Sun 1 Nov - Gramacho R&R Day 3

The weather forecast for today was very grim. The Weather Channel app issued 4 alerts at 6am and even the colour of the banner was changed to red. 
Rain, rain, rain... And some thunder and lightning as well. The pool was quickly filling up with water but it didn't overflow. 
Åsa is experiencing with preserving and "making" olives. You may notice the olive tree behind the pool in the background, to the right of Åsa's face below. That's the source. 
Åsa has picked olives from their own olive tree which are now in those jars that she is holding. After a lengthy process, and mixed with garlic, lemon, rosemary and more, the olives should be ready for consumption sometime early in the new year. Best of luck, Åsa. 

Ulf and Åsa went to the gym mid morning. I was home alone, watching football and tennis on TV when suddenly the electricity died. It turned out that large portion of the area was without power for quite a while. 

After they got home, we went out again in search of lunch. Which we found at this place. Which had power. 
At the first table we were given, I could suddenly feel a raindrop on my shoulder. What the? Yes, the water was coming through the cracks on the ceiling in the picture below. 
And this was how the floor looked. On both sides of the table we had. Visions of a ceiling caving in came to mind and we swiftly move to another table where no ceiling cracks were visible. 
Today's lunch was... Fish. A winner here.  Menú del día in Spain is called Prato de dia In Portugal and you could choose a food item from a section of the menu as your main dish. Which include whole fish. 

These guys below were sold as "bream" and the 3 of us all had a plate as per below. Tasty!
There was a Portuguese crowd at the next table who celebrated somebody's birthday. 
The friendly Portuguese first gave us a piece of their almond birthday cake and then a glass champagne each. How nice is that? We drink to that. 
After lunch it was back to base. Today was not a day for long excursions. Yes, it did rain a bit even here from memory. 

Recycling is of course huge in Europe. Ulf to the left and our restaurant waiter to the right. 
We all went out for dinner as well. Ulf and Åsa wanted me to try a signature dish at this pizzeria. 
This is the restaurant's speciality. The dish is essentially baked spaghetti marinara with a thin pizza crust on top. It is served at the table as per below and there was food for 4 people there although the 3 of us did our best to demolish it all. 
Yes this was very yummy. Plenty of seafood in it and the pizza crust worked brilliantly as an accompanying bread. 
As we got back home again, Åsa soon went to bed and Ulf and I had a few beers while chatting and watching more football on TV. 

Sat 31 Oct - Gramacho R&R Day 2

Quiet morning. The morning after the night before. Also it's Halloween but I didn't really notice. 

I got up late at 9am and after breakfast, Åsa gave Ulf and me a lift to Carvoeiro. Ulf and I were off to do a cliff top hike east along the Atlantic coast to Benagil. 
The path was well indicated with these yellow and red markers. 
Runkeeper application was put into GPS action and here are the statistics. We did very slow progress as we constantly stopped and checked out the sceneries as well as having a coffee break halfway through. 

The very first section off Carvoeiro was on a boardwalk. Some money had been spent here as the boardwalk looked properly maintained and was very nice. 
After hiking 1km or so, we arrived at this point. Down from the trail were bathroom facilities and a bar/cafe although the latter turned out to be closed. 
Boneca means doll and somebody thought that the opening towards the water on the other side of this tunnel looked like... A doll. Sorry no picture but not even my vivid imagination could see any similarity with a doll. 
There were various walkways and stairs off the point above and here I am looking scared while checking the distance down to the water. 
Plenty of erosion had resulted in openings and tunnels like the below. 
There was no question about the beauty of the walk. The path went up and down headland, along beaches and bays as here. 
Alfonzino lighthouse and...
...its story below. 
Plenty of blowholes as well. 
Now, this beach was interesting and unique. Why?
Because the only access point is...
...through this tunnel. 
Ulf is demonstrating walking back up. 
The beach itself. There were a handful of sun seekers and one swimmer, a guy who pinched his nose every time the waves rolled in. 
The walk with break and exploration took 3 hours almost to the minute. 

We then had lunch at a restaurant in Benagil. Ulf called Åsa who came with the car and joined us for a feed. 

Ulf and Åsa had an appointment to check out an apartment back in Carvoeiro as a potential property investment but it was time enough beforehand for a visit to a supermarket. 

Here is Ulf shopping the absolutely essentials as Ulf and I drank the house dry of beer last night. 
In the fish and seafood section, they were selling dourada, the lovely whole fish I had as lunch yesterday. Ulf maintains that the English name is golden bream. 

Dourado in Portuguese means golden. 
The supermarket of course had that mandatory stinky section of dried salty cod that seems to be everywhere in food shops. 
This was a first for me. A big open grill inside the supermarket. I assumed that you can buy something of choice and they grill it for you. 
At 4pm we met the guy outside the building who was going to show Ulf and Åsa that apartment. Top floor, left. The apartment was over 2 floors and with another balcony that you can't see in this picture.  
I liked the apartment. I could see it as a good investment if the price was right. Below was the only drawback. A very narrow circular staircase connected the two floors. Not much space for yourself and never mind getting furniture and other large items up or down. 
The apartment was small but it had 2 bedrooms and could house a family of 4.
Attractive for holiday makers would be the proximity to the beach and the views. This photo is taken from the lower level balcony. 
Zooming out from the picture above. Access to the beach is through the stairs to the right. 
Another shot from the balcony overlooking the township of Carvoeiro. 
After the apartment inspection, we all went back to Ulf and Åsa's home at the Pestana Golf Resort. 

