Now, in the hight of autumn, it seems weird to look at those pictures of sun and beach – unbelievable that it is only a few weeks ago! A reason more to wallow in memories…
After a few days around Porto Covo we moved on, not very far, but a bit further down along Portugals west coast, towards the Algarve. At Brejão stayed at the small agriturismo Cerca do Sul that we found via the local tourism platform Casas Brancas that focuses on rural tourism in the region of Costa Alentejana e Vicentina offering hints for rural accomodation, gastronomy, activities and events.
From our small room at Cerca do Sul we could oversee the complex which its many sitting areas, where everyone could retreat into “their” corner (although with only seven rooms it probably won’t get too busy).
We enjoyed especially to sit at the pool in the evening, a glass of wine or beer in the hand, looking up at the starry sky … until the Atlantic breeze got too cold.
Another highlight definitely was the rich breakfast buffet (I forgot to take pictures of it, can you believe it?). Each morning the same hard decisions: Sweet or savoury? Scrambled eggs, cake, pancake? Which juice do I want to try? … Luckily we stayed mor than one night 😉 And on our last evening we even got served a three course dinner at Cerca do Sul – one of the options this place offers.
Sara, the owner has made her dream come true with this place and you can see and feel that this place was build up with lots of effort and love for the detail. The activities that are offered – from yoga and pilates courses to donkey rides and pottery courses – the dreamcatchers, the chilled music, the homemade granola create a harmonious picture of Sara’s idea of a perfect place to rest.
Within a few kilometres from Cerca do Sul there are a lot of beaches and little villages to explore. Our basis became Odeceixe. [And if you now think you might know how to pronounce the name I can assure you that you’re probably wrong (solution at the end). We were always wrong … and finally gave up and invented our own pronounciation of Portuguese words, trying to squeeze as many [ ʃ ]- sounds into them as possible.]
Laying at the estuary of the river Seixe right at the border between Alentejo and Algarve, Odeceixe actually consists of two parts – the actual village and Praia de Odeceixe. Beween both parts lies the river that winds towards the sea until it opens to it at the broad beach. Stunning!
A mainly young crowd gathers in the village itself after returning from their surfing adventures during the day. The atmosphere is very relaxed and you’ll find a lot of places to go for dinner. We especially enjoyed our feijoada de chocos e lulas and grilled tuna at the traditional “Taberna Do Gabão”.
On of our daytrips led us to the southern coast of the Algarve. After days in pristine remoteness where we mostly met Portuguese – the city of Lagos was quite a cultural shock for us. Souvenir shop after souvenir shop, restaurants with cheap tourist menus creatively translated into all common European languages and of course masses of – mainly German – tourists. At least for us it felt like masses. Instead, in the dialog that we overheard in the streets a daughter told her mother how “non-touristy” she found Lagos compared to other places … it’s all relative!
Through side streets we kind of fled to the beach cause we wanted to see the spectacular cliff formations the southern Algarve is famous for. Impressing indeed!
After a stop at the southwesternmost point of Portugal and thereby Europe, the Cabo São Vicente with its steep cliffs (up to 70 m), we had seen enough of the “classic” Algarve holiday – including the “Letzte Bratwurst vor Amerika” – and headed back north to the unspoilt west coast.
Here we concluded our day at Odeceixe beach at the “Agapito” bar. In a very layed-back atmosphere we watched how the beach slowly emptied, with the surfers in their neopren suits to be the last to leave the water, we watched how the sun set over the ocean from this amazing viewpoint. If I had the chance to freeze some of the moments from our trip, this would definitely be one of them.
But the “Agapito” bar is not only known for its relaxed atmopshere and great views – the owner is also one of the promoters of “Gin Sul”, a Portuguese-German gin, distilled in Hamburg with the citric-herbal flavours of the Algarve. And guess which new member our spirits collection features? 😉 For the moments of saudade…
Another day trip that we made led us to the Serra de Monchique with its highest point, the peak Fóia at 902 m – not very high, I know, but when you’re starting from sea level it’s quite a difference in altitude.
After our eyes had been used for days to the ocre shades of the sparse Alentejo landscape, the Serra with its green vegetation, its flowers, its lemon, orange and fig trees really were a change for them.
At the peak Fóia we enjoyed a breathtaking view over basically the whole Algarve, before we visited the Caldas de Monchique, a spa village centered around a thermal bath and squeezed into a hidden narrow valley of the Serra de Monchique.
Our last day was reserved for the beach – Praia Amoreira near Aljezur to be precise. Laying again at a river mouth the beach is characterised by its wide sand beach and its dunes that reach far inland along the river banks.
The beach is popular with surfers due to its good waves, but as the beach turnes into a lagoon at low tide there also a lot of families found here.
Then, when the water is low, you can walk along the rock pools, watch the fisher men, collect stones and shells and marvel at the bizzare rock formations that give you an impression about how this place was formed millions of years ago.
One final destination before we closed our suitcases was the local supermarket, where we bought a few culinary souvenirs: famous Portuguese canned sardines, pâte de atum and pâte de sardinha that tastes so delicious with pão alentejano, hot piri-piri sauce from Paladin which has a beautiful packaging design as well. The small ceramic bowls I had already bought before in the small local pottery of Brejão.
Finally, the morning came when we had to say good bye to the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, to the calmness and wildness of this rural area with its golden plain land, its impressive coastline, its blue and wild water, its captivating light…
And the right pronounciation of Odeceixe is: [ɞdɘsɘiʃɘ]