Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Carol's Place

Carol's place is a beautifully renovated, traditional Portuguese home with 12 acres of land including meadows, forest and a lake. We've just finished our 2 week stint but could have easily stayed a lot longer – it's such a relaxed and happy place. There was always things to do but also plenty of time to relax, chat, swim in the lake, drink wine, read books, watch films and play games so it's felt much more like a holiday than 'work'.

We thought the food couldn't get any better after the last place but were wrong, turns out Carol used to be a chef so each meal was absolutely delicious and there was yet another endless supply of home-made chutney to keep John happy. He also got to make is own peanut butter which he was very chuffed with! As well as us and Carol, there was also the lovely Julien, Chelsea and Jo, who it turns out was also from Manchester and used to live about 2 minutes from our old house in Chorlton! Small world.

We arrived at the perfect time as the local village of Santa Clara (10km away) was holding it's annual festival, and what a bizarre but very entertaining treat! The whole village seemed to turn out for the evening dance, possibly because they heard that John would be joining the folk dancers on stage for the last number – amazing! His reputation was apparent when locals were coming up to him the next day to shake his hand and impersonate his moves. The Portuguese seem to take their dances seriously so looked on with bemusement as we tried to dance along to the accordion player, I don't think we were quite up to their standards but definitely had fun trying :-) Both days we just parked up and slept in the village car park – turns out its very easy to camp where we like in Portugal which makes a very refreshing change!

Last weekend we went 'wild camping' on the west coast and found an amazing spot on top of the dunes right above a gorgeous beach. Having not seen another VW for what feels like months, we ended up sleeping opposite another T25, half red half yellow, so Roo felt amongst family again. The west coast was beautiful, very ragged with lots of cliffs and rocks but also long sandy beaches and great waves (if only either of us knew how to surf). We arrived back in Santa Clara to yet another party, this time for Tomate's birthday which we celebrated outdoors at the bottom of the dam. It was great to hang out with our local friends again and lots of games and drinking ensued.

Unfortunately our stay in this beautiful part of the world has come to an end, but I don't doubt that we'll be back again at some point. We've learnt so much, made new friends and had a great time. Now onto new adventures – heading east again and back into Spain to meet up with my wonderful friend Angela for a camping trip on the south coast.  Adeus!x
p.s will take us a few more days to upload our photos but our flickr page (link on the right) will be up to date soon!x

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