A Sunny Saturday in Malmo

We did have a lovely day today in Malmo and have all concluded that this is a really lovely City.  It is small enough to be able to walk everywhere but big enough to have all the City facilities you expect to find.  It seems friendly, relaxed and laid back.  The sunshine and bright blue sky definitely helped make today one of our favourites of our Scandinavian sojourn.

My eating this month has definitely been vegetarian rather than vegan.  I partly blame being on holiday but in truth, I find it hard to be vegan, even though I am convinced it is a better way to eat, for health, for the environment and for animals.  Sticking to any type of diet is hard on holiday but I decided to try eating vegan all day, to see how I got on and because once back at home, I am being really strict again.

Breakfast was easy, plus I knew what to expect so was prepared when I went downstairs.  I began with fresh fruit.  Followed by black coffee, orange juice and granola with vanilla soya yogurt and strawberry compot.  We did a lot of walking today.  After dropping the bikes back, we walked over to the Ribersborg Kalbadhus, the Cold Baths or Kallis as the locals call it. It has been opened since 1892.  It seems to be open all year round.  

This is a classic wooden bath house, where women go in to the right and men to the left.  In here you can have a sauna, swim in the sea, sunbathe or just relax on the wooden decks.  Being such a sunny day, it was very busy and I enjoyed the experience very much.  Harvey wasn’t old enough to go in ( he didn’t want to anyway) and Lara didn’t want to so they had drinks and waited in the sunshine on the open air sun deck.  Obviously I took no photos inside the baths but this is inside the building in the restaurant area.   

 Next was a long walk to Mollevang Square where I understood there to be a large market selling fruit and a variety of foods from around the world. In particular, there were lots of places selling falafells, allegedly.

 We walked past lovely old buildings and through parks.  
  To the square, by which time we were quite warm and I was thirsty after my sauna at the bath house.  Luckily there were lots of places to buy a drink.
The falafel places I had read about seemed to be inside kebab shops,so we had some fruit instead.  This man was giving away sweet juicey watermelon – thank you very much.  

Dill pickle anyone?  

 There was a lot of ripe and cheap fruit to buy and in the end I had a nectarine. 

    
 Next stop was a park nearby called Folkets Park, which had a large cafe so we settled in for lunch.

  I had checked  that there was no dairy in the lentil and beetroot salad I ordered but there was a small amount of cheese in it.  I ate it anyway but the lesson learnt was that it is difficult being vegan and travelling in a country with a different language.  I guess the thing to do would be to write out that you are following a restricted diet and list the foods you want to avoid so you can show it to waiting staff.  Then they can read it in their own language and you are not dependant on their English abilities.
   
The coffee was good and strong and as we planned the afternoon’s activities, we saw that we had done all the things on the must see/do list that we wanted to. 

 Apart from the mini golf and a drink on Lilla Torg.  So,we cracked on.  

    
 The mini golf was great fun (and not just because I won 😃👍) and when we handed back the clubs, I did indulge in an ice-cream.  Ben and Jerry’s make different flavours for the Swedes.  Many are the same but some are different and this was fantastic. 

   We walked a lot more, back towards the hotel.  Past statues,  

  Past lots of fountains,  

   a very quirky memorial in the form of sculpted shoes,  
 They were life size, as (nearly) modelled by Harvey!  

 We continued walking, past so many open air spaces where people could enjoy the sunny Saturday.  

   We finished our walkabout around Malmo at Lilla Torg, a pretty cobbled square with some buildings dating back to the 14th century. 

    
    
   One of my favourite shops. 

 Cold beer and peanuts  
 and a game of cards were a splendid end to a lovely day out.  

 I had already failed the challenge of eating like a vegan so I failed again at supper time.  The lentil and tomato soup must have had milk or cream in it.  

 The mayonnaise, cheese and butter with my main meal were another fail.  I wasn’t very hungry hence the small portion.  

