Benagil Beach and Cave Boat Trip

Today might just have been the best day of the vacation 🙂

We head to the beach that we found when trying to find a way to get a car to the Smugglers Cove just around from Rocha Brava – a nice little beach with next to no car parking available BUT that you would need a car to get there 🙂

We arrived just after 11am as the grand folks had a nice sleep in 🙂 car parking was easy enough and the beach was beautiful shingle free dark yellow sand (nice and fine) but enough to get a decent purchase in for a parasol to stand upright 🙂

We got Elliot, Oliver, Grandma and Granddad a ham and cheese toastie from the beach bar and got some tickets for the 12:30 cave boat trip that claimed to take us to 20 caves in an hour.

Granddad built a sand boat for the boys to play in and Oliver and Daddy went in search of some shells to make the buttons for the starter motor, steering wheel and machine guns (for said boat). The boys played in the boat for almost an hour – incredible considering they both said that had no desire to go to the beach today… 🙁

Then 12:30 came around and our boat arrived on the beach – big enough for 12 passengers and the pilot. The team got the boat ready for us and then pushed us out to the ocean although they were just not quick enough and the waves bashed the boat over to the left before the pilot could get the engine down so we had to rather hastily dismount before the boat overturned (slightly melodramatic, but there was definitely some pain to get us off PDQ:-)) . we got back on board and the engine doewn and we were off – just round the corner to the right and into a small inlet where a cave ahead been worn into the Rock face, and then into the next larger one. In a couple more we found the pilot hit the gas and looked to be aiming for a small hole that ultimately swallowed the entire boat and we disappeared into the mouth of the cave, out of the ocean and into our own tiny hole in the rock – holy hell, this was unexpected but breathtaking all at the same time -WOW. 

We continued on to see a few more similarly amazing caves that the boat only just fit into but were breathtaking each and every time. Sadly, the camera ran out of battery about half way around so we do not have photographic (or video) evidence of some of the most impressive caves but the imprints will be in our minds forever 🙂

The cost for this mind blowing experience was €17.50 for adults and €12.50 for the kids – easily the best €100 of the vacation hands down. To the point that I think we will be returning before the week is out for a return journey to see it all again 🙂

Hopefully, tomorrow is water park day at Slide and Splash in Lagoa although our tickets are good for any day this week so we will see how we feel in the morning.

Happy Holidays folks – we are having a ball 🙂

Day trip

Following a couple of days relaxing by the small pool, we decided to head out to Lagos and Portimao yesterday. 

Lagos is a beautiful little fishing town with a lovely harbour and quaint streets that Bruce would struggle to navigate. We drove through the town to experience the streets and the angry locals before finding somewhere to park near the harbour to grab a coffee and (as it happens) bacon sandwich.

The next stop was a beach although we decided to not go on the rather large beach at Lagos as we were unable to get the car close enough, so drove on to Portimao. We got parked up relatively easily and head down to the beach – I don’t think we have ever seen a beach quite as large and populated before (kind of hope we don’t again either). We managed around 1 hour and 15 minutes before getting hungry and heading in search of lunch.

Olly managed to persuade us all that McDonalds was the best possible option so we head there.

Next stop was Aqua Portimao, the shopping centre where finally we located some Kinder Joy chocolate for the boys – we have been looking in every shop we can find for them as the boys love them but have been unable to locate the goodness….

Finally, back to the Rocha Bravo cafe for an ice cream before getting ready for dinner at a local restaurant.

Elliot taught daddy how to play the scrabble game that we brought with us before bed 🙂 Twice…

Vilamoura

after breakfast, we jumped in the car and dad out East to Vilamoura with the plan to get an hour or two in the beach, before lunch in the Marina over looking the beautiful boats. However, there were some fairly significant traffic issues just after Albufeira so we only got to Vilamoura just before lunchtime. 

It WAS BAKING hot as well, so once we found the car park that we used a couple of years back, we wandered around the beautiful Marina ogling the fabulous machinery sat in the water and found a lovely spot for lunch called Old Navy.

The boys remembered a toy shop so we went in search of it while we waited for lunch 🙂 they found some LEGO and so they were happy to forgo the beach in return for the new LEGO…

The Costa Coffee shop that was due to open just after our last visit has already closed so we guess ther are just not enough Costa loving Brits in Vilamoura after all 🙁

We have subsequently enjoyed a lovely relaxing afternoon in the garden of the apartment and mummy cooked us all a fantastic pasta with tomato sauce for dinner.

