Algarve – sublime or ridiculous.

Our first real stop was the lagoon just South of Faro/Olhao. Its a strange place, rather like a very large Newtown Creek with a city at the each end. It is our sort of place with very little paraphenalia of the tourist industry,  fishermen getting on with netting their Sardines and digging for clams, or filling up small boats with sand and making their way back to civilisation so deeply laden that we feared for their safety.

Bryony ordered a beach – and boy did we find one! First of all we landed on the Island of Culatra which was sheltering us from the Atlantic. It was midday and we picked our way through a deserted  village of frankly pretty run down fishing shacks. The only human we spotted (there were several  rather manky cats and sleepy dogs) was asleep under a large Sombrero.  It was hot and dry, dry, dry – and I kept glancing round expecting to see Clint Eastwood riding in with a steely glint in his eye and cheroot clamped… well you get the picture. In a little side creek was a collection of run down cruising boats that had obviously arrived several years ago and stayed forever. Out in the roadstead were a few more not quite so far down the same track – ie they were still at least afloat although it was obvious that they had no intention of leaving anytime soon (see , I am already sounding like Clint Eastwood!)

A bit further in, the dwellings became painted in gay Mediterranean pastels, and we  chanced apon a track (it was heaven – trudging through sand in the heat was making me jealous of the man in the Sombrero)  leading South over the dunes. And there it was – marked on the chart as Bella Vista  – the beach to bring gladness to Bryony’s heart, with a pleasing paucity of humanity and water turquoise and warm enough to thaw even my suspicions of the concept of “beach”!

The lagoon is populated by millions of fish – and I caught one measly sardine – but rowed around picking the brains of craftier mortals and now have the knowledge to do better – if not the time as Bryony’s all too brief sojourn with us is up and we must leave the lagoon and its Storks for the dubious merits of Villamoura marina  (hence the “ridiculous” of the title) to deliver her to Easy Jet – and face our own nemesis in the form of squeeks and leaks. But that can wait for a later time .

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