 I finished with a tiny portion of chocolate brownie, another non vegan food.  This is a teaspoon on a side plate so it really was very small.  Can you travel and stick to a vegan diet? Yes of course you can, but it requires discipline and planning ahead.  I am good at planning but hopeless with discipline.

We finished the evening with another round of cards in the hotel lobby.

We head home tomorrow after what has been a very interesting and in the main, extremely enjoyable holiday.  The jury is out on whether our favourite city was Copenhagen or Malmo.  It was not Gothenburg which was worth a visit but not somewhere I would rush back to.  I would like to go back to Copenhagen as we were only there for 24 hours.  When I do go back, I am popping on the train to Malmo to go to the cold baths again.

  

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Cycling around Malmo

It was sunny today with blue skies and we made the most of it by hiring bikes and cycling around.  We have reflected over supper, that Malmo is a fantastic city, it would be an easy place to live and we all have sore bums so need to cycle more!

Our first stop was at an incredible building called the ‘Turning Torso’.  This is Scandinavia’s tallest building (190 metres high) and it twists 90  degrees from the base to the top.  
    
   The architecture around here is fascinating and I loved it.  Some was quirky.  Most was very aesthetically pleasing.   

   This area is known as the Western Harbour and is a popular residential district and no wonder why.  The buildings are modern, filled with light and laid out around open spaces.

  
 There is a fantastic supermarket on site too which reminded me of Wholefoods.  It was laid out and decorated in a way that made you want to browse.  Mary Portas would have approved.   

 They had several in store eating areas too;  a coffee shop, a buffet and a bar!  Plus of course, as we are in Scandinavia, a huge crispbread selection!!   

 They even do local deliveries, the environmentally friendly way.  Another  reason why this would be an amazing place to live …… It’s beside the sea 😃   

  In the distance is the bridge to Copenhagen.  
 There were numerous wide open spaces for sitting and relaxing , accessing the sea and cycling around!

  
 Cycling is really popular in Sweden and we had cycle paths to ride on everywhere we went.  Luckily none of our bikes ended up in the sea like this one.  We cycled along the length (and back ) of Ribersborg beach.  2 km of sandy beach leading in to very clear waters and studded with numerous piers which were wonderful for walking along, sitting on or just using to access the sea.

This is the bathing house where you can have a sauna and then bathe in the sea water. There is a male half and a female half as you have to go in the nude! I would love to do that but both children are horrified at the prospect but I may go tomorrow.  Alone.   

 These little piers were wonderful.  

  The Baltic Sea is much warmer then the icy Atalntic we swam in from Praia da Luz in Portugal.  
    
 Next stop was the Malmo museum and castle which housed an aquarium and a fascinating exhibit about the time in 1945 when the castle housed refugees from the concentration camps.  I am not usually a fan of aquariums as I prefer animals to live in their natural habitat but this was interesting and had lots of information about animal conservation.  They also only had smaller sea creatures who hopefully didn’t miss the wide open ocean spaces as much as the larger animals would have done.   

   This exhibit, of eels, made us giggle.  The effect of the glass was to make the person in the dome look much smaller than they really are.   

 So what can we do to conserve animals?  Stop eating them !  We ended our visit to the museum with an unexpectedly profoundly moving exhibit.  At the end of WW2, the castle in Malmo was used to provide a temporary home for hundreds of refugees who had managed to survive the concentration camps.  Here they were cleaned and given fresh clothes and help in finding other family members who survived and a safe place to recover until they could head home.  

There were a series of short films in various categories, for example, one was about a group of ladies who had been in a photo of them arriving at the castle and queuing to be given fresh clothes.  Many years later, a researcher wanted the names to go with the faces and found and interviewed some of the women about their experiences of arriving in Malmo.  

My favourite was the films interviewing the family of survivors, and hearing them talk of life with a family member who had survived such unspeakable atrocities.  It was very moving and is an aspect of survival from the camps that I had not thought much about before.  When we walked in to the useaum it was sunny and there was blue sky.  In fact when we had a break for a cup of tea and a sandwich it was blue skies and we sat outside.  However, and perhaps very appropriately, while we watched the films, there was a sudden storm and torrential rain which added to the drama of the real histories we were watching.  Unfortunately ,  despite the rain, we had to leave as the museum was closing so we had a very wet cycle back to the hotel.

