From our balcony, I looked out over to the beach and saw a line of Hi-Vis vest wearing men armed with what looked like rakes. They were either, Police looking for clues to a gruesome murder that took place there last night while we were being rocked by the wind, or the council was out in force tidying up all the bamboo drift wood and rubbish getting the beach ready for the coming summer season. As I could not see any police cars or news reporters we decided that it would be safe to head down and go for a walk.
We didn't get far before we were sidetracked by playing in the river. It was sheltered and had a nice view looking over the dozen houses that make up this settlement.
Further down the river the kids tried out their sand dune aerobatics.
We continued our walk and made our way to what we thought was an old abandoned church.
It turned out to be a half built house, that looked like it had either ran out of money, or more likely, they didn't have planning permission to build a house right on the beach on public land and got stopped half way through.
We decided to head to Ericeria, as our good friends Suzie and Coen had been there with their family and it was only 15 mins away. Picture a Portuguese coastal town in your head - that is what Ericeria is like. White buildings with terracotta roofs and blue trim surround narrow alleyways that open up into lovely squares where the locals and tourist chill out.
After a quick explore of the alleyways we ended down at the waterfront that is mostly protected by a big wall. The views are quite spectacular as the rough seas comes crashing in.
Ericeria is built up, but whilst the natural beauty has been lost, the apartments and esplanade along the water front have been done in a way that is beautiful in its own way.
Looking for a place to eat was a bit more difficult than we thought it would be, as it is still just the beginning of the season, also they are right into their pastries, so no good for us Gluten Free people. Whilst looking at the menu on the side of one restaurant, the patron beside the menu said "no, no no" and waved us on to the restaurant down the road. Now I don't know if he was disgruntled or if this was some sort of bizarre Portuguese marketing strategy where they deploy people to the near by competitor restaurants to wave people on, but the food at the restaurant that he recommended and where we ended up going, was absolutely fantastic! So maybe he was just a friendly local and seeing that we were five foreigners wanted to make sure we had a good feed.
We continued down the coast in the Lisbon direction and stopped at a lookout at yet another spectacular beach. Jasper spotted a path that lead down to the beach and took off with Penelope close on his heels. Rach spotted a car park at the bottom of the cliff so she chased the kids while I went and parked the car. By the time I had caught up to them the kids were doing there best to avoid getting wet in the surf. Of course they failed and got quite wet, to the point where we put them in their togs and let them go for it.
The surf was quite rough, so it didn't take too much persuading to get them to play in the lovely river at the end of the bay. This is obviously quite a popular beach as it has a great car park, boardwalks and restaurants.
Once the kids had had enough, we headed back north and went past the turn off to our settlement and up to the next one which is Santa Cruz. This is a lot bigger, but again done in a tasteful manor. The village is set up on the cliffs overlooking two beautiful beaches that are divided by rock formations that have been cleverly incorporated into paths, changing rooms and toilets.
The kids having got a taste for air time, found another small sand due to jump off.
It took the promise of ice cream to drag the kids away, so we looked for a bar that served ice cream as well as beer and sangria overlooking the sea, and it didn't take too long to find one.
Everyone was ready to go home, and after shower, food and dishes, it was time for bed.
Looking forward to Lisbon tomorrow.
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