What better way to escape the cold, grey and rainy winter than by dreaming back to my time on the sandy Algarve Coast. My spur of the moment decision to book flights to Portugal, the week before I left back in October, was confirmed to be one of my “top 5 decisions”. The moment I got off the plane in Faro to hot, humid air and sunshine that still had heat in it, I thawed out after those weeks of Autumn in London. Then a scenic hour drive from the airport to the small fishing village of Luz where I was staying.
Booked into Jah Shaka Surf Lodge, I was ready to practice yoga and learn to surf (properly). Now, coming from New Zealand and living near the beach, one might have thought I would have learnt to surf properly already. Well, it is not for the lack of trying, friends and past boyfriends, both have tried to teach me to surf with no avail. So, now was my time. With three solid days of surfing in a row lined up I was going to master it. Also, when you see the coastline on the West and South coast of the Algarve region, you could easily be mistaken for being back in New Zealand. So that has to count.
Day 1 we headed across to the west coast from Luz to Praia do Cordoama. A beautiful drive through a National Park and a narrow windy road down to find this pristine beach.
We had the beach to ourselves in the morning. Luckily for us considering the main goal was just to paddle and catch some waves properly. Best not to learn bad habits from the start they say. However, the afternoon was crowded, the swell picked up, the current was extremely strong with the tide coming in and we all took a fair few thrashings from the waves, but success in catching many a good wave and half-standing up! Time for yoga, dinner and preparation for Day 2.
Each evening at Jah Shaka, there was a beautiful roof-top yoga class taken at sunset by the lovely Miri. Quite possibly one of the best spots to stretch out all those sore spots after a day in the water.
Day 2 and 3 were spent out at Praia do Castelejo, which is just one beach south of Praia do Cordoama from Day 1.
Another pristine beach, with large rugged cliffs and rolling waves. Beautiful at low-tide to catch some great waves, master standing up and begin to turn on the waves. Definite progress. The afternoons were similar to day 1 with strong currents and a heavy undertow. Every wave I got, I just wanted “one more” before the end of the day. Exhausted but satisfied, I finally came away knowing it had clicked!
This was me!
Just kidding. That is a body boarder. This was me. Less glamorous, but heading back out to get “one more” every time!
These two crazy cats have the patience of saints. After telling me the same thing probably a hundred times, they looked more relieved that happy when I got it!
The combination of surfing all day then yoga in the evening is absolute bliss. They compliment each other so well. The sunsets were just stunning, with apparently “rare” clear days for October. The people were beautiful and the meals were delicious, all shared around the big table with candles and wine.
Luz itself is a stunning little village that quite rightly deserves a post of it’s own! So stay tuned for plenty more Portuguese tales to come.