Albuferia old town

On the hunt for peeling paint and ornate stuff, I head to Albuferia old town.

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While it is quite small I still managed to find some details to snap away at. From the ornate tiles that are found on most houses, to beautiful doors and colourful paintwork.

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In Roman times Albufeira was known as Baltum and then re-named Al-Buhera by the Moorish settlers in the 8th Century.

It was finally taken from the Moors in the middle of the 13th Century by the ‘Knights of the Order of Santiago’

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Albufeira was a small fishing village until the arrival of tourism in the 1960s. Substantial developments since then have turned it into a major holiday resort

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Even with all of the developments, some of Albufeira Old Town still retains the essence of the village it once was, with narrow cobbled streets winding up and around the hillsides.

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Next up I’m grabbing a local bus to the capital city of Faro. Somewhat overlooked by tourists in the main who head straight from its airport to their beach resorts.

 

Around the headland

Having sat on the beach for all of half an hour I was predictably getting itchy explorer feet so decided to strike out for the headland and see what was around the bend!P1030855

I knew that the beach of old town Albuferia could be found via a cliff top walk and it was apparently was only twenty minutes away.

So off I trotted, just me and my trusty camera.

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While it wasn’t exactly a gentle stroll (more a a scramble and hike) I got to experience some of the stunning, rugged coast line that the Algarve is famous for.

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As it was just me and my camera you get treated to a rare glimpse of me (as the usual photographic human subject AKA the other half, wasn’t on hols with me!)

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Dramatic ochre cliffs crumble and tumble into the deep blue waters below. The sunny April day was a perfect temperature for the climb.

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Along the way I spotted secluded little coves without a tourist in site, eroded rocks created bridges and pools while the sandy cliff path kept on winding its way ahead of me.

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It really was a beautiful walk.

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I barely passed a soul as I trekked along the cliff top. It felt like I had the Algarve to myself.

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It got a bit hairy in some places where the path had literally dropped into the sea, leaving just a tiny section to inch your way along.

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But before long I had sight of the populated Albuferia town beach. A huge stretch of sand that is accessed via a tunnel from the old town. Here’s the steps down from the cliff I had just crossed.

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It was back to civilisation and goodbye to the empty rugged glories of the lonely cliff top.

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My destination was the old town of Albuferia.

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On the look out for my favourite snaps of peeling paint, old doors and architecture. The town perches on top of the cliff, all white cubes and parasols.

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Next up, some snaps from the old town!

Algarve memories

Fresh from a week’s break with family in Albuferia, a bustling part of Portugal’s Algarve. Ten of us rocked up to the very swish Villa Bosque with its own private pool and spacious living quarters.

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Set down a quiet residential street it is just minutes from the main drag of Praia d’Oura with all its restaurants, supermarkets and “The Strip” the long street of bars.

It was ideally placed for the beach too, about 15 minutes walk. Perfect!!
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With tiny nippers in tow it was ideal for youngsters with a heated pool and lots of garden space to whizz around in.

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Here is a rare glimpse of my younger sister taking to the water!!

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Meanwhile I take it easy and put my feet up! (Fear not, it was only for arrival day – I was soon on the touring rampage, camera in hand)

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We took a stroll down to Praia D’Oura beach, a pleasant crescent of sand with some of the Algarve’s trade mark yellow ochre cliffs tumbling down to the sea.

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Later on in the holiday I take a hike around the cliff headland in the distance to Albuferia old town and its huge beach.

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But just for the first day we take a well earned rest (or I do – grandma has her hands full!)

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Beautiful Brixham

Our cosy caravan home from home was situated just above the lovely little town of Brixham.

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It is thought that the name ‘Brixham’ came from Brioc’s village. ‘Brioc’ was an old English or Brythonic personal name and ‘-ham’ is an ancient term for village.

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The sunshine came out in force for our trot around the little village. Flotilla’s of boats bobbed on the water and my favourite little turnstones were flocking around looking for easy snacks.

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In the Middle Ages, Brixham was the largest fishing port in the south west of England. Known as the ‘Mother of Deep-Sea Fisheries’, its boats helped to establish the fishing industries of Hull, Grimsby and Lowestoft.

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According to random fact manufacturer Wikipedia, in the 1890s, there were about 300 trawling vessels in Brixham, most of which were individually owned.

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Its harbour is still a bustling place with plenty of activity.

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One of the main tourist attractions is the replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship the Golden Hind that is permanently moored there.

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You can take a little tour around the ship if you fancy yourself as a bit of a mariner.

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Alternatively you can just take a stroll along the habour and enjoy the fishing tackle, or take a ferry over to Torquay for the day.

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That’s it for Devon folks. Next up I’ll be detailing my latest trip, a family holiday to the sunny Algarve.

Teignmouth

On route back to the caravan we took in the sights of pretty Teignmouth. The first record of Teignmouth, Tengemuða, meaning mouth of the stream, was in 1044 (according to Wikipedia!! – warning most of the “facts” in this post are mainly nicked from it as I am in hurry!!)

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There were originally two villages, East and West Teignmouth, separated by a stream called the Tame, which emptied into the Teign through marshland by the current fish quay

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During the 17th century, in common with other Channel ports, Teignmouth ships suffered from raids from Dunkirkers which operated as privateers from Flemish ports.

It is possible that smuggling was the town’s most significant trade at this time, though cod fishing in Newfoundland was also of great importance.

Short and sweet post! Catch you later readers!

Slapton sands and naturists

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After the hustle and bustle of touristy Dartmouth we had a complete change of scene at the wild and empty beach at Slapton Sands.

