an hour long, according to the boat salesman you aren’t allowed to swim there but you could see people trickling around the corner so we swam too! SO SO cool. And once the boat loads left there were only a few of us on the beach in the cave 🙂 Water was chilly (of course) but well worth the swim. From here we headed to the West coast to a beautiful bay called Arrifana, Dan surfed here a few times with Fabio. Soaked up the afternoon rays here then headed into Lagos for the evening to stroll through the streets/markets and had dinner 🙂 Such a magical day.

 The Algarve is such a beautiful spot. It’s like you’ve changed countries when going from North to South Portugal. We also cycled to Albufeira for the day, it was about a 30km round trip bike ride but worth it! We found a little beach with these massive caves/rock pools and swam through them then hung out at the beach.

An absolute gem of a country, mega friendly people and even though the water is FREEEEZING I think we could spend a longgggg time here! So sad leaving but we had already committed to Morocco. Definitely coming back here! Muito obrigado! xxx

 

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