Tuesday, 14 June 2016

SILVES, FARO | PORTUGAL


NIGHT 1
We arrived in Portugal in the late hours of the night and really didn't know what to expect. All we knew was that we were staying in a Medieval town called Silves and we were not close to the Sea (My bad, ha). When we arrived we were completely astounded with how beautiful it was. Silves is so beautiful when it's lit up at night. It reminded me of Malta at night, but prettier as it's more peaceful and has the river and castle lit up also. 

We dropped off our bags, went to the hotel bar for a drink and then hunted down some food. We flew with Ryanair so didn't eat because the menu was not vegan-friendly (unless you want chips or peanuts - as even the crisps had milk in) and not cheap either. We found our 'local' for the holiday, which was a place called 'Art'aska' and settled there until the early hours, just chatting, drinking and eating Paulo's parsley and garlic potato wedges (Paulo is our favourite barman in the world). 

One of the things I adore about the Mediterranean lifestyle is that when the weather gets a bit warmer everyone sits outside until the early morning and people eat a lot later in the day. In places like Spain and Portugal, the average dinner time is around ten o'clock at night whereas the average is England is about six o'clock and I much prefer the former so I felt right at home instantly! It was also so lovely to come for a thunderstorm in England to an evening warm enough to walk alongside the river in our T-shirts. 

DAY 1 
The first half of day one was spent in Bed because we had such a late one and been travelling for hours. We got up and went to the Supermarket to get some supplies for our picnic on the balcony. We bought tomatoes, french baguette, gherkins, pickled asparagus, olives, olive oil and fruit. We made sandwiches and had some wine on the balcony just chatting away to our hearts content. I feel so lucky to have met someone who enjoys deep, long chats as much as I do - I knew this anyway, but it became extra prominent on these holidays and made me feel super grateful. After our lovely picnic. There is usually a huge strain on spending lots of money when you're on holiday but, if you want to travel often, this just isn't practical. I would choose a lunch on the Balcony with good company and food you had chosen any day anyway personally. There is nothing nicer than your own homemade ambiance. 

Before we got ourselves spruced up for the evening, we went for a swim and picked a lemon off the ground from the lemon tree. This sounds like such a small thing, but it actually meant the world to me. I love getting my food straight from the land. It is how it should be. I used to live in Spain and have spent lot's of time in Lincolnshire, which is the British farming county, so this is probably where this has stemmed from. Love and passion are by-products of your experiences, which is another reason why I love travel so.

We went for a nice dinner in this cute little place with delicious cocktails for just four euros. It's safe to say I have found a new favourite cocktail called 'Caipirao', made with herbal liquor, mint, brown sugar and lime juice. It's actually one of the most delicious drinks on the face of this earth. We enjoyed our Mediterranean roasted vegetables and homemade potatoes and then headed back round the corner to Paulos (Art'aska). In Art'aska we ended up making friends with a group of people from all over, we had people from Amsterdam, Lisbon, Silves and some that had just got back from Italy. It was so fun being back with lots of bilingual people, with sweet individuals who just get it. We then ended up getting invited back for a pool party with a group of locals! 

The pool party was fun. Ben and his friends had a great time swimming (I had white knickers on so it was a real no go - haha!) and we all chatted until the Sun was coming up. It's amazing how you can fly to a place and expect your views and outlooks to be completely different, as they sometimes can be in your own country, yet you manage to find a room full of people who are like-minded and think the same way as you do. After the pool party we walked 'home' hand in hand to the hotel as the Sun was setting on the beautiful river and it really brought it home how pretty this Earth truly is and how I need to be out there appreciating it far more that I have been back home. 

We also got to see the famous Storks up close and personal. Storks fly from Africa, but as it is warmer in recent years they have decided to stay put in Portugal and their nests are everywhere. On top of lampposts, roofs and signs. Their nests can weigh up to two tonnes so they're not small. There is a story in Portugal about a Stork that once got caught in the power line and left everywhere from Lisbon south without electricity. So, now the Portuguese say that if they were to ever go to war they would send just two Storks! I also loved seeing these birds from a British, Vegan perspective. If these birds were to be in England, People would be trying to 'get rid of them' due to this whole mentality of ownership and things being 'your property'. I dislike that attitude immensely and love that the Portuguese respect, love and choose to live harmoniously alongside nature. 

