30th January to 9th February 2019
It was Sharon’s idea initially and something we have considered before so after a last minute ‘booking.com’ internet search we ended up reserving a total of 10 days at ‘Solar da Cotovia’, a short term holiday home rental. Wow, it has been a long time since we have wallowed around in the luxuries of living in a real house and we both had to admit we were really, really looking forward to our time there especially after the ups and downs of our property/land search.
We had the end terrace of three and the car park was perfect for our motorhome and our neighbours Volkswagen camper.
The property was ideally located out in the countryside on the outskirts of Albufeira old town. The surrounding road network was hard sand stone tracks where only a handful of vehicles passed by per day and these roads proved ideal to exercise Rita off the lead. The house itself was perfect for us with satellite TV, an outside communal brick barbecue, excellent shower, open plan lounge diner and an large patio overlooking the neighbouring farm lands and all these ingredients meant that we have really enjoyed the break from van life.
We used the barbecue as often as we could. I always enjoy lighting some coals and taking my time over the cooking enjoying a few cold beers in the sunshine. Who would not, right?
Churrasco Portuguese style. This chicken from the butchers came with it’s feet too.
Our view from the back of the house. Solar da Cotovia had a special way to be near everything whilst giving you the impression you were in the middle of nowhere. You would never guess we were only 3km from old town Albufeira.
View from the front window
For three of the nights over the weekend we had some neighbours from Austria and this young couple became the perfect people to witness the sunset from the patio sharing of course a few glasses of red wine. Since Rafaela and Dominic were Generation Y, as we are Generation X, it was really encouraging to me personally that their views on the environment and our current world status were very similar to my own outlook, not that I really expected for them to be dramatically different. It was really refreshing to spend some quality time with people younger than ourselves as we don’t often get that chance.
We visited Albufeira old town several times. I also managed a few cycle rides down to the coast, a section of the Algarve we have not spent too much time visiting before.
The beaches around Albufeira are typically Algarvense with sand stone cliffs and tropical plants.
We spent our days lazing around, watching films on TV and cooking elaborate meals, ones that we would not normally do in the van such as a slow cooked lamb curry, bacalhau a bras and grilled hake and home made coleslaw. We even treated ourselves to a home cooked English breakfast accompanied with a tin of baked beans.
We visited Albufeira old town several times going by the quiet back roads making the most of the winter prices where large beers seemed to hover around 2 Euros with the cheapest being 1.50. In the winter Albufeira is pleasant and the old town does hold a certain charm, however we have no idea at all what it would be like in the summer time, in fact our ‘landlord’ commented that it was chaos!!!
The roads around the house were tracks just wide enough for cars. The back way into town was by the ‘ViaAlgarviana’ which is the 300 km track that goes all the way across the Algarve.
We really enjoyed our stay at Solar da Cotovia, we would definitely stay here again.
So tommorrow we will be back in the van after our break in luxury. We feel refreshed, relaxed, clean(!) and ready to get back on the road. Our days now in the sunny Algarve are nearing an end and we hope that spring is upon us and the weather further north is now starting to heat up to the temperatures that we have been accustomed too.