vagaries of wine-growing.
I could have happily spent longer there, but had to reach the Algarve. Having spent four weeks travelling around‘the north, listening to Portuguese almost constantly and growing a skin thick enough to cope with my inadequate language skills, reaching the developed south came as an inverted culture shock. I booked into a pensao and spent the next couple of days being jostled around the alleyways, museums and beaches by T-shirt clad Germans peering through dark sunglasses.
On returning to the pensao on my ﬁnal night, I got speaking to J oao, the night porter. He came from Amarante in the north, a beautiful place of willow trees and wooden balconies, but spent each summer in the Algarve since it offered better pay. He was 23 and spoke good English, and was quite happy to
5 polish off a bottle of wine with me
‘ through the night. By the time
morning arrived, it had been agreed that I would stay one more night in Lagos, and that he would put me up.
His house was at the top of town and had a fabulous rooftop view over the bay. He shared with one other guy, Maia, whose prize possession was a signed photograph of Margaret Thatcher, mounted in a chunky, gilt-repro frame on the wall. He had written to her when she resigned, and thought her ‘very beautiful’.
Joao and Maia lived in comfortable chaos, along with half a dozen stray cats which they had adopted for the summer. The only problem was, despite being a stone’s throw from luxury hotels and high-class restaurants, they had no electricity. The landlord wouldn’t connect it. For cooking they used a gas burner, but there was no hot water and no lights. In the evening we burned candles and sat under the watchful eye of Mrs Thatcher.
Joao wasn’t bothered about the lack of services. He mostly slept through the day and if he wanted a shower had one at the Pensao once all the guests had gone to bed. He could see the absurdity of the situation, just as he could see how quickly the Algarve had been developed since he had first worked there. For him though, there was no escaping the ﬁnancial beneﬁts of tourism. It was telling however, that as he showed me around the Algarve, his mind continually wandered back to Amarante. ‘Next time,’ he smiled, ‘come to Amarante. The Algarve is not Portugal.’
. it x do Plnhao, Algarve
5 I Portuguese Tourist Office 22-25a
Sackville Street. London WlX lDE (071
494 1441) carries the usual details and should have some information on
. Portuguese homestay organisations.
I Turismo do Habitaoao TURIHAB
(Associacao do Turismo de Habitacao). Praca da Republica, 4990 Ponte de Lima (058-942729) has full details of houses in the northern Minho area. Prices start at around £20 per night for a single room. and £25 per night for a double — much the cheaper option - including breakfast. Most hosts will provide dinner if requested in advance. Bookings for three nights or longer are preferred (and are far
i more interesting than a quick B and B 4 one-nighter).
I Camels London: 071 6309223; Manchester: 0345 587115. a subsidiary of TAP Air Portugal. handles bookings for Turismo de Habitacao and organises fly-drive packages.
I Guido: ‘Cadogan Guide to Portugal‘ (Cadogan Books, £1 1.99) is one of the best on the market: accurate, up-to-date. lively and informative, covering all price brackets. The reliable ‘Rough Guide to Portugal’ (£7.99) is also a safe option, particularly for independent travel.
: :2 . O 0 . t C ! TRAVEL - cAupusrnAVEL CAMPUSTRAVEL saronnesrnono STUDENTSASSOC. - emuaunou 5m 20H so JOHN smear E TEL: 031 225 cm ousoow <31 5 TEL: on 552 2867 £353 CAMPUSTRAVEL :2: THE HUB E HILLHEAD smear =——— ousoow m
FRO LONDON TO:
with Compus Trovel
SYDNEY £289 AUCKLAND £289 BOMBAY £240 MEXICO CITY £194 BANGKOK £244 NAIROBI £228 TORONTO £167 U S A ° & C A N A D A FROM GLASGOW TO: ON NEW YORK £117 LOS ANGELES £194 SAN FRANCISCO £194 WASHINGTON £153 BALTIMORE £125
FROM EDIN/GLAS TO: O/W PARIS £54 AMSTERDAM £64 DUBLIN £61 LONDON TO:
PRAGUE £69 ATHENS £75 CAIRO £138 TEL AVIV £99
ROUND THE WORLD
SURFACE-NEW YORK-LONDON FROM ONLY £787
FROM ON LY £992
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RTN £529 £499 £422 £388 £456 £444 £270
RTN £229 £309 £309 £229 £250
AM'I‘RAK, GREYHOUND AND AIRLINE PASSES AVAILABLE FROM CAMPUS TRAVEL
£129 £139 £219 £169
LONDON-VIENNA-BANGKOK-SYDNEY- MELBOURNE-EUI-HONOLULU-LOS ANGELES-
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all I'll. '
The List 239Octoberl— 5. November 1992 77