Pretty crazy that another year has passed so quickly and we have arrived at January 2024! They say time flies when you are having fun, so I guess it's a good thing.
A quiet month in the Algarve started with cooler weather and some heavy rain. Nearly ten inches of much-needed rain fell during the second week of January. Much needed in the region as we are experiencing a drought. The last few weeks of the month turned to normal welcome weather of sunshine in the low 70's with cooler nights in the low 50's.
Activity in the gardens this month; A little winter tree trimming in the gardens at our house. Figs, pomegranates, apples, avocados, olives, strawberry trees, persimmon, peach, guava, and cherimoya were given big haircuts. The citrus trees were untouched because they were all full of winter fruit. Fava beans, lettuce, and kale are the only produce growing in the garden. The fava beans do really well here and are about three feet tall now. Trying to keep up with the abundant year-round citrus fruit crop that produces much more than we and the neighbors can consume. We've been handing out bags of oranges, lemons, and clementines to friends, delivery drivers, the soup kitchen, and just about anyone else who will take some.
It seems everyone was getting sick through December and January as a nasty combination of respiratory illnesses plagued Europe. A deja Vue of the pandemic with hospitals barraged with the sick. Unlike the pandemic, there have been very few deaths, and the crush at the emergency rooms subsided quickly. We were both sick through the end of December and early January, but thankfully, no COVID-19! felt like a bad cold or flu. Thankfully, this, too, has run its course.
We avoided travel this month because that's how we think that we were exposed to the bugs. Traveling in November and December we noticed several people on flights and public transportation that seemed sick, coughing and sneezing, and happily spreading the joy around. Now that these viruses seem to have subsided, were back to a full travel schedule starting in February with Porto, then Spain in April, and Italy in May, with more to follow.
At Vilamoura Marina in the Algarve, we pulled the trigger and bought our new boat, scheduled for delivery in March (Not one pictured below, although one of those would be very nice). Can't wait to get out and explore the coastline of south Portugal and even a bit of Spain. A beautiful celebratory sunset and dinner of duck rice and beautiful large prawns
The Algarve Wine Society group we belong to hosted this month's lunch @ Rhola Wine Bar in Porches. Quinto do Romeu, a family winery from the Douro, shared some exceptional wines with us.
The community of Silves near us holds a series of events each year from January through June called Jazz nas Adegas (Jazz in the Cellar). Each month, a different winery in the Silves Camara features a different style of music, wine tasting, and petiscos (Portuguese Tapas). For our first time attending one of these events, we joined new friends Ken and Jen and enjoyed the 8-piece Jazz band; five of the pieces were saxophones. Great friends, good music, wine, and food.
Finally found a decent burger @ Nah Nah Bah (I know, crazy name) in Lagos. The nachos were good, too, along with their signature house-made chips tossed in garlic aioli.
Best tacos in Portugal are at our house. Mary made fresh tortillas, chicken and enchilada sauce.
The Portimao marina where we will keep our new boat when it arrives in March.
a view of the marina from across the river
A walk along the Portimão Marina and Praia de Rocha beach. Apparently a good day for surfing.
During a recent storm, three boats were blown from their mooring in the river and washed up on the beach in Ferragudo. The large one is an older 100+ foot steel hull, the other two are smaller sail boats
A closer view from our walk on the Ferragudo beach about three weeks later
Lunch on the beach at Praia de Rocha, a beautiful sunny day with a fresh polvo (octopus) salad and Grilled grouper & shrimp skewer. In the winter the beaches here are a stark contrast to the chaos of summer. Either way they are beautiful.
Lately it seems like food is always involved in our hikes and walks. I guess it's better to earn the calories before you eat them. This time its with new friends Peter and Elena. Walking the trails/boardwalk above Praia do Camilo near Lagos followed by Thai Food in the Marina.
Sunset on a chilly evening at Green Heart
Locals tell us that the Storks used to migrate away from the Algarve in the winter, but they have been staying year-round in recent years. They can be seen throughout the country's southern half but predominantly in the Algarve. They mate for life, so you nearly always see them together as a pair in their large nests.
Along with the Storks, Flamingos can also be spotted in the Algarve. This group likes to hang out in the small lake near our house. You can see in the video how they use their legs to stir up the bottom for their meal of small crustations. Local fishermen often do the same shuffle in the sand at low tide, searching for clams.
The Portuguese coast guard monitoring our waterways from their base in Portimao
This morning's walk along the beach in Ferragudo. Beautiful sandy beach, limestone cliffs, The Fort of São João (also known as the Castle of Ferragudo, a Private Residence), and the views of Portimao across the Arade river.
Barney meeting his mini me through the screen door. A neighborhood kitten that comes by frequently looking in for someone to play with.
Barney and Sonny living the dream in the Algarve. They both approve of our new couch too...
As always we hope everyone is doing well, healthy, happy, and thriving. We miss you and love you all...A lot!