The temperature here has been soaring lately – it’s regularly 32 – 34 degrees – and it’s only the beginning of May!
Sometimes it can be nice to go and lie on a beach and enjoy the sun – but equally it can be a real treat to find somewhere cooler to go and relax for while. When the temperature starts to soar, you can usually find us in our car driving up to Monchique to cool off a bit! I’ve previously blogged about the town of Monchique before – you can read about it here Spotlight on Monchique
This time we decided to drop off at Caldas de Monchique on the way, and avoiding the usual tourist venues, we walked up to the peaceful and tranquil wooded picnic area above the main square.
The air here just seems fresher and cooler, the area is not huge, but it has so many wonderful ancient trees that the canopy just seems to cool you as you walk up the stone steps and start exploring.
There are lots of twists and turns and tucked away corners to explore – and always another enticing set of steps calling you forward:
The area is mostly occupied by local people at the weekend, all with their own picnic – often complete with portable charcoal barbecue – with children running around freely and exploring. During the week, it is a much calmer and more tranquil place.
There are so many pretty little sights to enjoy, it’s a place that makes you want to slow down – or even stop completely – and just relax, listen to the trickling water, and watch how the light changes and highlights even the smallest things.
There is also a very nice pond, where the light always seems to reflect the foliage so beautifully, and where the white lilies grow in abundance:
The area is scattered with natural stone and wood seating, ideal for a picnic or even just a rest and a slurp of cold water from the Monchique spring fresh water outlet tucked away in the hillside!
The trees here really are spectacular, soaring into the sky, with enormous solid trunks – look out for the most impressive one that curls right over:
And after you have explored and enjoyed the greenery and peace, it’s time for a cold drink – we went to O Tasco – it’s always a challenge to balance on a tree trunk and have a drink whilst still trying to muster a modicum of poise!
Our favourite restaurant was unfortunately closed (on a Sunday!) – we love sitting under the parasols at Restaurant 1692 and watching the world go by – the chairs are comfier too!
And then it was time to head off up to Foia – another favourite spot for us when the temperature is soaring – there is always a breeze at the top, and with such spectacular views from the summit, it’s always worth the drive:
It’s also fun to look back down on Portimão and the surrounding area, and think ‘our house is down there somewhere!’
The area is covered in small stone statue sculptures – this really seems to have taken off in the last year or so, and the area is covered with them now – I love spotting ones that remind me of someone or something – this one in the middle here instantly made me think of Bungle from Rainbow – that’s just aged me nicely hasn’t it!?
And now it’s time to share a secret with you … our favourite place in the whole of the Algarve to enjoy piri-piri chicken … an unassuming little restaurant just below Foia called ‘A Rampa’
In the summer months you can sit out on their little terrace and unwind with a drink and couvert whilst your chicken is cooking – the cheese is delicious:
And then the main event arrives – piri-piri chicken that is so delicious and juicy it is a marvel and a delight to behold:
Yes – hang on a minute – I know what you are thinking – there are only 2 of you … yep – that’s right – that whole plate of chicken is for 2 …
And as you can see – it all disappeared too!
The view from the terrace is spectacular as the sun sets – and the perfect place to sit back and relax – and after eating all that chicken – that’s about all you can do!
Although strangely enough – there always seems to be room for a pudding too! This one is a local treat – made of Bolachas (biscuits) and cream – outrageous!
All that – including couvert, drinks, main course and desserts for 2 people, for 34.50 Euros. Without the couvert, the main course of piri-piri chicken is 9 Euros a head.
After that it was time to wend our way home, watching the sun set as we drove back down the hill. The prefect – cool – day out!