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I found an impressively huge piece of sculptural driftwood on the beach. More of a drift truck really!

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Cue a lot of pictures of the tree from a varity of angles . . .

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We had the expanse of beach virtually to ourselves. Very serene and peaceful.

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Word of warning, Slapton does have a spot for naturists! So don’t be too alarmed if you see people letting it all hang out . . . thankfully it was a little too cold for anyone to be nude when we visited (I wouldn’t know where to look!!)

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Dartmouth

Dartmouth is set on the western bank of the estuary of the River Dart and is a picturesque, colourful harbour town.

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Dartmouth was of strategic importance as a deep-water port for sailing vessels. The port was used as the sailing point for the Crusades of 1147 and 1190.

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These days it still attracts vessels of all sizes but more important, to the economy, are the hordes of tourists that descend into the winding little streets every day.

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Away from the consumer hordes you can still find a little oasis of calm such as this back street church. Its slumbering inhabitants rest unperturbed by the bank holidaymakers above ground.

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The headstones seem to be make of slate and are delicately weathered by the decades since their namesakes passed on.

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Back on the water a flotilla of boats are preparing to take part in an energetic race.

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Their names evoke speed, ferocity and steely determination to win at all costs!

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Regardless of who wins, I love the spectacle of the sleek boats nestled up in a line, ready to go.

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From boats to heraldic crests, there is a weathy of little details dotted all over Dartmouth for the happy snapper to grab shots of!

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The habour side is awash with candy coloured houses. A pretty postcard scene.

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Here are a few more of the vivid homesteads. All offering a nice shot of colour against a grey day.

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Next up we’re off to see some lovely wild beaches at Slapton Sands.

 

Quaint little Cockington

Back to the Easter break catch up! On-route to the caravan in Brixham we take a little detour to the delightful little village of Cockington. It’s a place that I remember fondly from when I was a nipper.

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It’s just a handful of buildings but each of the dwellings are delicious little confections topped with thatch.

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According to Wikipedia the village was probably founded 2,500 years ago during the Iron age with evidence of two hill forts on either side of Cockington valley.

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The first official documentation of the village was in the 10th century.

The manor was owned by Alric the Saxon, before William Hostiarus, William de Falesia and Robery FitzMartin, who passed it down to his son Roger, who renounced his name to become Roger de Cockington.

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I love the little marshmallow houses with their intricate thatched tops. Combined with the presence of palm trees it makes for an oddly surreal scene.

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Below you can see the traditional stocks being put to good use with a variety of troublesome rabble rousers.

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Here we are in a rare coupled up moment!! Admittedly we had to be put in the stocks to get us together. . .

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And for comparison’s sake, here is the last time I sat in those stocks! With the little sister barely able to see over the top! Probably taken in about 1987. Loving our matching knitwear (thanks grandma!)

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A few final glimpses of the fairy tale cottages before we head off to the caravan.

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Grey Torbay days

Easter break means extra days off! Whoopie! So which part of the globe did we whizz off to this time? A sunny beach? A chic city? Nope – Torbay!!

Torbay spans the towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham located around an east-facing natural harbour (Tor bay) on the English Channel.

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Not quite the most glamourous of destinations it has to be said but I have lots of happy memories of the area, especially Torquay as I spent every summer holiday here for several years.

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In the twenty years since I have been to Torquay it has seen many changes including a giant wheel over looking the harbour, but many things have stayed the same.

Here’s a multitude of colourful fishing nets and lobster pots. I love the variations that can be found in even the most mundane of everyday items.

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It might not rival the more glamorous harbours of the world that I have seen such as Cannes, Portifino and others, but Torquay still shares the same sense of hustle and bustle.

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Here’s the Torquay eye giving a panoramic view over the whole spectacle.

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Here’s the Western Lady, the little ferry boat that plies its trade between Torquay and Brixham. It’s a steal at £1 each way and takes a leisurely half hour to travel between the two places.

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Few more floaty boaties in the harbour here.

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And here’s a few more glimpses of the huge wheel.

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Then we have a quick potter around the little French market that has set itself up along the harbour edge. It’s a tiny little taste of the continent.

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Some of my favourite things ever are the array of colourful soaps. I’ve got very similar photos from Nice market in the South of France.

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The variety on offer is staggering with every flavour and perfume.

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However by far the most typical perfume from the region is lavender. Whether in soap or in cute little bags.

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Here’s a few more snaps from the market. Delicious doughnuts from cake stall and mountains of revolting olives!!!

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I have tried to like the vile little blobs of grimness. Heaven knows I have tried!! But they are too slippery, too salty and just too darn yucky! However they are very photogenic.

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Even if they flavour them with peri peri or any other spice. They still look look like balls of unpleasantness to me ..  .

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Here’s garlic prawns. I wonder if they were hauled out of the local sea? Somehow I very much doubt it.

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And finally from the market some sculptural artichokes.

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Then it’s off for a bracing walk around the harbour. Even though it’s a cold, grey day there are still a few flashes of colour.

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Boats and rope and wheels and sharp angles galore!!

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Not all the boats are quite as glamourous however. The Mary Anne has probably seen better days but has a wealth of interesting, rusty features.

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The underbelly of the pier also looks like it’s seen better days. How it holds up the tourists I am not entirely certain.

P1030558Finally we finish up with a trip back in time as Neil finds himself in a perilous situation . . .

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Next up we head to our home for three days. Four adults in a caravan in Brixham . . . ah the glamour!!!