BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Great food, fantastic people, a friendly dog, and face paint in Faro, Portugal.

Does it get any better?

Monday 18/3/13

I've told you a little about Moto Clube Faro in the blog, now I'd like to show you a little more of their club rooms.

Here's a quick look around our luxurious abode:

Not bad for a motorcycle club eh?

The building is three stories with a open roof area that would be fantastic for summer barbecues. Most of the doors are covered with motorcycle related images. Really cool ones.

The door to our room.

The stairwell entrance.
I still miss Bazza's race commentary.

I love the kitchen door.

There are a lot of doors here, but I won't post photos of them all because you'd go to sleep. There is one more I will post in a later blog after I get the right photo.

Great kitchen.

We had a small issue in the kitchen. The cupboard under the cook top was jam packed with towels. This overheated the cook top and caused all sorts of flashing lights and beeping alarms to go off. It was easily fixed by moving a few towels though.

Boy's toys dream - twelve garages.

This morning I was doing a little bit of bike cleaning (it still had Moroccan mud all over it) and put an electrical part on the low wall next to me. In a flash Farense was onto it. He picked it up and ran off with it. He thought it was a real laugh, me chasing him around the building, then inside, through the kitchen and around the tables. He obviously doesn't understand English because he was ignoring all my commands like no, stop, drop, etc. When I finally caught him, he no longer had the part. He'd dropped it...somewhere. Luckily Catarina, one of the awesome club staff, found it in the kitchen and gave it back to me. I won't be making that mistake again.

It was time to ride into town and visit the BMW dealer. I wanted to book the bike in for a service and have a small problem with the fuel gauge fixed. I stripped off all the luggage and off we went. The bike felt really odd without all the weight on it, and it took a while to get used to it. It really is a lot of fun without all the gear on it.

We rolled into Caetano BMW, the Faro BMW dealer, to book our service. I was going to get the bike serviced in Lisbon, but as this dealer showed support for the club by having a presentation here last Saturday I thought I'd return the support. Would you believe it? The only bike mechanic they have started holidays today, for two weeks. No problem, we'll get it done in Lisbon. As we were putting on our helmets to leave the Service Manager came over to us and said "Mr Simon, is no problem. Our mechanic will come to work tomorrow to service your moto."  What? Wow, that's what I call service. We'll see you tomorrow.

With that sorted we had a lunch date to keep. We rode over to the Dom Bernardo Hotel and caught up with Frank and Lisa. They took us to a little Portuguese restaurant for lunch. This place was amazing. You wouldn't even know it's a restaurant if you walked past it on the street, but inside it was packed with locals. This is a small, family run restaurant that only opens for lunch, and I think they are doing very well thank you.

We had a huge meal of Portuguese barbecued chicken, pork, ribs, chips, rice and salads. The deal is that you order and once you start eating they just keep topping up the platter on your table until you say 'enough." It's the same deal with the wine. When your carafe is empty, they bring you another one. It's like an all you can eat deal, but the food is, as Ned Flanders would say, scrumdiddlyumptious.

Entertainment was provided by Lisa telling us about her family back in the US (Yes, she's a yank, but a nice one). It was a laugh a minute and I learned a lot. (Private Joke: Suzanne, I'm off to buy a litre bottle of Visine. Thanks Lisa.).

During lunch we met a couple of Frank and Lisa's friends who have moved here from England. Lo and behold when we went to pay the bill, their English friends had already paid it. We keep meeting such nice people.

On the way out (we were the last to leave, again) we met the owners. Another great bunch of people.

 After the customers leave, the family sits down to lunch.
They thought it was going to be a nice quiet lunch. Ha!

I think Mama got a surprise when I picked her up and gave her a kiss. She was smiling, Suzanne just took the photo at the wrong time. Honest.

After a coffee back at the hotel Suzanne and I returned to the club and were greeted by, guess who?

Farense wanted to play when we got back.

Suzanne and I played with Farense for a while, then had a little siesta. This siesta caper is a really good idea.

Around dinner time we wandered down stairs to the bar for a drink before heading back up to our kitchen to make our evening meal. Of course we couldn't get into the bar without first playing with you know who.

One of Farense's tug of war toys. They don't last too long around here, so we'll have to buy him a few spares.

We were sitting at the table with our drinks when the guys from the bar came over with some plates and a big bowl of food for us. The bowl was so big that we only got through about half of the food, and I'm not bad on the tooth when it comes to food this nice. Thank you. I seen to be saying that a lot recently. Actually I seem to be saying obrigado a lot recently.

There was a little girl's second birthday party happening at the same time. How cool is that? You can have your kid's birthday party at the bike club. Catered, plenty of room, great company, and best of all when it's a two year old's birthday, no cleaning up.

Suzanne decided to get her face paint out and paint the kids. We have to say thank you for everyone's generosity here somehow. As usual, there was an instant queue to be painted. First the kids, then the women.

The kid's getting painted.

As usual a crowd quickly gathered.

The next thing I hear is the guy next to me say "These girls would like to do a workshop with your wife." Suzanne agreed, so tomorrow night there will be a face painting workshop held upstairs in the club rooms. I had to think about this to get it in perspective. We're in Portugal, travelling on a motorcycle, staying in a bike club, and Suzanne is teaching face painting. Is it just me, or is that a bit unusual? I'm betting it's the first time it's happened here, but I could just as easily be wrong. Nothing would surprise me here.

We felt good because we'd finally been able to give back a little something for the hospitality and generosity shown to us by the club and it's members. Next thing, Catarina hands us a black plastic bag with T Shirts, stickers. badges, and things in it to say thank you for the painting.

Catarina, one of Farense's favourites.
I stole this photo from her Facebook page.

No, that's not how it's supposed to work. We were trying to repay the hospitality shown to us. I am truly humbled by the generosity here. Obrigado.

Like I said before, the Portuguese are very generous people. I can easily understand how someone could stay here for six months. We came to Faro for an overnight stop, and have been here for eleven nights so far. It's such a nice, easy place to be.

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