‘Ok Helga, wir mussen form ein pincer movement hier und hier. Zat vay ve vill headen off ze Englische motorhomenkampers before zey kann reach ze waschingmaschinen.’
I don’t think I’ve seen Gill that furious since, well… I don’t know when. We planned to do an early wash today, then hang it all out in the warm breeze before we went off on the bicycles. There are three washing machines here at the Motorhome Service Park in Praia da Falésia, but Helga and Heidi decided that today they were going to monopolise all of them with bag after bag of dirty clothes. If a machine is in use, the convention everywhere else we’ve been is to place your bag of washing by the machine. The next user places their bag behind yours and so on. You then check back every so often and as soon as the machine is free, the next bag goes in. In the UK we call this “queueing” – a concept clearly not understood by these Germans who seemed to want to invade and take over the laundry – oh hang on, that has a familiar ring to it…
I had to calm Gill down with a nice strong cup of tea, a rub down with a Union Jack towel and several choruses of Rule Britannia before we could carry on with our day.
Praia da Falésia is an hour’s run along the coast from St Luzia. We’d heard from other travellers about a new-ish, purpose-built motorhome-only site near Albufeira so we thought we’d give it a try. It’s a good find. Immaculately clean and tidy with a shiny new service point and a couple of coin operated showers. Oh yes, and those three German-only washing machines. The prices are reasonable too, with discounts for longer stays. We paid €18 for two nights which includes electricity. Well, I say including electricity; we had to lay our cable downhill to help it flow as it’s only six amp. Switching on a second light was enough to cause it to trip.
When Gill had finally calmed down we jumped aboard the bikes and set off into Albufeira. We didn’t go all the way to the centre; a left turn off the main road had us whizzing downhill to a little bay with cafés and restaurants. As it was still early we only had a quick coffee and a stroll along the beach. There were plenty of sunbathers and swimmers there, even in November so we jealously decided that we’d make the most of our own beach when we got back to Falésia. We cycled home and did exactly that, pausing only for a spot of lunch and a read outside the Vincinator first. Mum always said you mustn’t swim for an hour after a meal or you’ll get cramp and drown and your flesh will rot, the worms will eat your eyes and your bones will be pounded to dust by the waves. Or something like that anyway, so we waited an extra fifteen minutes just to be sure.
The beach (or praia as we say in Portuguese) at Falésia is astonishing. Gently shelving out to sea, it’s kind to swimmers who like to take their time getting used to the cold. Its most amazing feature becomes apparent when you’re in the waves and turn to look back to shore. The closest thing I can think of to describe it is that it reminded us of Alum Rock on the Isle of Wight. The cliffs are comprised of layer upon layer of different coloured sandstone, from orangey-browns to gold, yellow and almost-white rock reflecting the sun. In the orange glow of the sunset they’re absolutely beautiful. And I’ve just realised that both times we went to the beach I didn’t take my phone so I have no pics!! I’ll try for you tomorrow if we stay, promise. The water here is a little colder (if that’s possible) than Isla Cristina as we’re moving closer to the true Atlantic Ocean. I suspect we won’t be doing any swimming once we’ve rounded the south-west tip of Portugal and start heading north.
This evening we’re trying to make our minds up whether to move on (we’ve heard of a place near Portimão which is close to a number of fish restaurants, yum!) or to stay another day. We never did get the washing done and we can’t let the bloody Germans win now can we? We’ll let you know soon how it pans out…