Before we tell our story here, here is the resolution of how it turned out with the demolished rental car. The day of return came, we were excited.
How exactly would we look, did we have correctly understood the passage with the 1,200€ excess?
We parked the car backwards, behind us a wall. ;-). A nice guy came, we thanked for the bring-service and praised the car over the clover. Always hoping that if the damage has to be paid for by us, then maybe it won’t be soooo expensive, we are two very nice. Well, he circled the car, clarified by phone if we had really already paid and then said, all good, nice day still and book it again with us.
The stones that fell from our hearts could be heard and the relief rose in our face as soon as he left the parking lot by car. BÄM! That is how it should be.
It was time to leave Salema, it went over the emergency exit again and we knew now the time in the Algarve is ending. So much emotional ups and downs and such wonderful moments that more than outweighed all the heavier moments. Our goal was to find a place where we can feel at home and make excursions. It stuck with it, it wasn’t easy. The enchanting place Zambujeira do Mar was recommended to us, we left the campsite after a round. But then we found in the middle of fields, close to the coast a small place which, again the previous short call was worth gold, still had a place for us. 500 meters to the sea, a small village close to the bike and also Zambujeira do Mar was a great bike tour away, not quite perfect but here we can arrive a few days.
From here we made various excursions. If we had saved Odeceixe up to this place despite all the recommendations, we decided to make our way back there. The place is located on a small mountain and is great to represent the legs. So we parked at the bottom of the river and enjoyed the ambience and strolled up the mountain, because at the top there is a windmill which is actually still in operation and can be visited. From there you can see the river valley of the Ribeira de Seixe. This flows directly into the sea and thus you have the opportunity to enjoy either the tranquility on, in and on the river or the hustle and bustle on the beach with sea and surfers. We decided on a parking lot by the river overlooking the beach and the sea. We drank a coffee, sat in the deckchair and learned that the herbs for the Gin Sul (made in the Altonaer-Spirituosen-Manufaktur) came from this region. A bit of home though so far gone.
The biggest change brought the weather at this place, fog, clouds and even cool evenings, we hadn’t had that for months, at least we couldn’t and didn’t want to remember. But during the day the sun was shining and we explored the area by bike. First it went downhill and then of course uphill towards Zambujeira do Mar. Only the view you have from this direction to the beach was again impressive. There were slate cliffs on one side and the already known red-and-white cliffs on the other. Quickly parked the bikes and off we went. It was the first beach where we found signs pointing out the strong danger of the currents. The bathing areas should not be left and the whistles of the lifeguards sound over the beach. We broke away from the great sight and strolled high into the center. It was a well-known sight of the white houses on narrow streets and yet this sight gave us a calm, even in the hustle and bustle. A life-affirming and positive feeling.
If you stay on top of the cliffs, you can go again a part of the fishing path, we went to Praia da Baia da Arquinha. We had already made part of this route further south and mentioned this briefly in the article “The Algarve“. Any Portuguese or anyone who hasn’t seen it live will think, ok, still a bay, another cliff. But we can promise you to take a walk there in the late afternoon, when the light changes, just the screaming of the seagulls and the sounds of the surf in our ears, it made us happy.
We have been given a very nice Portugal book for this trip and have already implemented some tips from it, partly partly planned by chance. Now there was the tip to try this fish restaurant in Brejao. Perfect, 10 minutes by bike from us and we stood in front of a restaurant with 4 tables on the street and 4 tables inside. Fully occupied except for one last table where only one chair was missing. Is it English that you speak here? Misrepresentation, so there was a mixture of hands and feet, Spanish and English and we had a 2nd chair and a place. The menu consists of 2 fish dishes, which is then presented at the table completely raw and you choose one and wait. It was really great, a mid-range experience in a place we might not have found.
Already in Brejao there are facade paintings of the “Queen of Fado” Amélia Rodriguez and not far away there is a concern right on the cliff above the beach where Amalia has stayed again and again. There is also a small waterfall on this beach and legend has it that Amélia is said to have learned to swim on this beach. The access to the beach leads through a small jungle, the path so narrow that one side has to wait for oncoming traffic. Somewhere under one you can hear a stream rushing and then this jungle opens and you look at the sea and the beach and a few steps to the left and you stand directly above the waterfall. Certainly a great beach to spend the day, we only gave him a trip but a little insider tip for the next time.
On our last evening we met Ricardo and his children. They have built an old van and since it does not have a permanent place of work, they are here and tomorrow in the summer. He was looking for help to charge his battery and we talked about it, his children would love our van, they wouldn’t have seen such a big one. Less than 5 minutes later we sat in front of his van, he got a card out, showed us spots for windsurfing, called a windsurfing school, painted us our own map with the “important” places and gave us his business card, whatever problem we had, we could call him. And again someone, simply there, without prejudice, without hesitation, again one of those special moments of this journey.
As in Spain, we wanted to explore the interior of Portugal. You can’t always just see the sea and the beach and cliffs, ok, we could, but we’ve read so much great things about the country, it was time to see some of it.
Evora we had planned first and there was also a very nice campsite nearby. So, the Navi programmed and let’s go. Passing the westernmost point of Europe, the “Farol Cabo Sardao”. But what was it? It rained the moment we left the last place. It was not far to the lighthouse and when we got there it was a bit windy, grey and foggy, but dry. Wow, again so different from anything before. And be it simply the mood, which is of course very determined by the weather, in such moments. Then, a familiar sound, bell ringing. As soon as we turned around, we heard them, a huge herd of goats making their way across the cliffs. Even when describing this scene, a smile scurries over our faces, as with so many moments.
