Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Not a cloud in the sky since my last post and apart from a refreshing and much needed sea breeze in an afternoon, the weather is bloody hot. Mind you, that's what we paid for so no complaints. The village of Alvor on the Algarve, some ten minutes easy walk from the hotel along a road with no footpath is pleasant, hilly, narrow streeted place and not a great deal of it's own character left I suspect. Across the extensive harbour lake there is a backdrop of distant mountains, hazy and lacking in detail.

Houses are square, painted in bright pastel colours usually with a pan tiled orange roof. Streets are cobbled and footpaths badly maintained and uneven. Holiday homes outside of the immediate village centre are the order of the day and they too are non-descript and angular. What is a lovely touch however is the amount of greenery and flowering shrubs in every conceivable colour all over the place. Grape vines are a common sight on walls and bird life is plentiful and varied.

The whole place looks relatively modern and full of roadside cafes. On the day of our visit, Portugal were playing their World Cup opener and so the place was fairly quite with little traffic and loud television commentary coming from the cafes playing to nervous audiences of locals.

The place has a reputation for seafood and every restaurant and cafe advertises it. The hotel has had some pretty bland offerings, tuna and swordfish among the menu, but it's all much of a muchness being similar in texture and taste. We may try a cafe for a seafood lunch before we leave.

The village has an extensive lake-like harbour and fishing as well as leisure boats a-plenty. Although there are few boats on the high sea during the day save for the odd power boat and a two masted schooner that looks like a pirate ship on trips around the harbour, it seems most of the fishing is done after dark with lots of ships lights bobbing about throughout the night. I have taken my drawing materials and pastels, but haven't done much except practise my psychic face drawings, but I've done a pencil drawing of the coastline to the west. The sea, close to, is clean and has dozens of shades of greens and blues from the pale translucence of the shoreline to the deeper blue some ten yards from the shore where the beach drops away alarmingly from a shelf into what looks like much deeper water. I could never recreate the scene with any accuracy to capture the delight of nature.

Surprisingly, the beach is clean as a whistle. Unlike our own East Yorkshire coast with flotsam, jetsam, sea weed and shells, the beach at Alvor is just littered with shells of all kinds including large clam like shells, the kind my parents had as an ashtray fourty years ago, some five inches across. There are some rocks to the east of the beach and they are encrusted with shells from millenia ago, captured timelessly in the geological strata. Two hundred miles of Atlantic ocean before Morocco directly to the south appears to be a healthy bit of sea hence the volume of food available on the ocean floor.

South Africa are playing Uruguay and it's half time with the hosts 1 - 0 down, so as my other half is sewing her cross-stitch (is that one word or two?) I am going to settle down to watch the second half. I've missed the shock of the day with Spain going down 1 - 0 to Switzerland which has gone down well here - no surprises.

Chat soon



  1. Ooh it sounds lovely, your very descriptive writing make me want to visit there.

  2. Hi Auntiegwen - I don't do this very often, but I would absolutely recommend it - Hotel Dom Joao - my guess is that there is nothing you wouldn't like about the hotel and the area. In fact this is the only hotel I've been to for years where there is no fghting for sun loungers, there is always plenty spare and most people don't arrive to the pool until after 10 am anyway.

  3. I hope we're going to get pictures ...

  4. Hi Diane - taken a few piccies, hope they are ok, I've tried to take a few which are not the standard holiday snaps, will post next week.