I have realised I didn’t do any food shots today.  Well, I did a lot of cycling so the exercise box gets a large tick.  So too, I am ashamed to say, does the over eating box.  When you enjoy food as much as I do, breakfast and supper buffets are not a dieters friend but I must do better tomorrow!  I will leave you with a photo of one kitchen accessory I do not have; a large ring crispbread holder. This is on the supper counter of the hotels evening meal buffet. 

Have a happy evening.

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Gothenburg Archipelago and Open New Doors

Wow – what a day we had !  Stunning scenery and great food.  Trams, boats and hiking. Finding an Instagram restaurant I came here to try and liking it very much. 

We began, as usual with breakfast.  Fruit and a berry smoothie. Granola, yogurt and tea  
  Cheese roll.  It was a huge breakfast but not as bad as it looks because the crockery is actually very small. 
We then hopped on a tram to Saltholmen, gateway to Sodra Skargarden or the Southern Archipelago.  We caught the wrong boat, numerous times, but it didn’t actually matter.

  
I loved this watery landscape and the painted houses.
 
  
    
    
 We were trying to get to Branno but ended up in Styrso for a while.  It was very beautiful.

  
 We enjoyed a potter about while we waited for another boat,and eventually we made it to Branno but the wrong side of the island from where we wanted to be.    We arrived in Husvik but needed to be in Rodsten.  So,we walked across the island as it was only about 1 and a half miles from one port to the other.

Lots more pretty houses.
    
    

The weather turned rather wet so we decided to sit it out in the only cafe/restaurant/hotel on the island which is open all year round.

Branno’s Vardshus was very old fashioned and quaint.

  
  I think these tiled wood burning stoves are very attractive and they are also very effective at retaining and distributing heat. Fortified by a small cake and strong coffee, we continued walking and came to the one and only shop on the island. They do sell a wide range of crisbreads in Sweden, some of which are huge!  

As well as the restaurant and shop there was a museum which was closed, much to the relief of my children.

  
Some of the mailboxes were well decorated.

  
I should liven up my own at home.
   We were walking to a bicycle hire place beside the ferry port.  But when we got there it was unmanned and you had to text a number from a Swedish SIM card only.  All the bikes were there but chained up and we couldn’t get the code to release them.  I was so disappointed as I had been looking forward to cycling around this beautiful car free island.  So instead we hiked around it and what a pleasant surprise it was.  The centre of Branno had a huge lake and the landscape was filled with heather.  Purple everywhere, as far as the eye could see.  Annoyingly the spectacular photos I took will not load so I can’t share them but it was amazing.  We also walked through woodland and kept coming out to enjoy another lovely sea view.

  

It began raining quite heavily so we passed some time by hopping on and off boats.  The ticket we bought gives unlimited travel for 24 hours so we felt free to ge where we pleased.  We had long since given up any hope of understanding the bewildering time table so when a boat came we took it.  They were comfortable and there were spectacular views all the time.       Then the sun came out and it was just gorgeous.

  

  

  

  

I really loved this watery landscape with its smooth rocks, cute houses and little boats.  Most of the islands have no cars and there were few boats on the water so it was incredibly peaceful.  I would like to come here again.

We surprised ourselves by ending up back at Saltholmen where we caught a tram back to the city centre.  My mission was to find a vegan restaurant called Open New Doors and we found it 😍👍👏💃The trams are much easier to navigate then the boats!

  

 This place only opened a few weeks ago.  One of my favourite Instagram accounts is @loveliveraw and this is the third restaurant Erika has opened in just a year.  I find her very inspirational.The menu was very simple and luckily the waitress translated it for us.  Curious mix of languages on it!

