“Just a cloudy day in Paradise”

(Andy Foskett; 2019)

Wednesday 8th May – Day 1

Porto Covo is the furthest south we are going to travel on this trip, we are only 37° away from the equator. This morning it doesn’t feel very tropical my dog walk along the coastal footpath is in low, grey cloud only improved by the sight and sound of the waves crashing on the rocks. The sea is still quite rough, and this coast is like a smaller scale version of the coast further south towards Cape Sao Vincente, steep cliffs and lots of little sandy coves. The tide has only just turned so there is not yet enough sand for Alf and me to walk on. It is a wonderful feeling to be walking with Alf here as, thanks to Dick and Betty Burman, I have walked a lot on cliff paths in Portugal, but never with Alf. He seems to like it too.

One man and his dog, walking in Portugal

After Andy and Lesley have finished their run and yoga session, we take a stroll to an old fort we had seen further down the coast. As we get to the small fishing port on the edge of the village of Porto Covo the drizzle is thickening, and we stop for a ‘map chat’ and discuss whether to continue or retreat to the warmth of a café or the campervans. Bravely we decide to press on, probably heartened by my assertion that it is only an hour to the fort, and we will be back by 1.00pm. Even the weather cheers up at the sight of our pluckiness and thanks to many, many stops to admire and take photos of the flowers en route we arrive at the café in the shadow of the fort two and a half hours later!

You can’t see the drizzle!

It turns out that there are two forts, one on the coast and another on a small island just off the shore. Both were built at the same time in the 16thCentury to protect the local people from pirates and to encourage fishing. Once the forts were joined by a causeway that has long since been washed away.

The fort was nothing special, but the food in the café smelt delicious and the staff were very pleased to see us and gave us a warm welcome. It was now well past my lunchtime, so bring on the menu!

Andy’s hopes for tapas were not realized however he was more than happy with his octopus salad and grilled squid to share with Les. Wendy and I had fried squid, cod fish cakes and salad. 

Even though we had exhaustively catalogued pictorially all the coastal flora of western Atlantic seaboard on our way out; on the way back the tide was well in and feeling frisky, so we had lots of stops, this time for photos of waves crashing on the rocks. My camera has a magical calming effect on the sea. Every time I switch it on, the waves suddenly find places to hide.

Wendy and Lesley rewarded their efforts with a posh icecream from the ‘gelato buffet’ in the square which rounded off an unexpectedly good day. 

All that was left to do was for Rio to test the dog showers. Yes, Dog Showers!

Costo do Vizir is the smartest site we have stayed at so far. It has been totally refurbished over the winter. It has very posh shower and toilet blocks (including toilet seat sanitisers), communal barbeque areas including covered food preparation areas with sinks, and showers for dogs. See below… 

Rio is smiling on the inside too!

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