Salema to Burgau – 15km (9 miles post Brexit)

Our view from the apartment balcony this morning, it’s a shame we’re only here for one more night.

Our day started with breakfast in the same restaurant as last nights dinner, the Atlantico. We were intercepted on our way by a number of cats followed by a dog chasing a lady on a motor scooter. She stopped to feed them and told us the restaurant was shut. We knew better! It belongs to the family who own the apartment and, as it’s the only restaurant open in town, they have a duty to keep us alive and fed. As John pointed out ‘Cat ladies are often bonkers’.

It was so mild and the sun was shining so we headed back to the apartment and swapped out sensible walking trousers for shorts. Sun tan lotion was applied and we were off accompanied by a GPS watch, map and idiot proof instructions. In reality all we had to do was make sure we kept the Atlantic Ocean on our right and we would be fine.

We walked out of town, up along the cliffs with stunning views back towards Salema, the sea is very blue, the sand very fine and the beaches very empty.

Our first challenge was crossing the river at Boca do Rio. We’d been advised to pack a towel because the river could be unreliable and stepping stones were involved. Kim is not good with stepping stones and has a habit of falling off them. After much searching we found some stones and crossed the first small river.

We were marooned on an island with deep water the other side and the rest of the stepping stones submerged below the water.

Further down river, were the remains of a broken footbridge then a 2km diversion.

In true pioneer spirit, and determined not to walk 2km further than we had to, we retraced our steps, wandered back down the beach to find the river dammed and a nice dry route across.

We have been up and down some severe hills, past some pretty, deserted beaches and held philosophical conversations along the lines of ‘If this walking tour is graded ‘easy’, we’d hate to take part in a ‘moderate’ let alone ‘hard” walk ‘Is this technically mountaineering?’ and ‘how long would it take Matt to run it and would he have even notice the hills?’.

At one point we lost the route and found ourselves scrambling down a scrubby hillside and struggling to find our way. When we finally managed to rejoin the route, we were rewarded with this.

It was a relief to reach Burgau, walking into town past citrus trees.

Our itinerary indicated 2hrs 15 mins and we were pleased to have managed that. It felt an awful lot longer. We had an early lunch and basked in the winter sunshine, overlooking the sea before starting the trek back.

Our return journey took us inland, through rolling hills and valleys, across scrubland and through deserted farms before following the river back to Boca di Rio where we looked at the motorhomes that were free camping by the beach. They were from Holland, the UK, Spain and France.

Our walk is billed as ‘The Coast of Many Colours’ and the Algarve is renowned for its spring flowers. The headlands and valleys are covered in Cistus, Olives, Kermes Oaks and Pistachia lentiscus. Colours are a mix of silver, through to dark green and red, it must be fantastic when fully in flower. We’re too early for that but have seen some almond blossom.

And this covers the wall around the apartments’ swimming pool.