DAY 2 
We took a little mosey up to the Castle and had a look round. The views were remarkable and the grounds were so pretty. We went to the pretty little Cafe in the Castle grounds for some breakfast but ended up with the worst olives I have ever tasted in my life and a detox smoothie which was actually very nice. We had planned to have a proper breakfast but, unfortunately, everything on the menu had milk in it! Even the chips?! AND even all the salads had yoghurt dressing on them - lot's of things seem to be pre-made in the restaurants there. The waiter was extremely nice and apologetic so I have nothing bad to say about this place and if you aren't vegan then you may well enjoy it thoroughly as venue and location-wise, it is the perfect spot!

Due to the fact we did not get a successful meal in the Castle, we walked down the beautifully cobbled streets of Silves in search of another restaurant. We decided to do some 'Earthing' at this point and it felt amazing. I have done this a few times before in my life in other places, but it is one of my favourite things to do. If you don't know what Earthing is: It is the process of absorbing the Earth's free flowing electrons from its surface through the soles of one's feet. Shoes prevent you from doing so and it isn't as fun in places like the UK where it so often cold and rainy so we were in absolute heaven and felt revived after this! Silves really enabled me to get my hippy' on and for that, I am eternally grateful as I needed that back in my life.

We ate some pasta in a nice little restaurant opposite 'Snack Bar' then headed back to the hotel and spent the night chatting about all different things, enjoying some drinks and listening to endless songs on the balcony whilst overlooking the beautifully lit views until the early morning. Travel allows you time to think, open your mind and expand it. I had free flowing ideas constantly while away and this is why we do it, this is why we wander.

DAY 3 
For day three, we had a boat trip planned. So we woke up nice and early, had a shower and got dressed to go on our little adventure. We went to Portimao, which is about half an hours drive from Silves. Our boat trip started at 9:30 and ended at 13:00. All the staff onboard were very friendly and welcoming. You can get off the huge Pirate ship to go and look around the caves in a smaller boat so we did. The views were spectacular. I absolutely love being near water and the sound of the waves is my favourite sound on the planet so being inside the cool, quirky caves made me very happy. I thought Ben felt exactly the same, but he was less excited about it turns out he gets sea sickness from time to time. He didn't say anything at the time though so I remained oblivious, for that I'm truly grateful. Ben pretending to be okay allowed me to enjoy the experience and be completely in the moment. This is why when you're not travelling solo, you should choose your travel partners wisely, a travel partner who is like minded and on the same level of you without any alter-agendas.

Anyway, I digress, after the Cave trip, we went back to Silves and chilled for a while. We then got ready to go out for the evening. We went for dinner near the Castle in a beautiful place called 'Cafe Ingles'. They made all of their food from scratch with fresh produce. So we managed to get a cheeseless pizza, pasta, and fries to share. The atmosphere was perfect, the service was perfect and the food was pretty good too, so that was a winner!

After our meal, we headed to Art'aska (AKA Paulos) and met up with some of our new friends. I found our time with them so much fun as they were decent, honest and HILARIOUS individuals with open minds and intelligent ideas. We carried on the night with theses guys and ended up going to another place after Paulos and boogieing the night away. I laughed a lot, I had a lot of fun and I felt truly happy and content the whole way through. Silves is amazing and the people are too. 

DAY 4
Ben and I literally spent the whole day in our room having deep conversations about this, that and everything. I feel like we never run out of things to say to each other and we both entertain each other no end. So that was super duper fun, especially if you know either of us and know how much we love a good chin-wag! Ha! Later that evening we got ready to go for some goodbye drinks with our friends and one thing led to another...

We ended up going to Art'aska because they had live music playing and drinking until it was time for our flight. Even if you didn't drink, the atmosphere was amazing and lots of people weren't drinking. The music was a hybrid of reggae and some form of soul and the bank playing were called 'Mad Cat's'. The girl singing and the saxophone player both mesmerised me and it warmed my heart to see how much respect and admiration they all had for one another's talents. I felt sincerely sad to say goodbye to all the boys and girls we had met in Silves and that doesn't happen so often. In this hectic world you don't often find connections like these. What are the chances of two vegans meeting a bull fighting activist who has an impressive campaign plan? Or a man from Amsterdam when I have just been there and plan to spend a few months living there in the near future? Or someone training to be a TEFL teacher meeting someone who does a similar thing in Portugal. It is synchronisation at it's best my friend and that is why I love to travel! That is why I need to travel! 

This was the best holiday I have been on. Spending quality time with my Ben-Ben in such a B-E-A-U-TIFUL place was nothing less than magical from beginning to end. I feel like this holiday did wonders to my mental, spiritual and emotional health and I really appreciate how lucky I am to have shared this holiday with such great company. Nothing but sweet, good vibrations. 

Peace out Potatoes xo

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1 comment

  1. I love all the photos you shared here. It seems like you had a fantastic break in Faro. I love Portugal so much and their food hehehe.

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