A rather nice red wine is almost gone as we write this and Greg has brought yet another Sloe Gin round – he has been on a mission with regards to the drinking this week 🙂

Tomorrow promises to be a pool day for the boys – Grandma and Granddad bought them snorkels and masks today so pretty sure they are high on th priority list for tomorrow 🙂

Shopping and swimming

Yesterday was our first full day so job #1 (after breakfast in the cafe) was off t’shops to sort provisions for a few days. There is a new nearby supermarket since we were last here so thought we would give it a go first – was OK but cost a little more than the budget place so we stocked up on the beer etc, filled the car and head to the usual place to get final bits and pieces. We found a cheeky bottle of red called Bastardo for €5 – it was actually a pretty good red as we tested it last night with our BBQ. We also bought a €30 BBQ as the one that we rented for €20 was only really big enough to cook 4 burgers 🙁

Daddy managed to lock the rear offside door (of the car) so that it won’t open at all any more 🙁 All he was doing was disabling the child safety locks, or so he though…

It was actually a miserable morning weather wise with a little rain and lots of dark grey clouds, so we were amazed to be graced with beautiful blue skies after lunch with the boys scoring 3 hours of pool time between 2 and 5pm 🙂 

26 degrees was a perfect introductory heat for us all as it is scheduled to raise to 32 in the coming few days 🙂

The day was finished off with the majority of a bottle of Sloe Gin, a fe shots of a Portuguese Sambuca (v nice), the Bastardo and a few Sagres – boom (and no headache this morning incredibly)

Think the beach down in Carvoeiro is calling for us today 🙂

All settled in

We managed to find the car rental guy pretty easily and within 40 mins were sorted with our Silver Peugeot 5008 7 seater and on our way to the Rocha Brava complex up on the cliffs above Carvoeiro – about 45 miles from the airport at Faro.

Arriving at the complex at about 12:45, we were greeted by a super friendly guy who sorted us out with room keys and we got cracking with the unpacking. We enjoyed a nice lunch at the poolside bar and finished it off with an ice cream from the boys favourite ice cream bar in the cafe 🙂

The boys were desperate to go swimming so we took them to the main pool for an hour beforE getting back to the room for a quick bath for the bits before heading over to the restaurant just across the road (Rocha Mar). Don’t think we will be going back there this holiday as the service was VERY slow and the food super below average sadly.We have established that daddy’s phone does not have free internet access after all so will be on the search for free wireless access points as we did last time we were here and will be downloading music from those as we find them 🙂

Today is about two things:

  • Shopping for food etc
  • Swimming in the pool and relaxing

The boys are pretty keen for the first option believe it or not as the have some money from Grandma Cuckoo that is burning a hole in their pockets 🙂

Arrived in Portugal although a day late

We all arrived at the airport in Liverpool with hours to spare so make a couple of duty free purchases – sun glasses, LEGO and aftershave / perfumes – only to find a delay was placed on our flight. There was a fishy smell given that we were told there was an engineering issue on the plane yet when looking outside there was nobody working on said plane 🙁 

We waited around an hour and a half before we were advise we would be sleeping in a nearby hotel and flying the next morning 🙁

So, we waited to collect our bags and made our way over to the hotel across the street. We enjoyed a drink and pizza before heading to bed as we needed to be up early for the 8am flight the following morning. We also calle the car rental company and hotel to let them know of the delay in the hope that they would keep our car and rooms in situ for us as that would have further tested the start to our vacation 🙁

This morning was relatively uneventful as we got over to the airport in good time (a small issue over seating but it was solved after about 15 minutes) and had breakfast in Frankie and Benny’s.

The plane set off about 20 minutes late and was pretty comfortable, arriving roughly on time 🙂

Just to collect our bags and car….

Ale Trail in the sunshine

Yesterday daddy set out with the boys early to head out on the Ale Trail once again. A bacon butty in Leeds was the strategy in order to have a hot pie and peas in Stalybridge – only when we arrived there was no hot food on – Strategy Failure 🙁

  
However the sun was glorious so we managed a couple of pints – as we sat back enjoying the beer and conversation Stalybridge went from being very quiet to super busy as all the other ale trailers rocked up.

Lee came up with the wisdom of the day – missing out Greenfield (as there I no beer garden of consequence) so that we could head straight to Marsden and stay in the sun and crucially ahead of the queue of trailers 🙂

We enjoyed a light lunch at the RiverHead Tap pub again, in the sunshine and following three pints there we head on to Slaithwaite where once again we sat out in the sunshine, enjoyed two pints and a warm pork pie – a GOOD pork pie at that 🙂

Then on to Huddersfield where there was a huge beer festival going on right outside the railway station so we didn’t bother heading into the pub – just a cheeky couple of ales in the Huddersfield sunshine 🙂 oh, and a nice ice-cream 🙂

Then it was back on the train for Mirfield (our final train journey) and a short walk over to the Flower Pot – that’s right another couple (well for daddy one was a coke) of beverages in the sunshine.

We grabbed a taxi up to Grangemoor and Grameen for a curry where we bumped into Grandma and Granddad who were out for a meal also.

The great news was that meant a lift home afterwards 🙂 Winner.

A fantastic day with sunburn to prove it and incredibly no headache this morning 🙂