Christmas in Finland and New Places in Algarve

I have been a very lazy writer the past two months… I’ll try to recap some of the stuff that has happened since the last post and tell you a little about my future plans as well.

Christmas in Finland

I mentioned in my previous post that I would spend most of December in Finland. And I did. It was really nice to be with Elina again. I stayed at her place for the three weeks. Four months is a really long time to be apart. But I guess getting through that probably made us as stronger – both as a couple and as individuals. We spent Christmas eve with her extended family and it was one of the most fun Christmases I can remember.

It was wonderful to see family and friends too. We had the Christmas party for our “dude club” in Helsinki. I really enjoyed seeing them again.

Also spending some days with my sister’s family and especially my nephew was so much fun. I hadn’t realized how much I missed everyone. Even working from the office for about two weeks was really enjoyable, because it gave me a chance to see my colleagues face-to-face again.

The seven non-inked brothers, the dudes

The weather played along nicely too. It just started getting cold when I was on my way back here again. Most of the time the temperature stayed between -5 and -10 degrees so I didn’t get badly climate shocked.

Return to Portugal and first impressions of Algarve

As I got back to Portugal on January second and had some hassle with the taxi driver who brought me from the airport to the garage where Naranja spent Christmas. The driver told me at the airport that he would charge a regular meter fare, but when we got to the garage, what he asked me to pay was ten times that… I haggled and even threatened to call the cops. In the end I handed the driver a 50€ bill and got out of the cab angrily. It was still more that three times the normal fare, but I was too tired to fight any longer.

After I got Naranja back I just drove to Caparica for the rest of the work week. Then I headed down south to a nice campsite in Albufeira where I got sick right after getting there. I even missed a couple of work days. Luckily the fever only lasted for three days. When I started feeling better, I went to have a look at the city too. A lot of British tourists there. Seemed almost like it was their colony. I’ve never been to Ibiza, but that’s how I imagine it being.

I headed to Lagos next for two days. The first night the cops woke me up after 11 PM when I was sleeping in a residential area parking lot. They told me to move over to the supermarket parking lot nearby. They claimed that sleeping on public parking spots was not allowed. I tried to protest and tell them that normally one night has been ok everywhere as long as everything stays inside the van. They disagreed, so I took a ride to the supermarket and slept rest of the night there. Lagos was really pretty. I might go for another visit later.

After that I have mainly stayed on a large free parking lot in Sagres. There are two surf spots close by and about 50 other vans/mobile homes here. It has a bit similar feeling to the now closed hippie park in Baleal. There are a lot of retired people here so the average age is higher. There’s a small campsite close by that offers fresh and waste water services for everyone for a couple of euros. AND, the weather here has been amazing the past week now too – close to 20 degrees Centigrade and sunny every day.

Sagres parking
Sports news

I have not enjoyed a lot of good waves here so far. The Tonel-side has been mainly too big for me and the Mareta-side too small. I’ve tried the latter mentioned twice so far and it has still been fun. Can’t say the same about Tonel though. I got beaten up pretty badly there once. No injuries luckily, but a couple of really close calls and I did not get a single wave there. I haven’t tried surfing in Beliche, another spot close by yet, but I might have a go at it this weekend.

I’ve been running more now again and it feels really good. There’s a nice 5K route here that I have done twice this week already. I hope to get a good rhythm for that again, since the past couple of months have been pretty sporadic. The weather makes a big difference with running motivation too.

Surf skating has not been on program lately. As you can guess from the picture above, the cobblestones are a problem. This whole area seems to be like that. There are some streets not too far that have good asphalt, but so far I’ve been too lazy to walk there.

Future plans

Even though the disappointing surf so far, I’m going to stay around here for another four weeks. Then Elina is flying over for about ten days and I will drive to Lisbon to pick her up from the airport. I’m not sure what we will do after that yet. I have a week off work then too. We might drive to Baleal first for a visit at least. That’s my home away from home here still. If the weather looks better down here, we might drive over as well. We’ll see.

I might take a drive to Spain for a few days in two weeks. There’s a meeting for Finnish vanlifers that I already signed up for. Now I’m having some doubts about going again since it’s a four hour drive one way and even though there would probably be cool things to see along the road (Gibraltar is not too far for example), it just feels like a too long trip. I will decide what to do about that next week.

I’m also getting another visit in the end of March from two of my friends (they are both in the first picture in this post). They both surf too, so that will be the main event during that week. We are still considering spots where to go. Sagres is high on the list right now. If the surfing here doesn’t get better, we may have to consider other options too. They both have been to Baleal many times so they are not so much into going there. Surfing wise that probably is the best spot, but there are other aspects to consider too.

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