Holiday snaps

By Ian Urie

Ok, I normally head to Turkey for a holiday.
The weather's lovely, the food's great and the people friendly.
However this year, the wife and I decided to have a week away without the kids.
We picked somewhere different (this is more difficult than it sounds with my wife).
My wife loves history, I like lazy days in sunshine with lots of cold drinks.
We decided on Portugal, which satisfied both appetites.
Our destination was Armacao De Pera, just a few miles from Albufeira on the Algarve.


Weather was lovely and at the time of year (April), the resort was practically empty.
I must admit, this appealed greatly to me, queues and busy beaches aren't my thing.
At this time of year, you get an awful lot of pensioners as well, so breakfast in the hotel tended
to resemble a scene from Cocoon.

The hotel itself was very nice and I'd recommend it to anyone.


It was the Vila Gale Nautico.

In this part of the country the speciality is sardines.


I'd better mention a warning here.
The sardines are a local speciality and, very tasty they are,but,
you pay per person and they keep bringing them until you say stop.
I made it through two and a half platefuls before I gave in.

The coastline is mostly sandstone , so erosion is constant,
which leads to pretty spectacular views.
Here's the beach from the other "end".


The cliffs are a delight to walk along, and give lots of photo opportunities.


There's some beautiful little beaches in amongst the outcrops.


Armacao De Pera is probably lively around June, but pretty empty as I pointed out, in April.
We decided to make the most of no kids and go on all the excursions they offered.
That's the history part.
A fairly lengthy journey took us through Spain to Gibraltar.


On the hillside getting driven to Gib, you can't miss the  famous bull of the  region.
Yes, that is a mast next to it, that should give a clue to the size.

The wife was in heaven learning facts like it has only 22 miles of roads and 50 odd miles of tunnels in the Rock.
Gib imports more diesel than the whole of France!
One of the main sources of income is refueling all the ships passing by, hence the large amount of diesel.


The Mosque  built by a greatful ruler.

There's also St Michaels Cavern inside the rock with superb lighting illustrating the stalagmites and tites.


They've also built a concert hall within it.

Of course there's always the apes..........

ape                                                       ape2    

My favourite was the cablecar, although we didn't have time to go on it.                                                                                                                   

It's no wonder Gibraltar is British, it has British weather.
Cold and windy the day we went anyway. 
I ended up buying a  jersey from BHS.
Go figure!
Another nice thing is they take Scottish banknotes (a thing England could learn).


Here's the runway as seen from the Rock.
The runway was built from the spoils of the tunnels in the Rock
and in case you forget what the Rock looks like........


We also managed to squeeze in Lisbon on another trip.

One of my great regrets is that I didn't  get pictures of any of the bridges into Lisbon.
The monument on the hillside at the bridge, of Christ,  is awesome.
The other bridge, 22km long is superb as well , just for the sheer length of it.
Some of the pictures I did get..........

The Belem tower to celebrate Vasco De Gama.


As they say, a magnificent edifice.
There's also Jeronimos monastery which is superb
and a whole day could be spent simply going around the exhibits,
admiring the  architecture.




It also poured it down for a short while when we visited.
Went to Gib, bought a jumper.
Went to Lisbon, bought a brolly.
Day trips are ok for a quick overview but you could spend weeks in both these places
and still not see everything.
For instance there's also the Santa Justa elevator.


It's like a small version of Blackpool tower in between streets.
Again, simply amazing.


One of the other tours was of the local region.
I've just realised I haven't mentioned the other local delicacy,
Piri Piri.
It's chicken with a chilli sauce.
Portugese pride themselves on this dish, but I thought it could do with more chilli.
Mind you, I tend to like spicy foods.
The Portugese have a proud tradition of sailing and discovery.
The local tour took in the End of the World.
As it was known at the time, that is.
Spectacular scenery again.



It sounds as if we didn't spend any time in Armacao De Pera, and we did.
It was , originally, a small fishing village and the original buildings and fishing quarter still exist.
A very picturesque and  non touristy part it is , as well.
There are lots of small chapels  about as well and all the local buildings are  lovely.


The area around Armacao De Pera seems really nice and sleepy .
For a quiet holiday with lots of chances to simply hire a car (or go the bus trips),
spend quality time in the sunshine without any hassle. I'd recommend  this area
around April before the main tourist season kicks in.
Prices are reasonable, food is excellent, and the scenery terrific.
After going thorough those pictures, I feel like another holiday.
Never mind, it will soon be time for the main holiday............

RIYAN Productions