I’ve been sat on a Jet 2 Boeing – 737, travelling through the sky blue from Manchester Airport to Portugal’s Faro Airport. A Four o clock start meant i had a few cat naps throughout the journey, spaced out by munches of chicken sandwiches along the way.
Arriving at Faro airport, we were transferred to the airport via coach which stopped at various different hotels along the way. Mum was really happy with her choice of hotel.
We have a lovely view with lots of tall pine trees surrounding the pools on the site. There’s lots of cool breezes coming off the sea. We have a balcony view, and its lovely watching the palm trees lining the swimming pools.
Sao Rafael, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
26th September 2017
a trip around the bay
This morning, i went with Mum and dad down to the beach by the hotel. The weather was perfect, and after a short(ish) walk, the view was wonderful with some lovely little coves. The pathway was a little steep, but the sand on the beach below was really soft, although i didnt sink my toes in it.
Instead, i went beachcombing and used my trusty little camera to record what i found. The final few shots reminded me of my time in Oludeniz in Turkey, The difference? the shape of the sea in the cove.
Upon returning to the San rafael, i enjoyed a plate of pork and fish before returning to the hotel room and enjoyed the view, the birds flying past the window on a regular occurance. They flew tween palm and pool, and the chirping appears to have stopped for the night, as has the dive bombing – which is most entertaining coming from our feathered friends.
Food hasn’t been bad so far, though i had to have the hot dishes pointed out to me (DOH!). Plenty of healthy salads, mediterranean favourites, meats, fish and the squarest chips you’ve ever seen (i had mistook them for croutons!)
Definate italian theme here – the chips go nice with the spaghetti sauce!
Sun down – drinks at the hotel bar and a spot of entertainment (not provided by those who provided it at lunch!!!)
Sao Rafael, Albufeira, Portugal
27th September 2017
A late night under the stars, led to a late morning today. Didn’t miss breakfast though (Hee Hee!)…which seeing as we’re in Portugal was very tropical. Pinapple juice, a fresh fruit combo of Pineapple and Mango and a place of portugese sausage and egg.
As i write, preparations are underway for a trip into Albufeira (other plans permitting). Its all down to the weather behaving, and its been a bit deceptive at present. There’s no apparent changes from yesterday, the portugese weatherman concurs with her english counterpart on BBC world news, and the resident birds are twittering and chirping quite happily. There is however one solitary palm swaying away in an apparent breeze. It hasn’t stopped the birds creating ripples in the hotel pools
Algarve – An acrostic
written at the Nau Hotel, Sao Rafael, Albufeira, Portugal
As the sun comes up, the sky is
Lovely and Blue
Green palms rise high from the grass below
And white waves
Rise majestic from the blue of the atlantic
Very few fail to dismiss the view of glorious shorelines
Expect a sandcastle or two being built.
We took a mini bus into the main town of albufeira, hoping to catch the fishing boats in the harbour. It appeared they were out of town, but there was still one in the centre.
A lasting memory of the buildings by the beach at Albufeira ? A rainbow of colours.
Guia, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
28th September 2017
A trip to the zoo!
I’ve been to the zoo today.
Took an excursion away from the beach and the hotel pool with mum and dad to the Zoomarine centre at Guia , just outside of Albufeira.
We took in four parts of the park, and enjoyed seeing the sealions, the dolphins and the birds of prey.
The tropical birds section was a favourite, and i enjoyed watching the colourful macaws as they flew around their new home and performed tricks on their keepers
The dolphins were a delight – they did lots of tricks in their pool with the assistance of their trainers and we could see them swimming beyond the performance in a special part of their pool.
In the Aquarium , seahorses danced around angelfish whilst sharks and rays passed along by.
Favourite part of the day ? seeing the Owls and Macaws. Took lots of pics of the day.
Returned to the San Rafael to a reception committee – The local wildlife must have missed us – They’re flying over the hotel as i write 🙂
San Rafael, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
29th September 2017
Off on Assignment
Another Sunny day today
I woke up with a start, awoken by the resident cockerel to find the resident birds doing circuits around the palm tree sat outside the apartment.
Whilst mum and dad were sleeping away, i looked through the images i took on our day in Guia, and the trip to Zoomarine. I really like the pic i took of the Red Macaw.
Keeping my eyes open for some watery shots for BASICs Photography Class so i might just take a shot on the beach.
Breakfast for me consisted of an omelette and series of pastries, filled with fruit and chocolate (though not at the same time!). I have to be honest – i didnt fancy anything fried today (with the exception to the omelette)
Took another walk down to the beach – armed with my notebook , pen and camera
with the sun high in the sky, and the sand soft enough to sink your toes in – it gave me a glorious opportunity to take another watery pic of the sea.
Grilled Fish and a fresh salad for lunch – massive tomatoes cucumber and lettuce.
by Brian F Kirkham
Round concentric circles
In the hotel
Pool, starting small but
Proppelling fast outwards, growing
Little circles into big ones across the water
Expanding their circumference across the mass used for
Now somebody somewhere booked me, mum and dad into A la carte for the next few days (Don’t ask me!) so in the delightful surroundings of the a la carte restaurant we had a three course meal prepared by the chef – I had a carrot soup, pork and an orange pudding for mine.