Later, Åsa prepared dinner for us. Lovely grilled shrimps with chili and parsley as an entree. 

For a main, she did something that was called tortilla lasagna (she showed me the recipe) which didn't make sense. Tortilla of course is the Spanish word for omelette and the sheets in this lasagna dish were of a corn. 

With pieces of chicken inside, the dish looked like a lasagna but tasted distinctly Mexican. It was very tasty. 

Ulf had some problems with his lower back. In Portugal, on a Saturday, you just call your Masseur and ask for a house visit. So Saturday evening at 7.30pm the Masseur arrived and worked on Ulf for an
hour. Try to get that in Australia. Ha!

Later, we watched a Swedish tv-program called "Så mycket bättre", translated into "So much better" in English. 

The idea of the tv-program was that you took a famous Swedish musical artist with some back catalogue of songs. You then let a bunch of other Swedish musical artists select one song each, interpret it and sing it in front of the others. 

Between the songs, there were interviews with all involved and filmed interactions between them all. A kind of friendlier version of Big Brother. 

The program concept was all new to me.

My problem was that I never heard of the main artist Miriam Bryant before. Never have I heard of any of the "interpreters". 

I also found that the language of several of the artists was very poor. Lots of swearing and redundant words. 

Still, the program was oddly fascinating and I watched it for the full hour or so with Ulf and Åsa who are fans. 

By 10.30pm the day had ran its course for all 3 of us and we all retired. 

Fri 30 Oct - Gramacho R&R Day 1

Both Ulf and Åsa had prior commitments today. Commitments done prior to me stumbling in on their doorstep. 

Hence, by 9am, I was by myself in their fantastic house at Pestana Golf Resort. If you hadn't realized it by now, both of them are golf fanatics. And yes, both their commitments today had to do with golf. 

I had been given suggestions of things to do but first, a few pictures from outside and inside their house. 

Ulf and Åsa had done major house renovations including opening up the floor plan by removing walls, installation of Swedish timber floorboards in most rooms and installing new brand new kitchen. I'm sure there is a lot more that they did but that was what I remembered. 

The house as you approach it. From the road:
And closer up. 
The backyard with pool, outdoor shower and pizza oven. 
The combined dining and living room. 
The kitchen. 
My temporary sleeping quarters. Sure beats albergues and 2 star hotel rooms. 
Upstairs there was this quirky little room. Ulf and Åsa used it as a relaxation room where you sit and just check out the neighborhood through the window. 
And these are the upstairs views of the neighborhood. 
Views from the upstairs balcony over the adjacent golf course. 
Pestana Golf Resort has two 18 hole golf courses within its grounds. And you can have no doubt that it is a golf resort as you walked through it. 

I spent the day by walking to the sea and back, to a small fishing village called Ferragudo. 

The distance according to Ulf is approximately 5km one way and parts of it is on dirt road... 
...where anything can happen. 
In addition to goats, there are also wild dogs in the area and at one point I saw one of those dog's head pop up behind one of those clay walls. 

The stray dog was then following me from a distance for a while, which made me a bit nervous. However, I later heard that these dogs are not the ones to be worried about. The guard dogs are the bad ones if they get loose. 

Ferragudo seemed genuine enough and  today the day before 31 October, there was a Halloween event in its main square. 
There will still fisherman along Ferragudo's foreshore working with fish and nets. 

Given the moorish background of this area, many houses were one storey high, white painted and with colored frames. Mostly it looked great. A few examples.

I continued walking along the foreshore beyond Ferragudo town centre and stumbled onto these fantastic fishermens huts. 
This cottage was seriously cute. 
I wonder what kind of cargo is on this boat. 
No, really...
I walked as far as Praia Grande Beach before turning back. That area was a bit too touristy for me. 
See what I mean. 
Even the toilets are having siesta for an hour in the middle of the day according to the sign.  
Time for lunch. I chose this place to the left on the main square simply because there were more diners there than with any of the competition. 
...which were fulfilled. The fish was called dourado including in the menu's English section. That translates to golden in English. I asked Åsa later and she thought it was bream. 

The dourado fish was seriously tasty. Best food since leaving Australia. This was GOOD!!
After lunch I walked back to Ulf and Åsa's place, bye Ferragudo. 
I was at Casa 27 of Pestana Golf Resort back by 2.30pm and managed to switch off the home alarm without causing Securitas to be alerted and to come out. 

Home security is obviously a selling point in these golf resorts, which are almost like gated communities. 

Later, i enjoyed a cold Carlsberg out back while watching the sun beginning to set. 
It was a nice, warm and dry day in southern Portugal, such a difference from the last week or so. 

Åsa arrived home first and Ulf later. We had a beer at the clubhouse of the golf resort before taking a taxi to Carvoeiro. There we had dinner in what Ulf and Åsa called a typical Portuguese restaurant. 

Of course, I forgot to take photos and didn't recall that until towards the end of the visit. So here is a photo of Ulf and Åsa with their wine glasses. 
I had grilled tuna for dinner which was huge and also delicious. Two great meals in one day. When did that last happen? Not in Europe that's for sure. 

The restaurant's owner was clearly a football fan. 
The restaurant owner's team was Benfica which wasn't that easy to figure out from all the football memorabilia. Benfica is a Lisbon team and also a suburb of there.  
Pestana Golf Resort
A couple of final photos as we got back to Ulf and Åsa's house. 

After that, Åsa went to bed and the drinking continued for the boys. Until late. Very late.