  I love flavoured water and this was no exception. I had the salad which was very good; pear and walnut with a tahini dressing.
Harvey and Lara had the Mexican Stew, which was a mildly spiced bean stew, with a large salad, excellent guacamole, sweet corn and tortilla chips.  They both really enjoyed it.    

We could see our hotel from our table.  The location of OND was fabulous as it was on one of the bridges over the canal and with so much glass you had an amazing view.  We justified dessert because…… Well, because.  Yum !  A vegan chocolate tart which was chocolatey, creamy and coconutty.  Congratulations Erika, your IG account is great and so is the actual restaurant.
 So another day, very happily spent in Sweden.  Lots of walking done, too many sweet treats ( we had tea and cake on a boat too !!!) and lots of highly nutritious plant foods too.

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Chillaxing in Gothenburg

The weather was dreadful today – dull and raining.  So we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the hotel.

I started with a plate of fruit; watermelon, Galia melon, strawberries, grapes, pineapple and passion fruit.  
Followed by crackers, cheese, lettuce, beetroot, pickles and sprouts.

Then tea, coffee and toast with jam.  I definitely over ate but it was hard not to with such an amazing breakfast buffet.  

We donned our wet weather gear and headed off to the Goteborg City Museum ( Stadsmuseet). After the amazing ship museum in Stockholm last year, we wanted to see the only Viking ship on display in Sweden.  It was rather a disappointment though.

This is the Viking ship!   The rest of the Viking display was a bit brief.

There were some interesting sections about other periods in Gothenburg’s history and the building was lovely.  A beautiful space to shelter in from the rain.    

   
The rain stopped so we walked to a charming area of Gothenburg called Haga.

The cobbled streets contain an eclectic mix of old and new.   
  Cafe Husaren is well known for baking the biggest cinnamon buns in Sweden.   
  It was so huge we shared it. 
We all enjoyed pottering about in Haga.

  
   
There were some strange sights !

 
We walked back to the hotel through a park which had a canal along one side.   

 We pent a very relaxing afternoon in the spa at the hotel, making the most of the gymn, steam room, sauna, pool and relaxing room.  We were lucky no one else was around when we arrived because children under 16 are not allowed in and we should have paid £20 each for being there.  The kind lady who found us let us leave without charging us because the notices were only in Swedish.  So we had a lovely afternoon and felt very chilled by supper time.

We all decided we would rather have room service and snuggle up watching a film.  The room service was expensive so we popped out to a nearby supermarket.   They had an excellent salad buffet.   

They also had sweets and cookies but we would have had dessert in a restaurant so it wasn’t too bad for a holiday meal.  And no alcohol either. 
  Back to the hotel for supper and a movie in bed.  
Chillaxed 😃👍

 

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Copenhagen to Gothenburg

We are having a little Scandinavian sojourn and today we travelled, by train, from Copenhagen in Denmark to Gothenburg in Sweden.

This was our room at the Copenhagen Island hotel which as you can see, was on the water.   It was a bit further from the centre of town than I expected and the room rate didn’t include breakfast but other than that it was good.  The sunshine of yesterday was replaced by a thunderstorm with heavy rain.  We certainly had a good view of the storm as the lightning was in the sky just here.
  Instead of breakfast in the hotel, we walked to the train station and bought some food to eat on the train.  
  The train was delayed. And delayed. And delayed.  

 It eventually arrived and once on board, I had a hummus and salad sandwich which was very acceptable plus some almond tart and some marzipan.

Annoyingly, what should have been a direct train terminated at Malmo where we had to change as the first train was so delayed.  This station was so different to the wrought iron and glass vaulted grandeur of Copenhagen.  Malmo station was more like a concrete bunker.  There was a film playing all along the wall, showing the view from a train window as the train moved slowly along. It was surprisingly relaxing.

Apart  from an extraordinarily smelly tramp who was on the train for about an hour, the journey was very pleasant and passed without any more delays.