San Rafael, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
30th September 2017
Late mornings and early evenings
An early morning lie in for me meant i missed breakfast. Probably a good thing, after the excesses of the night before. I decided to walk off the a la carte with a good walk around the hotel grounds. Fortunately for me, at the back of the grounds there was a little mini gym – a bit like the one at my local park. I gave my legs a run out on one of the mini cycles, before joining mum and dad by the pool.
I dont tan well – though it didnt stop some young female holiday makers giving me the eye as i turned a lovely shade of brown trout – thats pink with patches of brown. It must have been the inspiration for lunch as i enjoyed some Portugese fish stew for lunch. I returned to my sunlounger by the pool armed with my paperback by Tony Hawks (the UK Comedian, not the US Snowboarder) and my ipad. It must have done something – my pink bits had turned brown…..
In a change to my usual attack of the hotel restaurant, i had a plate of steak and chips for tea tonight Sans oignons and avec tomates. It set me up nicely for the proceedings in the hotel bar later on – an Elvis Tribute act….Cue the silent screams of horror, and a tactical retreat.
San Rafael, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
1st October 2017
Recovering from the night before
The elvis tribute act went on a bit last night. My ears are still stinging from the noise.
Nevertheless, waking up to the sound of the resident cockerel was enough to get me out of bed. It might sound repetitive but We’ve been really lucky with the weather. More blue skies. the cure for my ringing ears was instantaneous – two shots of hot chocolate from the hotel’s coffee machine. Mum and dad joined me for breakfast – a full english sans the onions and mushrooms but avec chorizo and hash browns – the tater seemed to lessen the spice in the portueguese sausage.
An all yellow fresh fruit combo of Banana, Pineapple and Mango aided the digestion
With all that food consumed , i decided to attack it by taking my camera down the road to San Rafael Beach and do a spot of Virtual Beachcombing. The Atlantic waters heading into the cove must have heard my thoughts, churning up some lovely coral pink shells and stones. I dont know what they were but they were a wonderful decoration for an impromptu sandcastle.
The sea said hello on a number of occasions, inviting me to sink my feet below the waterline. And Lo and behold – there are FISH! (yes, real fish) swimming in the waters around San Rafael. The fish in question were moving quite fast, before moving round in a figure of eight around my legs. I think they were more frightened of me than i was of them …. or it could have been the seagulls
Pork in a Hoisin style glaze wi veg for Lunch, followed by a piece of flan. Worked that off back at the beach. Didn’t want to be late for the latest episode of the A la carte adventure so we returned to the apartment to watch a film. Italian night, was delicious – the Lasagna was lovely.
San Rafael, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
2nd October 2017
Another day relaxing in the portuguese sunshine.
Really enjoying the impromptu birdwatching from apartment balcony. Mum has announced we’re off on another trip tomorrow, so today is being spent by the pool or the balcony armed with my book, notebook and pen…the brown trout pink is spreading
Silves and Lagos, Algarve, Portugal
3rd October 2017
An early start and breakfast today as we boarded a coach, visiting the delights of Historic algarve today. Joining guests from other hotels, we were introduced to all the historical sites the area had to offer. This included the end of the world (i’m not kidding!) and the old sea fort by the marina – complete with its guns
Old met new as mariners yachts met up with the old fort on land.
Standing by the coast edge you could see the deep blue colour of the Ocean in front of you. The algarve had been entitled “the end of the world” because according to the tale the africas and beyond hadn’t been discovered when it had been given that title, and thats why its still known as “the end of the world” today
The church at Silves was adorned in grandiose decoration. Because its still considered a church / place of worship i decided to stick to the exterior of the building for taking photographs. Nevertheless i enjoyed my visit here.
Sweet and sour Pork for Tea tonight from the restaurant (with fried rice). Most enjoyable went back for seconds.
Entertainment is getting better, but i’d much read a book.
San Rafael, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
4th October 2017
Woke up with the cockerel again…Mum and dad are sound asleep as i write this. I’m flicking through the images on my camera, reflecting on my time in the harbour while they are dozing away. I dont think we’ve had any bad weather this holiday, cool breeze a change from the previous mornings hot temperatures. I can’t call the wisps in the air “Clouds”, there isn’t a true cloud in the sky. Saw the first bees in the garden yesterday
I headed for breakfast and enjoyed an omelette and a couple of apple pastries with a glass of orange juice. I would describe the omelette as “Deep and crispy”as it could have been mistaken for a pizza without the tomato sauce, but the flavours of Ham and roasted pepper shone throughout – so i managed to eat most of it. The apple pastries have been manna from heaven – pleasant escape from the bacon grill at breakfast. I happily returned for “seconds” to have with my Hot Chocolate
Apple pastries ? Hot Chocolate ? Heaven help me, i think i’m turning continental.