Then it was to continue, a good 3 hours over the national roads were in front of us. Through plantations with thousands and thousands of cork oaks, we ended up in a place in the middle of just such a plantation. A friendly Dutchman welcomed us in German and we felt comfortable here quite quickly. We moved into a place in the middle of a huge tree, with a view to, well, you guessed it, cork oaks. In the meantime, after all this time, we have a really good routine when arriving. For the first time cable drum out, get electricity, so that the cooling box gets juice again. We could also draw electricity while driving over the solar panel, but the cable for it has been smoked off, so it has become all the more important lately to get power back quickly for the cooling box.
Next, open the windows, “clean up” the bathroom and kitchen, get chairs and table out, go out the awning and maybe clear out the bikes. Then it’s “Arrival”! Less than 20 minutes later and we sit in front of the thick.
For a few days now, the “Dicke” has been a little bit of a worry. When braking and sometimes just driving, a groaning and grinding noise that made us feel uneasy. All initiative to remove flying rust when driving with a grinding brake unfortunately did not produce a longer-term result. Somehow it was clear that help had to come, so the campsite owner was asked, of course the weekend was just around the corner, but he wanted to help. Well, until then, spent time at the pool, finally played table tennis again, made sports and prepared the next visit to a small town. Yes, with the car, everything worked, just didn’t sound so good.
The next morning we wanted to see the city of Evora. We briefly packed the thick and drove about 30 minutes to the city. It is the capital of the south-central region of Alentejo in Portugal, with many historic buildings. We had heard in particular about the Capella dos Ossos. A chapel decorated with skeletons, the Bone Chapel. We went there as, almost, first. First it was time to have a small breakfast, because at daytime temperatures around 30 degrees, we started early in the day to be in the strongest heat at least on the way back, if not back.
Corona-related, only 10 people were allowed in the chapel, so we waited patiently for access. The wait, however, was very worthwhile, albeit in a strangely impressive way. The chapel received us with the inscription: “We, the bones that lie here, are waiting for yours.” And then it’s hard to believe. The entire walls of the chapel are “decorated” with real human skulls and bones. An unreal and macabre sight. They are the bones of more than 1000 monks from the Carmelite Order, and the chapel was consecrated in 1816.
We were impressed to the Cathedral of Evora. From the tower you have a fantastic view over the city and feel transported back to long gone times. A bit of Notre Dame feeling in small. You can walk up to the roof through a narrow tower, on an even narrower spiral staircase that one hopes all the time that no one comes to meet you, in the knowledge who is up here, must also come down here again. The view is beautiful and on the roof of a cathedral you are not daily. Then we went into the garden or climbed into the roof in a certain form. One of us is not good at going down these narrow stairs without railings, but if you want to feel like a female prince, you have to go through it. 🙂
And then, if you think what a city, you come on the way back to dicken, near the university of the city, past a Roman temple. So well preserved that you really feel almost like in ancient Rome. Full of these many sometimes unbelievable impressions, we went back to our cork oaks.
The “Dicke” still did not sound good, as well, still no workshop visit in sight. The Dutchman had something for Tuesday, it was Friday. Oh man, we didn’t really want to stay here for several days, but now we felt the priority now had to be in the workshop. Then we came up with the idea of the day, we are in the ADAC. Zack, barely pronounced, called and that same evening a fitter came. Unfortunately, he thought he should change a flat tire!!!
Well, that’s probably the case if in the chain of information something falls by the wayside, even through small language barriers. We stayed like this, we call the ADAC again and ask for help in the workshop search. But was nothing before Monday. Well, that was the plan now. But what to do until then?
A look at our great Portugal book provided a remedy. A good 1.5 hours drive towards the Spanish border is the village of Monsaraz. And right at Monsaraz there is an artificial reservoir with sandy beach and water sports facilities. Said, done, we went there. The hamlet has fallen out of time, a small castle, a city wall, a knight in full outfit would meet you, one would not be surprised.
From up there you can already see a part of the huge lake and that’s why we immediately made our way down there. As almost everywhere, it was not overcrowded despite very summery temperatures, we took a coffee and a shade place and looked around. And then it was clear, we borrow SUP boards and paddle a little bit.
The info “watch out for the wind” could have been a bit more detailed. In the lake there are small islands and if you pass them, you feel very exposed to the wind. So better in kneeling back to the shore. But it was also a great feat. Everyone on his board, next to each other, in bright sunshine, perfect! Monsaraz as such, just like the lake, worth a trip.
Just in time Monday at 9 o’clock the ADAC called. The first info we got was that there would be an appointment in about 3 weeks.
After making it very clear that we had time, but then not so much, there was an appointment in the late afternoon of the same day two hours later. Go! And at sunset we drove with the “Dicken” again through the cork oak plantations, with new brakes and without disturbing soundscapes. Nothing stood in the way of the onward journey.
Before we left, we got to know our tent neighbors. Toby, Scottish, and Deborah, South African with her children. It was a very short get to know but also here we could experience a hospitality that is unparalleled. There was a direct invitation to come by, they would be back home in a good week.
Very impressed we exchanged the numbers.