This was a good day to visit Portimao (Port-ee-mau). From the highway, it looks huge, compared to some of the other towns nearby. Maybe it is because everything is painted white and it just glows! After parking the car in a free lot and paying an “attendant” $3 EU to watch the car, we had breakfast at about the only place open. It was near the marina, convenient, and obviously very popular because it was packed.
Afterward, we walked along the marina, where kiosks were trying to get people to go out on the boat trips to see the caves and grottos. Since we did that in Albufeira, we kept on walking. Besides, we had lunch plans with former Ajijic friends who now live in the Algarve and only had a couple of hours to kill.
At the end of the marina, there was a sign that we could go out on a boat for an hour to see more of the town. Pedro, our guide and “captain” was a sweetheart and showed us the now-empty monastery, a castle formerly owned by a princess with its own beach, called the Princess Beach (duh!).
There was another castle that is now owned by a billionaire (don’t know from where) but this huge residence has hosted members of the English royal family, monarchs, and heads of state from various European countries. when the castle is occupied, their flag is flying. (You can see the flagpole if you look closely.) I thought this would be a perfect invitation to robbers, knowing whether someone was at home to rob the place! Pedro got a kick out of that.
The Arade River divides Portimao from Ferragudo, a small town where most of the fishermen live. It isn’t a tourist area and they unload and process their sardine haul there. They go out around 2:00 AM to begin fishing, returning in the early afternoon. This will end soon, as they are near their quota of fish. They adhere to the rules so they don’t overfish.
Most of the buildings on the Portimao side of the river near the harbor are brand new. There are lots of condos and high rise buildings. In the closed-in marina, there were huge yachts and a vintage four-mast schooner that still operates, although mainly for special events. The pirate ship that we saw earlier and takes people to see the caves was also in the marina area. We were able to see it close up. No pirates that we could see!
If you notice the sea wall in front of the condos and high rise buildings, there is a black line. That marks how much higher the water is at high tide. We were there at low tide and the difference is three meters or about ten feet.
We also saw a small sailboat called “Helena” London. Interestingly, we saw a yacht in Marbella, Spain called “Helena” also from London. Obviously, I am very popular or I have a secret stash of boats all around Europe.
After our one hour with Pedro, we used the GPS to find Deborah and Paul Kloegman’s house in Silves (Sil-vesh) about 15 minutes away. They lived in Ajijic for several years and, among other things, were very involved in our local theater. Paul directed and acted and Deborah, a former Canadian Supreme Court judge, is an amazing actor and was in plays at our local theater in Ajijic.
They travel quite a bit from their base and hope to be back in Mexico again next year (with Paul possibly directing another play). Lunch was grilled sausages, hamburgers, a delicious salad and pastel de nata for dessert. We had a very enjoyable time with them.
We made our way back to our villa room and I tried to get caught up with my blog, while Jim relaxed. Since we were pretty full from lunch, dinner time came and went without a meal. I remembered that we had two eggs and some cheese left from our supermarket shopping earlier in the week. So, how do you cook the egg without a stove? Easy! You put the egg in a coffee cup and add boiling water from the hot pot. I changed the water several times to see if I could soft or hard boil the egg. Finally, it was time… I cut open the shell and the yolk was hard, while the white was runny! Whaaaat? Oh well, we ate it anyway. Obviously, I was never a Girl Scout or went camping!
Tomorrow, we leave Portugal after two and a half weeks of travel. Our flight isn’t until 4:45 PM but we will drive up to Lisbon from the Algarve at 10:00 AM, stopping for breakfast along the way. It should be an easy trip back, going from Lisbon to Mexico City, then Guadalajara.