Monthly Archives: July 2005

a most excellent adventure

think back to friday afternoon, what were you doing?
i decided to head north to aljezur to look at houses.
i headed off in a t shirt on my motorbike along the coast road, across the mountains and through the forests.  great twisty roads and the smell of pine and eucalyptus to keep me company.
wasnt long before i found myself shuffling across the seat and sticking my knee out for the corners as they came up , not something recommended on a cruiser with leaky front forks and a knackered rear shock!
i got to aljezur and had a scout around, gorgeous little place, even took some photos for the site.  when i left, i headed to arrifana and took some more photos. 
riding away from aljezur i remembered a tip about a secret spot up there so i peeled off onto a dirt road and had a cruise along, a little like steve McQueen in the great escape.  after a few kilometers, i found the secret spot, completely deserted but i was still on top of the hill.  i looked down the dirt road that lead to the beach and decided that i could get down it – lets go.
a little bit bumpy and rocky, would have been much more fun on a pukka dirt bike ( pukka, that reminds me, Jamie Oliver has a TV series over here ) but i made it all the same.  when i got to the bottom, i met a couple of locals on dirt bikes, i think they couldnt believe their eyes when they saw my bike and had watched me ride down the hill ( over here we are called ´bifes´or whities)
anyway, checked out the beach, was perfect, then i realised……….there was no way on earth that i could ride my cruiser back up the hill i had just ridden down.
there were a couple of dirt tracks leading away from the valley……..which one should i take?  the one heading inland or the one heading along the coast?
i opted for the one heading inland.  i dont know if this was a big mistake or not, but it wasnt a good choice.
heading inland, my mind kept telling me that at some point i had to meet or cross the main road that i had ridden down.   no such luck!!
i must have taken every wrong turn at every junctioni came to, i was low on petrol, low on water, low on phone battery and my arms were burning in the sun, i left the suncream at home.
finally , i saw a farm and decided to head there and ask for directions.  as i got closer i could see a dog the size of an elephant that wasnt chained up………discretion or valor????   i turned around and wheel spun back the way i came, to the last junction.
there were lots of tyre marks at this junction so i figured i should follow them!   big mistake – terrain like something from the paris-dakar rallye, the last thing  i needed now was a puncture…………..thankfully, i managed to miss all the sharp stones.
the bike had taken a real pounding, one of the side panels had fallen off, all of the fork oil had come out of the forks, my trainers were covered in fork oil and then coated in dust – i was a complete mess.
i saw a phone mast and figured i knew where i was…….but then i thought no, its not the one i know so headded in another direction.
into a forrest – jeez, what a dumb ass!  fuel getting low, sweating, even if i did call for help, how could i say where i was, i still had little idea.  i decided to just keep heading straight forward.
eventually i could see some cars ahead of me, they must have been on a main road.  finally i found some tarmac and the main road back to aljezur.
i sat at a cafe, completely exhausted, bought a coffee, drank my water and looked at my watch – missing in action for just over two hours!!!!!
next time, i am gonna do it on a dirk bike, with satnav!!!

empty beaches

still possible to find one or two even in the onslaught of tourist season – if you know where to look

August is nearly here

expect the crowds as from this weekend, i am gonna hate the place for a month guaranteed.  the only thing that will keep me sane is the knowledge that from september to march. it will be completely emtpy again, and not very busy up till the end of june next year.
My beloved Sagres is about to change into a tourist hotspot….
this morning i am headding north slightly, to Aljezur, checking out some houses up there.  22 miles north and the prices drop dramatically.  nearest local beach is the glorious arrifana, will take the camera and get some shots for you all to see.


i am gonna get on my motorbike and ride up the coast road to Aljezur to see what houses are there for sale.  a gorgeous twisty mountain road through pine and eucalyptus trees, should be good.
will also look at buying a ticket for the portuguese equivalent of glastonbury, dirt cheap at only 65 euros for the weekend, free camping and can ride the coast road again on my bike to get there, with tent and sleeping bag strapped to the back.
some great names over four days, could be real cool.

flippin typical

two days off, woke up this morning at 8.30, no wind, two metres of surf and i am too weak to go in the water.
thats life i guess!!

sick sick sick

typical, just when i get time off, i get sick. doesnt look like i will be in the water until next week.
sometimes life can be cruel

the history of tea (according to the portuguese)

Portuguese Sephardic Jews went to North Africa, Turkey, Holland, Italy,
France, Germany and England. It was the Portuguese Sephardic Jews who
taught the British how to fry fish (fish and chips) because they took with
them to England Portuguese olive oil! It was Queen Catherine of Braganza
who taught the British how to drink the "five o’clock tea." This same
queen introduced the use of the fork to the Royal House of England and
also tangerines! The largest borough of New York City was called
"Queen’s"2 in her honor. I unabashedly stated in my lecture that the First
Queen of Bristol, Rhode Island, was 100% Portuguese because the first
street map of Bristol (1680) shows a street with name "King" (in honor of
King Charles II) and another street with the name "Queen" (in honor of
Queen Catherine of Braganza). Even today this same street is named
Catherine Street!3
Of course we all know this is complete tosh – tea is an englishmans drink – always was, always will be

a short week

only three days at work this week , then a super long weekend for me, time to catch up with some surf!


couldnt find any waves so settled for a day on the beach with my portuguese beauty.
a picture of me at my workstation in the bubble lounge

house 3 (my favourite)

check this place out.  no electricity or sewage connected but it does have water.  a littl eover priced at 65,000 euros but my builder chum tells me to bid her 40,000.  he is going to bid her 35,000 to help me along a little.
check out the cobbled street at the front, and the huge courtyard at the back is not overlooked by any of the neighbours.  It also faces south too which is a bonus.
inside is small but already has a mezzanine in the roof space, a perfect batchelor pad i think.
My builder friend tells me i could easily do the work myself witha few pointers from him.  the clincher here is that it can all be done with a rennovation order, no project required.

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