So, it has been a while since I bothered to update. Sorry about that, folks. I’ve been busy, laying in the room and reading the “Millenium” trilogy and searching Pinterest for work out ideas (and doing some of them). I’ve also given up junk food, but I have no way of using that as an excuse for not writing.
Anyway, Chad and I went on a tour if The Algarve in a Jeep. We think our guide was from Portugal, but never had ocassion to actually ask. He seemed to know a few different languages well. This came in handy, because the other 6 passengers in the Jeep were German (a group of 6 and 1 woman on her own who kept me fed and entertained at lunch time).
We were picked up at our hotel, and went along to th pickups at the other two hotels. Then we started our way through the countryside. Our guide, Christoff (not “pissed off,” but getting there – someone had given the Germans and ourselves slightly incorrect pick up times, which stressed the poor guy out) knew and extensive amount about the local plants and history, so we enjoyed hearing him talk about those subjects. He seemed overly concerned that people weren’t falling out of the jeep in laughter, but most of his jokes got a giggle out of me.
We stopped in a small villiage to see a woman who makes baskets for a living. She does all of the weaving by hand. I would have bought one if I wasn’t worried about baggage limits, as a very decent-sized basket was only around €10. At this point, our guide took the soft roof off the jeep, which made for even better views of the country-side while we drove, as well as a few times where we were concerned the angry clouds were going to soak us. I prefered the top down, even if a little rain attacked at one point; the guide stopped, backed up and waited for the cloud to pass by the front of the jeep before continuing, and just told us more about why the graps in the Algarve make, for the most part, shitty wine (fact).
We drove to another small villiage for a coffee/bathroom break, but much to Christoff’s caffiene-needing blood, the electricity was out, so he could not get a coffee. Chad elected not to use the bathroom, as it was a squat toilet. I’m so glad I don’t have a tiny blatter.
My favourite part about the jeep ride was that Christoff went offroad to get us as high as he could, for a great view – and the best part of doing that was us standing up in the jeep (because it is better for your back, although my knees didn’t like it so much by the end) and roller coastered up and down the country-side. Some of the hills we went up and down were extremely steep; Christoff was a very experienced driver, otherwise we wouldn’t have made it home.
We stopped in Alta (another small town) for lunch. It was served family style (hence how the German lass kept me fed – she passed me the food!) and consisted of bread and butter, garlic carrots (a specialty of that restaurant), vegetable soup, salad, chicken, fries and oranges. There was also unlimited red and white wine (the terrible type, which is reserved for giving to tourists), so Chad and I made sure to drink our worth of that (the 8 hour tour included the lunch). I also may or may not have made off with a small bottle of the piri piri sauce that we were using on our chicken (I wish I had video of Chad trying that drop of it, because it was extremely amusing – he’s not a hot sauce kind of guy).
After lunch, we made our last real stop at an organic farm that makes it’s own fire water and jams. Have you ever had pumpkin jam? How about tomato jam? I can tell you, they are yummy. The fire water was made from figs. We got a bottle and are attempting to work our way through it so I can bring the bottle home as a keep sake. We also got a jar of the pumpkin and almond jam, which makes our morning toast very tasty.
All in all, it was a pretty good value ( €44/50 each, included pick up, drop off, lunch, jam and fire water tasting and the 7-8 hour tour), even though that basically takes up 2 days of each of our budgets. We just ate rice and beans for a few days to even it out.
We had fun, were a little tipsy when we got home and I took a lot of pictures of random up and down hills. Happiness.