We were  staying in the Clarion Post hotel, a short walk away from the station.
Our hotel in Gothenburg was once the main post office.
  We settled in to our room, explored the hotel and set off for a walk.
We walked around the centre of town and came across this beautiful building.    Quite possibly the grandest food hall I have ever been in – and the most expensive ! Sweden ain’t cheap!
We had only eaten the sandwiches we had on the train so were all feeling hungry by about 5:30 pm so we took a table at ‘Bee Kok & Cafe’ outside the food hall for an early supper.  This pear cider was lovely; very light and refreshing.I had a vegetarian burger with the chips  it was served with and a large side salad.  It was excellent and Lara and Harvey enjoyed theirs too.

  We sat outside under the awning which just prevented us getting wet. It has been warm but cloudy with occasional showers.  A good meal was enjoyed by all.  No desserts or extras but we did stop at a 7 Eleven and bought some sweets for movie night in our hotel room.
    There are pretty canals near the hotel, trams, cobbled streets, flowers and grand old buildings.  So far it looks like a very pretty city.
Back at the hotel , the lobby contains a flattened postal van as wall art, and a reminder of the previous use of the building.  I keep hearing Michael Cain’s voice when I look at it ; ” you’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”  We like our room and had a relaxing evening, watching a film and of course, making full use of the wifi on various devices.
 

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Lyme Time

Summer isn’t summer without a trip to Lyme Regis so Harvey and I came down on Friday evening.  It was lovely to wake up in my sister Lucy’s beautiful house and know I had a family day ahead of me.   

   
My eating has been dreadful lately.  Stress levels are high and instead of being sensible and nourishing myself with the plant foods I know will help sustain me, I have been eating too many cakes and biscuits plus cheese.  So I am not showing you the huge amount I ate today but instead, here are some photos of a day spent with family.

It was sunny which is a treat for me as it usually rains when I am in Lyme.  Broadchurch fans may recognise this view which is  taken from the car park at Felicity’s farm shop.   It was the location for one of the scenes.  Lucy and I had a pleasant potter round the shops, looking for a present for cousin Miranda’s birthday which we were helping her celebrate that evening  

 A little bit of time for relaxing.   
    Hedgehog bread !
I took Harvey and his cousin Harry over to Sidmouth for the afternoon where we had a large lunch with Grandpa Ian and Helen.  Will these two ever stop major doing building building works to their lovely home ?
I seriously doubt it!  After being fed until we felt how a goose being prepared for foie gras must feel, I enjoyed a walk around the garden with Helen while the boys vegetated.   

    
    
   

  Busy boys ?

 
Helen gardened and Ian and I spent hours chatting which was just perfect – a long overdue proper catch up.

  

 In the evening we headed down to the Cobb.   

No trip to Lyme is complete without a trip here.

 

A lovely evening was had by all in the Harbour Inn with my sister Lucy and cousin Miranda’s family and Uncle Clive and Aunty Hillary.  A perfect end to a lovely day. 

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Back To The Plant Foods

I had such a lovely holiday in Portugal, I didn’t want it to end.  But like all good things in life, it did.  We had a lot of fun on our last day.

Racing Demons went down well and is a great card game to play with little people because the rules are quite simple to pick up.

