4 minute read
We got to speak to Local Walking Tour Leader Tim all about living abroad and leading some of our wonderful walking weeks! If you ever wondered why you should join us on a Solos Walking Holiday, Tim has all the answers!
1. What’s the best thing about being a Local Tour Leader ?
It’s fun to be able to share with our guests a real insight into the region they are visiting – this is all thanks to my local knowledge gleaned from many years of living here in Portugal, not far from the Spanish border! History, legends, customs, culture, gastronomy, the flora and fauna (I could go on for hours!) are all subjects that can be brought to life in a fun way. I enjoy to increase our guests appreciation for what they are seeing on their holiday. Often comparing the differences between the life here in the South of the Iberian peninsula, with the UK can make for interesting discussions, especially when we talk about the weather!!!
2. Do you have any favourite destinations to walk?
I have explored so much of the region over the years (both on foot and by mountain bike!) that I find it hard to pick a particular favourite…
For example, here on the coast of the Algarve, you can enjoy the scenery from dramatic coastal walks on clifftops, deserted sandy coves with impressive caves, and salt flats teeming with flamingos… yet, head just a few kilometres inland and its all completely different!
Cork forests, orange and almond groves, deserted whitewashed villages… are all there to be explored. It feels like someone has turned back the clock to a simpler time… and a slower pace. Spain offers similar contrasts as well, plus the small towns that we get to stay in, are simple family run hotels and bear no relation to the high rise blocks one normally associates with Spain!
3.Why do you love living in Portugal?
It’s got to be the weather! Blue skies and sunshine are the norm… with the rain mainly falling here between December and February. It means for the majority of the year I can wear my trusty shorts! Plus, as an outdoor person, it means I can enjoy the coast and countryside without getting cold and wet.
I have lots of other passions other than walking, and one of them in local gastronomy… not surprising as I actually used to own a restaurant in the South of France! Fresh fish and shellfish are abundant… and, for me, available at my local lively fish market, where they will prepare your fish for you in the blink of an eye. Most restaurants here serve simple food at very reasonable prices, and one of my favourite dishes is pork and clams. Of course, a glass (or two!) of Portuguese wine from the Alentejo can be enjoyed without breaking the bank – my local chicken piri piri restaurant sells it at 5.50€ ……a bottle!!!
Stopping off for a coffee (meia de leite) and a creamy custard cake (pastel de nata) is always a pleasure and a fitting reward after a mornings exertions… and yet you can still get change out of 2 €. What’s not to like?!
4. Are you able to speak the local language?
I was fortunate enough to live and work in Spain and France for 10 years when I was in my twenties, so, I was able to learn the languages quite easily. Although Portuguese looks very similar when written to Spanish, it sounds very different. However, the shared Latin roots to the language has meant that I’ve managed to get a good grip on the lingo.
I think being able to converse in the local language adds to the understanding and enjoyment of living in another country… and obviously from a tour leading perspective… a valuable asset!
5. What’s your favourite thing about a Solos Walking Holiday?
For me, I think the fact that everybody shares a common interest (walking) means that the groups tend to bond very easily. It’s great to see friendships develop and listen to the banter between folk. Guests really get to know one another well very quickly, which usually means meal times can be quite lively – which I love!
6. What can be expected on a Solos walking holiday ?
Our walking programmes are aimed at people who want to get out and explore the region they are in both on the walks and via the optional visits to places of interest nearby. It’s not hard core walking and we don’t leave anyone behind – thats my job as back marker to ensure we all stay on track!
Fascinating towns and cities are close by like Seville and Cadiz in Spain and Lagos and Tavira in Portugal. There is always time at the end of the day to do your own thing as well… sometimes we all need a bit of me time!
Does this sound like something you fancy?
Click Here to browse our walking holidays, or give us a call on 020 8951 2900 – we’re always on hand to answer any of your questions!