Heading for the Hills

(The blackened trees surrounding Alferce)

While at the beach Denis read about a village that had a swimming pool, showers and toilets just north of the Algarve. And it was all for free. So next morning we travelled past amazing views, up steep ravines and eye-wateringly scary ridges to come to the town of Alferce.

(The swimming pool with lovely toilets)

This town is in the middle of nowhere and has amazing views and very friendly inhabitants. It had nearly succumbed to forest fires last August but survived and in almost a display of courage they have painted almost every building in the town. You can hardly see a sign of the fire.

(View from the main street)

Until you look at the trees. All around on the steep slopes, blackened trees as a reminder, that nature can sometimes be cruel. You might think it would be eerie but it’s not, it’s beautiful.

(The laundry)

The town also provided laundry facilities – the old fashioned kind with the built in washing boards and strings of clothes lines. But my favourite feature was the frogs. Right beside the motorhome parking there was a pond with about 20 frogs, all different sizes. I discovered them by following the sound. They had a very distinctive sound, like a complaint in grumpy language. Not very unpleasant but also not entirely attractive.

(Can you see the one pretending he’s dead in the water?)

Anyway I followed the sound to see what was making it and eventually noticed there were frogs. They seem to be able to make the sound without moving a muscle and as soon as they become aware of me everything stopped. No sounds. No movement. There’s isn’t a twitch. They remain completely still except for the one or two who had jumped into the water. They’d dived to the bottom and I could see small bubbles popping on the surface in their wake. There’s also one or two who know how to pretend to be dead in the water.

Smart Frogs, Mairead.

(There’s Alferce. Free parking, free water, free swimming pool, toilets, showers and frogs)