Steve & Carol
Wed 24 Nov 2021 14:22
37:13.40N 007:24.92W
We have heard so much about this small village we were keen to go ashore and explore, on either side of the river there are pontoons which for a small fee boats can moor to, the Spanish pontoon is longer and newer and fits about 8-10 boats with smaller day boats on the inside, while on the Portuguese side there are 2 smaller pontoons each can moor 3 boats, water and electricity is available also on both sides and on the Portuguese side there is a washing machine and dryer as well as public showers. The berths are mainly full but there is some movement and boats seem to be able to go alongside for water if needed.
 First we headed to Sanlucar de Guadiana on the Spanish side for a wander around the village - Alcatraz a dutch boat with Carina and Thom on board, we had met in 2017, was moored on the pontoon and we by chance met Carina on the dock and had a quick chat. The village was a bit disappointing it lacked the character of the Portuguese towns we have visited recently, there were a couple of very small shops which were both stocked with basic provisions, the buildings mostly looked fairly new and were all very white and boring to look at. Not too enamoured we decided to go over to Alcoutim for a wander! 
 Sanlucar de Guadiana from Alcoutim
It was almost instantanous - we were happier to be back in Portugal 🤣, back to stone mosaic roads and pavements

We had been warned it would be colder inland than down on the south coast by Becky and Eamon who, not only have their boat here but now live in a small village a few km away and Becky has an Acupuncture clinic in Alcoutim. Every Saturday there is an indoor vegetable market and butcher in a van and we arranged to meet Becky, get some fresh vegetables and go for a coffee. We met Becky near the dock and went to the veg stall - it did not disappoint you could get almost any veg you fancied including sprouts and round beans - both are very hard to come by in most supermarkets, I couldn’t resist and ended up with a rucksack full of lovely fresh veg 😁, we didn’t bother with the butchers van as we still had meat for Steve and the locals seemed to be getting big orders and service was taking a while with only one butcher! 
Next we headed for a cafe and sat on a balcony overlooking the river drinking coffee and catching up - again we last saw Becky in 2017 so we had a few years to catch up on! 
Along the river bank there were Orange trees and Almond trees which you could pick if you wanted to, someone also kept filling a basket with lemons and leaving it by the pontoon for anyone to help them selves - I made some rather good lemon tarts with home made lemon curd.
We had a very social time, we made some new friends including a lovely dutch couple moored on the Alcoutim pontoon - Caroline and Ted who invited us onboard for drinks as it was Caroline's birthday, we spent a lovely few hours sitting on their back deck with 2 or 3 other couples until the sun went down it was a little chilly though and we soon headed back home to the warmth of Innamorata! We also went out for lunch with Eamon and Becky to a restaurant which only opens one day a week and where you have to get there early to stand any chance of getting a table, we had to wait a short while before being seated outside, the restaurant is basically a big BBQ with every meat you could want (well a meat eater could want!) Steve had Pork and I had eggs served with chips and salad, we had a lovely - if not chilly time, in excellent company and afterwards we went by car up to see their home for a drink, their home is a cute single story property based around a courtyard, we sat in their kitchen with a log fire burning and continued the lovely catch-up before Becky drove us back to Alcoutim.
A few days after we arrived Dennis and Lizzie on Oriana arrived and anchored just up River of us, by now the anchorage was a little more crowded as 3 or 4 other boats had also come and anchored near us including a french boat which dropped anchor and promptly the next day the owners flew home to Paris!! They did leave their what’s-app number along with a bottle of french cider on our deck before going incase there was a problem with their boat! Anyway it was good to see Dennis and Lizzie and we enjoyed a meal on Innamorata with them. Denis took a stunning picture of Innamorata in the early morning mist one day.
We had planned to do a bit more walking while we were there, we did walk up to the Castelo Velho De Alcoutim, a ruin of a fortification from the 8/9th century in the Muslim period, we had no idea that muslims controlled this part of Portugal and its believed that this fort was built as the home of a Muslim lord and includes a small mosque, the ruin was abandoned in the 12/13th century.
We never did make it back to the Spanish side, after a couple of wind over tide periods we had had enough of boats charging about on their anchors and coming within a few meters of Innamorata! The french boat dragged one of its anchors at least - I messaged the owner who said not to worry he had 3 down 2 from the bow and 1 midships 😱 the boats had all been turning in circles on their anchors so no wonder his anchor lines must have been twisted like spaghetti! After a morning of boats charging around we decided to up anchor and ride the tide down stream and head back towards Portimao.