Soul & Surf Portugal Pop-Up
Back from Asia, and Adam and I set off to host our second Pop-Up in Portugal for Soul & Surf. Portugal is somewhere the two of us have fallen in love with, offering waves, sunshine and tasty food, as well as gorgeous landscapes and people.
Our set up consisted of checking out surf breaks – we had to make sure the guests would like them! We were lucky enough to have other members of the Soul & Surf family to hang out with at the start, Franco and Jazmin, with our first surf being at Cordoama on the west coast.
A fun, punchy wave, with some more forgiving takeoffs after the sets, it was a lot of paddling, duckdiving and hard work. So much fun though, with some fast lefts and even faster rights. I definitely had to remind myself how to surf these kind of waves…six months surfing mellow peelers with a longboard in Sri Lanka and I had definitely got a little lazy with my take offs.
We also spent a lot of time just driving around the beautiful and rugged landscape of this part of the Algarve. The south coast spots are much more sheltered from the wind and the west coast wild and raw. I loved it, the warm breeze coming through the car windows. This was definitely the best research I have ever done.
Another important aspect of our research was food. We had a brilliant chef coming to prepare the food for the villa, but we would also be taking people out to eat and recommending places for them to go. How can you recommend anything without trying it first? So for the good of others, we made it our mission to eat at as many local restaurants as we could, trying fish, shellfish, local delicacies (the sardine pate is the most addictive thing I have ever eaten) wines, coffees and of course a few Sagres’ (cerveza!)
I also must give a mention to Pastel da Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts) I had one for breakfast. Pretty much every day.
The villa we rented is a Quinta, a traditional Algarvian farmhouse, that has views over the national park, and also has three swimming pools, which is the perfect number, if you ask me. The villa has beautiful open spaces for yoga and relaxation, and is close to the fishing village of Burgau.
Apart from a couple of chillier, windier mornings, I was able to teach the yoga classes outside, with the sweeping views of the countryside behind us. After the first week, the temperature noticeably ramped up, so that by 8.30am it was pretty sweltering. So a nice 7am Vinyasa Flow class to get everyone moving before the surf went down pretty well, with a few yin sessions thrown in when everyone got a little tired! It was such a pleasure teaching outside, with the sounds of the birds and the breeze. Even when the pool guy turned up…
Soul & Surf like to work with locals as much as possible, so we teamed up with the Good Feeling surf school again, who gave us one of their surf coaches, Jose. He came and helped us for the whole three weeks, and his high spirits and local knowledge proved to be invaluable, and meant that Adam could bring the Soul & Surf magic to the surf lessons.
We had guests of all abilities, and the brilliant thing about this part of Europe is the variety of waves available at all times. Driving around to explore the best spot for the day was all part of the fun, too! I found myself surfing a variety of boards – my single fin, a longboard and a selection of fun foamies! There were so many different types of wave around that it was fun to experiment with a variety of boards.
We found Serena in the Kerala Soul & Surf, and talked her into coming along to cook! She made an incredible mix of colourful, fresh and tasty food, drawing on local influences and a little bit of Keralan curry for good measure. We had a helper in the form of Ella, Adam’s niece, who became Serena’s sous chef.
Some of my food highlights were the beach picnics, which meant we could stay out all day, enjoying the beautiful beaches and waves.
We had a mixture of old friends and new, some guests we had met previously through Soul & Surf, and some we were meeting for the first time. As always, the Soul & Surf vibe attracts like-minded people, and guests that came as strangers left as friends. I miss you all! x