Some of the characters i’ve seen and met during these past few days have really made me re-evaluate the whole point of a holiday. I will admit…there is the attraction of sitting with a bucket of balls and a five iron for about an hour as you whack it as far as you possibly can. Obsess about this though – and you have a problem…and it isn’t the sport that’s the problem – its the people playing it
Then you have the entourage of these individuals – if its not the golf wives trying to ease the strains of their husbands game at dinner time – its their antics by the pool or in the hotel..with their kiddies press-ganged into the pool / tennis because they’re aiming for their little starlet in being the next rebecca adlington , joanna konta, or (god help us) leona lewis.
Im grateful Simon Cowell is entranched in the states and not the algarve right now as there are some who would be mimicking the wildlife just to get an audience.
I was reading my travelog by tony hawks as the look at me crowd continued their latest performance.
Returned to the apartment to find the local birdlife were also doing their best to impress – a team from SKY TV are no doubt on their way to document the behaviour of the nesting locals – with some new found starlet poached from BBCs Wildlife department doing their best to out do Sir David Attenborough, flogging their wares from Anchorage to Auckland.
Pasta and Fish for Lunch, followed by those fruit pastries. Nose back in book as my Tan / Sunburn develops. It’s not Sunburn – but neither is it a Tan (Yet)
Stretched my legs out on the outside gym at the back of the hotel. Only problem with those sunloungers – they do a wonderful job for your tan – but you’re as stiff as a board getting off the things. a turn of the peddles eased the stiffness.
San Rafael, Albufiera, Algarve Portugal
5th October 2017
Last Morning of the holiday, and an early morning start, as the coach that had dropped us off at the San Rafael arrived to take those all going back home off to Faro Airport.
As we got up early, we all managed to catch a glimpse of the morning sunrise – before a last holiday breakfast and boarding the coach
Going back the same way to Faro, i got to see the landscapes in the dawn as our fellow travellers were picked up. The changing sky made me happy, and sad at the same time as it went from Night blue to Red and then that light blue that had been there all through the holiday
Didnt have to worry about lunch – all that had been arranged at the start of the holiday. Pre booked by Mum. Pasta Bolognaise, Chocolate Sponge and a drink.
And as the portugese skies faded into the distance, i enjoyed a different view as the plane ascended above the clouds. The sky was as clear as anything.
The scene Blackpool promenade – a local fish and chip emporium
family of four – Mum,Dad and two boys eating , outside in the summer sun – what else but fish? – haddock and chips
the two lads are asked would they like an ice cream
they say yes – meanwhile in the distance a seagull is watching from a safe distance
One asks for Strawberry the other Vanilla – and the boys wait patiently for their ice creams to be delivered.
The Fish shops cat appears into the Blackpool sunshine, purring away in the hope for some scraps of fish. She follows the waitress, from just a few paces away, as the seagull makes its move. The seagull swoops in – and is stopped by the cat – just as the waitress delivers the ice creams
Chaos ensues, as the cat and seagull rumble for goodies under poor waitresses feet. The Ice Creams land off target and an odd plate of leftovers lands on the floor
Cue the owner – avec sweeping brush and an assistant with two more ice creams – on the house – Cut to a Cat with the spoils and the Seagull with the scraps.
Take up your brush
and paint the sky
a brilliant pastel blue.
Add in a warm yellow sun
and fluffy white clouds too,
add in a horizon – a building or two!
Colour your seas an aqua blue
and if you want , or if you wish
add some big silvery fish
On your shoreline add to reds
to the sandy rocks by the bed
Add a boat green that’s painted bright
and a lighthouse that’s painted white.
Not forgetting those men with the nets
wearing bright yellow – you cannot forget.
Shadows of seagulls, in the distance black,
as nets pull full nets to the harbour back.
Original Artwork by Author. I used the attached image for my inspiration for this challenge. I was once a crew member of the OYC vessel – “Greater Manchester Challenge” and the instruction to paint a visual picture inspired me to come up with this. Hope you enjoy the read.
If you could split your time evenly between two places, and two places only, which would these be?
Now – this is a toughie
You see , there’s a few places in Europe I’ve visited and I’ve enjoyed them equally. From the Hedonism of the Spanish Island of Eivissa (to use its proper title – Ibiza if you prefer the other) to the Moorish Delights of Oludeniz in Turkey.
However – If I had to – i’d be spending my time between Lancaster and Zakynthos Town…Right about now you’re probably asking Why?
Lancaster is the last City before the Lancashire border meets up with Cumbria and the Lake District – its home to some quite beautiful countryside and is quite picturesque in its own way with Forests and Parks, there’s also some brilliant history behind the City and has its own Castle….. If I wasn’t living in Manchester – I’d be there.
Zakynthos – A Greek Island, that has plenty of things going for it – Wonderful beaches, Great scenery, clear blue skies and Cuisine that is brilliant…the locals are warm and friendly, and its the combination of fine local food, wonderful tavernas and stunning landscapes that made me fall in love with the place…The Blue Flagged beaches aren’t half bad either.
Don’t pay for a pedicure – the fish in the sea will do that for you! 🙂
Then after playing on the beach – sit down and watch the sun setting – before heading off for your dinner – trust me, it’s well worth it.