racing demons We had a hilarious session of water olympics which involved different races on inflatables.all in he pool Sometimes I was laughing so hard I am quite relieved I didn’t drown laughing!water olympics 2 This villa was so well situated.cacyus It was literally on the beach.villa on beach L and F on beach The villa is the first white building on the right hand side of the photo.  It was so perfect because it was quiet at our end of the beach but the town was only a 10 minute walk away.praia and villaWe went down for our final sea swim but it was low tide which exposed the rocks which were not much fun to walk over to get in to the sea.rocks at low tide So swimming was abandoned and instead we enjoyed some time strolling around the beach and then went inside to get ready.sandcaste building casa do mar sign casa do mar villa We made the most of happy hour at the Mojito bar before supper.Mojitos After dinner we wandered back to where the trampolines and harnesses had been the day before but they had been replaced by a bucking bronco so the children went on that instead.bucking bronco Back at home I awoke to a very sunny day and was delighted to see my veggie patch had survived my absence.  The celery was looking fantastic and I managed to eat 3 bunches today.celery in veggie patch Lots of ripe yellow tomatoes.yellow tomatoes These went in to a pasta sauce.yellow toms The cucumbers were great too.cucumbers This does not look very appetising but it was very tasty.  I fried some red onion and garlic and added a large bunch of celery, an overgrown courgette and lots of yellow tomatoes.  When it was cooked through I blitzed it all in the blender and served it over two types of pasta and a simple salad.  Nearly all of this came from the garden.  It would look a lot more appetising if the tomatoes had been red.yellow pasta sauce I snacked on an apple and a banana during the day and for supper I made a delicious potato and celery soup.  I was inspired by some of the delicious vegetable soups I had enjoyed in Portugal.  I ate this with some garlic foccaccia and we are now watching a daft film and munching on some popcorn.celery and potato soup

We took the dogs for a walk and I spent a lot of time on my feet today.  With no alcohol and a predominantly plant based diet all day, I can certainly confirm that this was the healthiest day I have had in over a week.  Not the most fun but the healthiest.

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A Day At The Villa

We had a lovely lazy day at the villa.  It is such a beautiful place it seemed like a good idea to spend time in it.

Most mornings here have started cloudy but the wind soon blows the clouds away and we have long sunny days.clouds in Luz Our fab friends took all the children to a water park for the day so I had a very relaxing day.  It started with a walk along the beach with Lara and Flo’, which we can access by walking down some steps from the villa.praia at Luz Lunch was a simple salad, enjoyed with a glass of wine on the large terrace, where we can sit and look at the beach.casa9 Here is a little peak inside the villa.  This is the doorway from our room which leads to 2 other bedrooms.  All the bedrooms here have their own bathroom.casa 9 This is the room I am sharing with Lara and Harvey.  We all really like this room because it is so large and spacious.  It has a really high ceiling, 2 massive wardrobes, wooden floor and lots and lots of space.casa 8 It has a huge en suite bathroom with itcasa 7 which includes a sunken marble bath!casa 10

There are lots of practical spaces in this villa such as this always sunny courtyard with miles of washing line in it.

casa 5 There is the “posh lounge” which we have rarely used actually.  It is a beautiful room and has a large round table in one corner (out of shot of this photo) which is perfect for evening card games.casa 6 There are many long corridors inside the villa.  This villa was once 2 fisherman’s cottages which were extended substantially.  It is actually badly designed with lots of wasted space but so much of the design is good that this is a pleasure to stay in.  I really love it here and will be very sad to leave.  This is the corridor from the day lounge and dining room to the kitchen.casa 4 The dining room and beyond the entrance hall.casa 3 The day lounge.casa 2This is a charming space I really like the shape and ambience of.caso 1 After a lazy day which involved 2 swimming trips to the sea, a snooze and some reading time, our fab friends return and we headed off to the Mojito bar.Mojito 2 Happy hour :-)Mojito 1 They are very potent these Mojitos but luckily the restaurant is a short stagger over the road.Paraiso 6The Paraiso restaurant is not the best for food, in my opinion.  It is fine and seems to have plenty of options for the meat eaters but their vegetarian options are very limited.

However, it has the best location which is on the beach so when the kids are bored of our chit chat they can go and play.  It also has a large and airy veranda which makes it extremely comfortable to sit out in as some other restaurants, such as Chicca’s, the lovely Italian, have better food but are not in such a good location.Paraiso 5

I had vegetable soup with a bread roll and cheese, chips and garlicky spinach.
paraiso 4 These 2 handsome fellows had a Cataplana which is a Portuguese dish with clams and prawns.paraiso 2 Another good evening was had by all but we did not head straight back to the villa after dinner.Paraiso 1 The children went jumping.jumping 4 jumping 3 jumping 2 And tumbling.jumping 1 Amazing who you meet on holiday.The Simpsons

I feel so blessed and lucky to have had such a wonderful day in this lovely place with my family and fab friends.  I wish we could do the whole week again.

