Albufeira marina, or Legoland
Monday 21st October
We took the ebb tide out from Culatra, leaving around 2 hours before low water. Once the anchor was up we were soon being taken by the tide down towards the exit. Following the leading lines gave us at least 2m under the keel at all times. When we turned south towards the exit the tide increased a little with a few swirls of unsettled water but nothing bad and a short stretch of chop at the exit as the incoming swell met the outgoing tide.
There wasn't much wind so we motored on, the wind was just increasing as we arrived at Albufeira and tied up to the reception pontoon. A bit of faff getting a berth; we decided to go and check the one being given having been warned that the spaces were quite tight. Lucky we did as there was a boat in it with their dinghy tied on the side blocking the space next to them too. If we'd come straight here with Emerald we'd have been stuck with so little room to turn in a boat that just doesn't do tight spaces.
So a new berth, we went to check this one first too but it was better than the first with more roomfor manoeuvre. However when we tried to make the turn into the finger berth we couldn't get the bow around; our friend Rene appeared and after a bit of rubbish line throwing from me, we got a bow line to him to give us a pull around so we could then motor forward.
Monday to Friday 25th October
The weather has gone a little down hill with a few days of rain, some thunder and a bit of stronger wind, although there has been dryer spells where we've been able to get out and explore the town.
Albufeira is the most popular resort in the Algarve so we weren't sure what to expect. The marina is surrounded by 'Legoland', apartment blocks in different pastel shades; they're certainly colourful! Beyond them the effects of the slump can be seen with rows of unfinished building work lining the hillside. There are lots of empty shop units lining the marina as well as a handful of bars and cafes, the rain not really helping business at the moment.
It's a 15 minute walk into the town past traditional Portuguese cottages then along a walkway high above the sea. Seating areas and viewing platforms dot the route and bars and restaurants take over from houses the nearer to town you get. The buildings are all low rise with most of the package holiday hotels outside the town. There are plenty of Brits (and other nationalities) here but out of the main season the place isn't too crowded. There are plenty of tourist tat shops lining the cobbled pedestrian streets through the town, more restaurants and rows of bars blasting out music. The old town is a complete contrast with narrow winding roads between older houses and free from tourist trappings.
Old town streets
In between the rain we had a good walk along the beach heading east towards Praia da Oura. The beach ends at a rocky bluff with footpaths leading over it to some interesting rock formations - arches, blowholes and overhangs. The path gets narrow in places and there are points where there is only a thin bridge of rock underneath your feet, with the sea doing its best to wear that away too.
Walk to Praia da Oura
We had a night out with friends starting with good, straight forward food, €10.50 for the tourist menu of soup, main and pudding with half a bottle of wine and coffee. Colin got a huge portion of creme brulee! Then we checked out the bars looking for some music and found a street lined with bars with lots of people sat outside listening to an Irish guy playing acoustic guitar and singing using a wireless mike so he could wander around us all. We managed to find some seats and were well entertained, he really knew how to work the crowd and seemed to enjoy what he was doing even though he does it night after night.
The Portuguese name a lot of their streets after people - this one made me giggle (he has a villa near here).