We have been living in the Algarve  for a couple of weeks now,  so we thought you might like to see where we are and what we are doing.

We are currently house-sitting for relatives of friends of ours, in the central/eastern area of the Algarve – the southern most part of Portugal. John and Prue built this house more than 30 years ago, and at that time, this was all just countryside…

Palms and pools - not such a bad life

Palms and pools – not such a bad life

The garden of our house

The garden of our house

Our house

Our house

The courtyard

The courtyard

Our main job is to take care of Dougal – a West Highland Terrier – aged about 4 years old. He’s quite a character.

Dougal

Dougal

 

We have discovered that he likes riding in the car and rubbing his nose in the dirt, but mainly he likes sleeping wherever we are sitting!

 

 

 

Dougal and Geoff with Charlie

Walks on the beach

Walks on the beach

digger Dougal

digger Dougal

The garden has fruit trees – oranges and limes – as well as olive and avocado trees. The pond is a magnet for dragonflies, birds and even two turtles, but we found them in an amorous embrace – so didn’t want to stare for too long!

Oranges aren't the only fruit

Oranges aren’t the only fruit

We are still waiting for this grapefruit to be ready

We are still waiting for this grapefruit to be ready

Olives abound right outside our bedroom window

Olives abound right outside our bedroom window

Straight from the tree

Straight from the tree

 

The elusive blue birds

The elusive blue birds

The dragonflies love the garden pond

The dragonflies love the garden pond

Oops - sorry to intrude

Oops – sorry to intrude

Nearby is a great beach alongside a little pine forest – our first taste of the Atlantic ocean on this trip and fabulous long views along the coast.

Geoff and Charlie meet the Atlantic

Geoff and Charlie meet the Atlantic

The water is calm in this sheltered part of Portugal

The water is calm in this sheltered part of Portugal

 

Taking the long view

Taking the long view

There are plenty of local markets most days of the week. At nearby Loule this weekend they got into the Day of the Dead / Halloween vibe in amongst the cheery pots of honey, fiery red piri-piri oil, local fish, veggies and other local goodies.

The Day of the Dead at Loule market

The Day of the Dead at Loule market

The Saturday market at Loule

The Saturday market at Loule

Plenty of pots - a Portuguese speciality

Plenty of pots – a Portuguese speciality

Piri piri sauce by the gallon

Piri piri sauce by the gallon

Old friends, like bookends

Old friends, like bookends

Local produce gives heat and colour to the food

Local produce gives heat and colour to the food

Local favourites - salt cod and garlic

Local favourites – salt cod and garlic

A lettuce leaf doesn't make them better looking

A lettuce leaf doesn’t make them better looking

Traditional baskets of beans

Traditional baskets of beans

  The Algarve – originally an Arabic settlement called Al Gharb or “the West” – is a massive tourist destination. It’s population trebles in the summer months.  It can be hard to find places that aren’t developed, but there are some that we have found so far – like Ferragudo, a little fishing village and the hillside retreat of Silves.

Ferraguda fishing village

Ferragudo fishing village

Looking across from little Ferraguda to vast Portimao

Looking across from little Ferragudo to vast Portimao

Up the hill to Silves

Up the hill to Silves

Down the hill from Silves

Down the hill from Silves

Next week we plan to visit the west coast of Portugal – where record breaking waves are mastered by the brave and crazy on some of the best surfing beaches in the world, battered by the massive Atlantic winds.

The wind and the sun (by the way, it’s still 24 degrees here!) make up another powerful force – renewable energy. Portugal is a leader in green energy provision. In 2005 the government made a pledge to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. In the first quarter of 2013, the wind, waves and sunshine produced 70% of Portugal’s energy needs. Nice work, Portugal!

Portuguese power houses - wind and solar