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Monchique and Lagos

What a completely fabulous couple of days we have had.  They have not been so good for the diet and they have not been very vegan either.  Vegetarian?  Yes, but not vegan.  Exercise has been ok as I have been swimming and walking about quite a lot but the food and wine/beer/port have been enjoyed rather excessively.

I am loving being with these 3 who giggle and chat (and sing if you’re James) their way through their days together.3 children This was a new one one for me – a “Portuguese Melon”.Portuguese melonI asked the roadside fruit seller what type of melon it was as I had never seen a white skinned melon before and I was told it was a “Portuguese Melon”. It was good.ortuguese melon On Tuesday we went up in to the hills, slightly North of the coast to a fantastic restaurant in Monchique.Monch 18 Check out that amazing view.Monch 17 What could be better than sitting in the cool breeze with this amazing view and great food?Monch 16 Sharing it with some of my favourite people of course!Monch 15 Monch 14 Monch 13 Monch 12 BJ’s Mother, Vera, who has been coming here for about 45 years ordered lunch and it was superb.  Everything we ate was so good.  This little cheese was quite strong and a lovely consistency; it was hard on the outside and soft inside.Monch 10 It was enjoyed with some tasty bread and a vegetable and olive dish.monch 8 I had vegetable soup instead of pate and bread.leek and potato soup This is what people come here for; Piri-Piri chicken, chips and salad.  I ate the chips and salad and they were perfect.  We all ate so much we could hardly move afterwards but we couldn’t stop as it was so delicious.  It is hard to convey quite how tasty the salad and chips were so you will have to take my word for it.chicken piri piri Monchique Curiously there was enough room for these lovely marzipan shapes which were perfect with a coffee.Monch marzipanWe went up to the top of the hill where there is a large touristy shop, a tiny church and strange things on the rocks.
Monch 7 Very strange things indeed.

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On our way down the hill we stopped off to collect some spring water.Monch 6 A bit more time to admire the view again.Monch 4 These 2 lovely ladies are with us.  Vera on the left is BJ’s Mum and our kind hostess and with her is her dear friend Flo’.  We are enjoying being on holiday with them very much.Monch 2 The water comes out via a metal pipe so we collected as much as we could in bottles and enjoyed the pure and clean water.Monchique 1 In the late afternoon we went down to the beach and the young folk went out on armchairs which looked like fun but I didn’t really fancy it.  I was too worried about being bumped off but that did not concern these two.Luz sofas 8 Or these three!Luz sofas 7 See ya!Luz sofas 6 Luz sofas 5 Luz sofas 3 Luz sofas 2 They all enjoyed that and we then had another fun evening in the Mojito bar and Paraiso Restaurant.sofas at Luz 1 Yesterday we went to Lagos where we hopped on a boat to visit the grottos.grottos 5 grottos 4 It was fun on the little boat we were on but I think a kayak would be the best way to explore this charming area of the coast.grottos 3 The kayaks also pull in to these secluded and private little sandy beaches.Grottos 2We had a very interesting boat ride along the coast and in and out of caves.
grottos 1We then headed in to Lagos town centre for lunch.Lagos police station The old town is a very attractive maze of tiled streets, filled with bars, shops and restaurants.  I would usually have enjoyed pottering about but it was too hot for me so we headed back to the villa with its large shady terraces, sea breeze and a multitude of sun loungers, sofas and beds to loll about on.Lagos town In the evening we went up the hill from the villa to Chicco’s, an Italian restaurant that serves lots of local and organic produce.  They also had a variety of vegetarian meals on the menu which made a lovely change.Dinner at Chicco's The food was SPECTACULAR.  This is the best food I have had for a long time.  The setting in Monchique was the best setting with excellent food but this food in Chicco’s in Praia da Luz was superb.  Shame they don’t serve this food at Monchique – if they did I may have to move here.  This was aubergine parmigiana with many different salads which is exactly how I like to eat with lots of little bits of a wide variety of foods.  aub parm at Chicco's I decided, that as the main meal was so delicious, the dessert must be worth the calories too so I had the chocolate pudding with a molten peanut butter and sea salt centre.  It was :-)moltn choc and pb

This is one of those holidays that you wish would go on and on forever.  I feel very lucky to be here and am enjoying it all.

