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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

23rd April, 2018

After a quiet, calm passage over from the mouth of the Guadalquivir river basin overnight, we found the sun rising to reveal a beautiful Monday morning over the Portuguese Algarve coast. As our passengers sat happily munching their breakfasts, we sailed a few miles up the estuary to our berth, situated conveniently in between Portimao and Praia de Rocha. All fast at 08:00, several eager passengers went off to explore the towns and coastline, with others taking our organised tours further afield to highlights such as Lagos.

The sun shone for much of the day, which prompted me to prepare a bicycle and do some exploring myself. I headed off shortly after a very large lunch, in order to try and work it off. My completely ad-hoc route took me first along the coast, past several bars & restaurants where holidaymakers – most of them British, it seemed – were taking advantage of the sunshine and early season deals.

There was a pleasant cycle track for me to follow along the beachfront, with only two design flaws: 1) It often ended abruptly, leaving the confused cyclist (me!) with steep staircases to negotiate, full of tourists eager to either get down to the beach or back to a hostelry; and 2) the cycle track was far better paved than the surrounding hop-scotch cobbles, so all available pedestrians preferred to use it as well.

After the track ended and - so it seemed - the stairs, I decided to venture inland, where I found a pleasant country lane to follow for a few miles. Meandering in between fields green with spring growth, I was perfectly contented in my own little world until suddenly realising I was being funnelled onto a dual carriageway leading to a large bridge across the river. With thoughts reminiscent of my cycle experience in Rouen during last year’s May Bank Holiday mini-cruise (for those of you who remember…) I abruptly turned about and cycled back from whence I came. Only a few drivers’ horns sounded this time…

Safely back on board an hour or so later, the famous afternoon tea had commenced so I sat amongst passengers chatting about their experience ashore in Portimao. One lovely couple, who’d been enjoying the sunshine, told me that they had a wonderful time venturing to the beach, and had enjoyed an ice cream whilst walking along the cycle track.

Captain Kim Tanner

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