Do you remember that song – Moonlight Shadow?
Well. I can confirm that there really is such a thing. The full moon was so bright that it cast a shadow as strong as any from the sun – so what was a girl to do, but dance in the moonlight shadow. BF provided the music via his little gizzmo and we danced on the terrace until two in the morning.
Our second week near Lagos was spent working on the farm, swimming in the eco-pool and visiting the local bar. We were also asked by Willem to sand and then oil the ends of the beams which held up the roof of his amazing house. Well, get me – I am afraid of heights but I was up and down the ladder with my brush, like a rat up a drainpipe. Well, so long as BF was hanging on to the bottom very tightly. The bottom of the ladder that is!
If you want to know a little bit more about where we were working for two weeks, check out this link to our workaway near Lagos or this link to the Gite Portugal site if you think that you might like a holiday at this tranquil place.
All too quickly our final few days came around and we went into Lagos again on the bus for the day. The town had a very different feel on this occasion. The backpackers were outnumbered by families with children although the place still had a lovely feel to it. We topped up our tans on the larger of the beaches for much of the day, only breaking the sun worshiping to fetch strawberry daiquiris and have lunch at one of the little beach bars. And of course, our tea (or dinner if you are posh) was one of those burgers again at the Nah Nah Bar.
For our final night, Sol cooked us an amazing meal of black pork which we ate as the sun went down and we then all sat chatting until late at night. To start the meal, we had chorizo which she cooked at the table on a little terracotta dish with flaming alcohol grilling it slowly. Listening to the frogs and watching the stars, we didn’t want to leave, but the adventure had to continue but the next day Willem kindly dropped us off at the bus station in Lagos and we got the coach back to Lisbon.
Salt pans on the road between Lagos and Lisbon
True to form, we then got totally lost trying to find our next hotel for the night. We believed that we had booked an airport hotel – so assumed that it would be at the airport. No such luck and Lagos has to be one of the worst airports that I have ever been in. We caught the Aerobus to the airport and wandered around totally confused for an hour and then caught a different Aerobus back out to the city. Eventually, we stumbled upon our hotel. From the front, our hotel the NH Campo Grande was bland and unassuming – inside it was boutique style and beautiful, although the receptionist was something else! She was thick as two short planks.
- She tried to insist that we pay for the room (this had been done online in advance)
- She didn’t give us enough towels
- She gave us the wrong key for the safe
- She omitted to give us our discount voucher for the restaurant
- She managed to lose said email confirmation so that the next morning the staff tried to make BF pay again
- She didn’t log our early wake up call for 5.30am
- She managed not to book my cab to the airport
- Never once did she smile or apologise
However, the hotel was lovely, the food was amazing and the cab eventually turned up in time to whisk me to the airport for my 9am flight. Well, it was supposed to be at 9am. I eventually took off at three minutes to twelve. Three minutes under the time that I would qualify for compensation under the European rules. And as I said, Lisbon airport must be one of the worst in the world. There is little choice of food or drink, the lounge areas are drab and when they finally came to give out food and drink vouchers (at that stage they were telling us that we might have a whole day delay) they sent out one lady to issue one hundred vouchers.
Eventually the plane took off and I was off to my next destination – this time all by myself.
Finding a room for the night took on a whole new meaning when deep inside the labyrinthine back streets and alleys which make up Lagos’ old town, BF’s mobile died. We had been making our way to our reserved room navigating by GPS, when suddenly the satellite or whatever impressive kit drives it, placed us on the opposite side of the river, spluttered and went dead. Because I didn’t totally trust technology I had jotted down the address as the phone gasped its last and I vaguely remembered from the map that the street had run parallel to the old town walls so at least we had a point from which to start from. Using our supreme powers of navigation and a lot of luck we stumbled over the cobbles and into the right street.
spiralling up three floors
Knocking at number 22 we were met by Maria, a diminutive lady of about sixty five who spoke to English at all, however she shepherded us into a house a couple of doors down the street. That front door opened into a tiny little room with the steepest narrowest staircase that I have ever seen outside of a medieval castle, and then up to our room on the third floor. That room had the titchiest en suite bathroom just five foot by five and the bedroom measured no more than ten foot by ten BUT, whoopee, it had a balcony. BF and Airbnb had come up with the goods again. For the same price as the cheapest budget hotel but with bags more character we had ourselves a little gem of a place.
We met the occupant of the room below us as we set out to explore. She hadn’t been as lucky as us and her bathroom led directly off the landing. We met her as she was cleaning her teeth. There was actually no room for her to stand and clean her teeth and shut the door at the same time. The only way around it (I suspect) was that she should sit on the loo but who knows; maybe she even had to do that with the door open!
We set out to do some exploring and ended up at the Cafe do Mer cliff top bar for lunch…..and then we negotiated the rocky steps down to a tiny little bay for a spot of sunbathing and swimming.
Praia de Batata
This tiny little bay was the epitome of the Algarve with its golden rocky outcrops and sandy cliffs and caves. Lagos itself had a lovely feel to it – it was busy but not overly so, touristy but had an attitude about it that it didn’t give a stuff what you thought – you could take it or leave it – and it was full of tiny little craft shops selling some very tasteful products
The usual leaflets and tourist information had been left in our room and one entry caught our eye. The Nah Nah Bah reputedly served what had been voted one of the top 50 burgers in the world by Matador Network. Now as both BF and I are partial to a PROPER burger and I also highly rate Matador for its reporting we decided to check it out. Just a few streets away from us and located in backpacker hostel-land (Lagos old town), the Nah Nah Bah was bursting at the seams. We certainly didn’t mind waiting so settled down on bar stools for some rather splendid mojitos and watched the action.
There were a few small tables at the back, but the majority of customers were seated at long trestle tables. Reggae blasted from the DJ’s box in the corner and large portraits of Bob Marley and Che Guevara peered down on diners from the walls. We were soon sandwiched between a family from the UK and a couple of backpackers from Australia and settled down to order our burgers. I am pleased to report that the meal did not disappoint. BF ordered the award winning toucan burger and I had the amazing blue ball buster. It was so perfect that we actually returned the following week just to check that it hadn’t been a fluke.
Fully satisfied we set off to find out what bars and night life Lagos had to offer and we were not disappointed there either. Several bars and far too many mojitos later I climbed the windy staircase on my hands and knees and feeling like an over-sized Alice who had eaten the cake labelled ‘eat me’, I crawled into the miniature room and had a perfect night’s alcohol-fueled sleep.
The next day we visited the old Slave Market following a recommendation from a friend. This was a small building with an even smaller exhibition (small appeared to be the theme in Lagos) but despite its simplicity, the exhibition was very moving.
Oratorio de Sao Goncalo
We took the water taxi across the little river that ran alongside the town and we visited the long golden beach of Meia Praia and checked out a couple of the little beach bars which have grown up besides the boardwalk at the back of the beach. All too soon it was time for us to catch the bus back to Bensafrim ready for our second, shorter week of work at the farm.