Blue skies. A soft breeze, playing with my hair. Sand and dunes and a wild, atlantic sea. The air is full of rich sweetness. Cistuses, covering all the hills. I call them ‘bushes with sticky leaves’.
That’s how I named them, when I came to this part of the Algarve as a teenager; some odd 32 years ago.
We, my mom and me, were traveling in our old VW-Campervan to Portugal, over 2700 km away from Nuremberg. I was reading the maps and lighting cigarettes for my mom. While Phil Collins, Pink Floyd, Marillion, Dire Straits etc. were on full blast. The two front windows we rolled down all the way. And of course we wore our sunglasses. To add to the coolness factor.
If you think we had no trouble getting to the Algarve, you’re wrong! This was far from being a smooth journey.
As a starter we got mugged in Paris and were as a result stuck in the french capital for nearly a week. Reporting to the police and getting someone to transfer us some more money from Germany.
Honestly, we nearly would have had to drive back. But we didn’t. Finally, when we could move on, would you believe it, our car first broke down in France and than again in Spain.
It was a bizarre journey, full of dark adventures.
My diary entries were very repetitive, saying the following:
‘We are sitting by the side of the road, eating baguette, drinking a glass of wine and discussing our situation.’
Looking backwards, I believe, that all the unresolved dramas surrounding my parents pending divorce were following us like a shadow, playing havock with our trip. I don’t have proof, but it makes sense to me. That’s all that counts!
As a family we always had gone to Corfu in Greece. Portugal and the Algarve, was a new adventure, an unknown destination. The only reason why we were heading down there, was because my mom’s lover had told her what a beautiful place it was.
In the end, it took us over two weeks to arrive. After the odysee of a journey, we both felt amazed. Having made it in one piece!
We camped with our VW-Bus on the hills surrounded by the ‘bushes with sticky leaves’. It was in the middle of nowhere, close by the sea.
The area was crowded with hippies. They were showing off their dreadlocks, while smoking pot. Living the colourful lifestyle of freedom and peace.
Other than that, we often were accompanied by whistles from Portuguese men. Men in general flocked around my good looking mom during our holiday. There were at least three, that were interested… No kidding!
It was a very special, crazy time. Portugal felt like a refuge from all the pain, that was awaiting us back home. Here, we could forget, at least for a little while.
Once we would come back from our holiday, my mom and me were facing the inevitable. Moving out of the house with the tree in the garden, I used to climb. Away from the place, where we all still had been a family. My dad was intending to go back to Bamberg, my birth town and about 60 km away from Nuremberg. Me and my mom were going to move in a flat with a balcony. It was close by a big, busy ringroad.
Funnily enough on our way back home, the damn car didn’t break down once! What a joke!
After our first, unforgettable trip, numerous others followed over the years. Find out more in my blog post ‘Portugal, freedom within me’.
Finally, my mom purchased a holiday home in the area.
This place, at the northern part of the Algarve, has shaped me greatly. It has become an inseperable part of me and my life story. There are so many, meanwhile uncountable memories linked to Carrapateira.
Now, I am back again. On my own, for nearly four weeks. It’s crazy, isn’t it? In the past, I took my boyfriends along. But now I haven’t got one. So I decided to do it anyway. What the heck!
The sun is shining most of the time and I am 1.5 weeks down the line. I am already thinking, that next time, I even want to stay longer.
The air, the sea and the hills are still the same. Nature at its best, unspoiled. The people, that come down here are very different. The hippies have been replaced by the surfers, claiming most of the beaches. Not to mention the retired people with their posh, ugly, white campervans. Really?
There are times I feel nostalgic, wishing the hippies back. The naked people at the end stretch of the beach, we used to join. And the men whistling, when we’d pass by. The flirtateous sense of adventure. That seems to have gone or is it just me?
Times change! Nothing stays the same. Sometimes my longing heart finds it hard to accept this.
Still, I love this wild, windy and sunny place, where the ‘bushes with sticky leaves’ transform the air into a sweet feast to be taken in.