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The Praia and the Boca

Holiday time – yippeeeeeeee :-)

We are on holiday in Praia da Luz, in Portugal where we are staying in a lovely villa on the beach with very dear friends.  We arrived on Saturday and we had a very relaxing afternoon and evening beside the pool and in a local restaurant.  Oh, and the Mojito bar!

On Sunday we went out to a local restaurant for lunch at Fortaleza da Luz.

Fortaleza da Luz dining area There was a jazz band playing in the grounds which added to the charm of this place, situated at the opposite end of town to our villa, next to the large church.Fortaleza jazz band There was a fixed price menu.  We have been pleasantly surprised by the prices here which are cheaper than at home.Fortaleza da Luz menu We had a table overlooking the beach.  This is the view towards rocky outcrops on the western side of town.view from Fortaluza It was a very hot day – cheers !Fortaleza da Luz We got through a few of these jugs of Sangria.Sangria The kean eyed may have noticed there were no vegetarian options on the menu but the staff were very obliging and brought me a salad for starter.  It may look plain but the vegetables were so fresh I really enjoyed it.  We had previously enjoyed bread with olive oil and garlic and olives. salad starter As a main they made me another salad which was again, fresh and flavoursome.  It came with an egg and some cheese which I donated.vegetarian salad It was a very hot walk back to the villa, through the pretty cobbled streets of Luz.Praia da Luz 2 Harvey is now nearly as tall as his sister.Praia da Luz 1 Our villa is the farthest building at the opposite end of the beach from where I stood to take this picture which is perfectly located for town and beach.Praia da Luz Our time in the pool has been great fun but we decided it could be enhanced with some inflatables.inflatables Fun became even more fun.Luz pool 2 H on dolphin What a shame Sundays can’t always be like this!Luz pool 1 The beanbags at the villa are perfect for some quiet time and relaxing.L and H beanbags We had a simple supper in the villa after our huge lunch.  More salad and bread and loads of fruit but I did also have some cheese which is the one bit of dairy I am finding hardest to give up.  The Brie, bought from the local supermarket was good.salad cob On Monday we went to Boca do Rio, a different beach slightly West of Luz.  It was a cloudy morning but warm enough to enjoy a morning on the beach.Boca 5 A river runs along one end of the beach which the children had been planning to build dams across but this area had had a dry Summer so far so the river was not flowing.Boca 4There was enough water to enjoy though.
Boca 2 We just about managed to find a spot to sit on on the Boca.

Boca 3

There was hardly anyone here which is our preference.Boca 1 For lunch we went to a nearby town called Salema.  There is a large sandy beach at Salema and a tiny town, filled mainly with pizza places so we settled in the only restaurant that looked as if it served a variety of foods.  I don’t know the name of it which is a shame as the service we so friendly and they had vegetarian options – hurrah.  The ratatouille and polenta chips were the best meal I have had here so far.  Absolutely delicious.mon lunch 2 Everyone enjoyed their meal in here, whether they had salads or fresh sardines.  A big thumbs up from us all.Mon lunch 1 After another relax by the villa pool and a swim in the ocean, we headed in to Luz and ate at Paradiso, our hosts favourite restaurant.  We all like it here.  The restaurant is on the beach and when the children are bored of our chit chat they can go off and play on the beach.Mon dinner 3 Mon dinner 2 They do have 2 vegetarian options and I chose the vegetable burger which was tasty enough but didn’t come with any salad or vegetables.Mon dinner Before and after dinner we spent rather a lot of time in the Mojito bar where things tend to get a bit blurry.  We had a great evening in there :-)P1050023

 

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