We arrived in Aljezur, Portugal after nearly two months on the go. Having covered huge distances in Spain - and with a memory of mostly motorways and endless warehouses- its as if the crossing the border into Portugal the whole pace to life completely changed. The landscape untouched and striking; we soon slowed down and started weaving our way through the stunning hinterland. From Tavira; a quaint fishing town by the coast, to Ante; a hidden gem, we followed our noses to the castle town of Silves and then finally on to Arifana. By this point I had completely fallen in love with the country town by town, and I’d highly recommend this route to anyone driving through southern Portugal.
That’s when we arrived in Vales, Aljezur; the icing on the cake for Portugal being amazing. Hosted for the first week by Rose and Josh at their welcoming and homely Ocean View guesthouse, we soon met the guys at Boa Vida Social Club who host live music every Saturday. I played a solo show on the Saturday night, where I met the brilliant Dave Stephens who accompanied me on stage - at a moments notice - to play some beautiful riffs on lead guitar. Thanks Dave!
Boa vida is an amazing venue. Set amongst the gardens of a five-bed guesthouse, there's a skate bowl and a friendly team offering freshly squeezed orange juice and delicious vegetarian snacks at the bar. After a weeks excursion to Lisbon, the guys had us back for another music night and this time Claire Ji opened the evening with a beautiful solo set, followed by a set by me afterwards.
We spent the last few days of our stay in Aljezur in the nearby hills at a rural farming project run by a friend of ours. Nathaniel’s vision for the place is inspiring and he aims to bring together people from different walks of life to learn about growing, building and living simply. It certainly got me thinking about the simple life away from the city lights - and whether this is possible to do this as a musician wanting to gig a lot. After a week staying in a shady spot - the only thing shattering this tranquil image being eaten to death by mosquitoes every night - we stowed up the van and headed north; destination northern Spain.
So If you're a musician travelling in Portugal then I'd recommend taking some time to explore this beautiful part of the Country. Aljezur and its surrounding beaches Is a amazing spot to stop off, write songs and play live in the local venues, which all seem friendly and super keen for impromptu music nights. Next stop, Porto!