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Tom Riach
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Tom Riach   My Press Releases

Champagne and Auld Lang Syne

Published on 1/1/2015
For additional information  Click Here

"Champagne and Auld Lang Syne”  is an original copyright Press Releases sent from my happy home in the sunny south of Portugal.

CHAMPAGNE AND AULD LANG SYNE

Sitting, sweat-soaked and breathless, astride the trig point on the summit of Sao Miguel, I quaffed throat fulls of champagne from my mini-magnum, hummed strained bars of Auld Lang Syne and consumed the breathtaking vista of the Algarve unfolding below me as dawn broke. Yes 2015 had arrived! And I had chosen to savour the first light of the new year with my now traditional climb to witness the sun rise. Good decision ….

To the south the red sun turning golden reflected blindingly silver on the waters of the Atlantic and the Ria Formosa lagoon and dazzlingly white sands stretched as far as my eyes could see. From the old Roman town of Tavira in the east, to Fuseta and my wooden shack beach bar local where I would later join the revelry, to the fishing port of old Olhao, to the regional capital of Faro and the airport and far off to the golf courses, health spas and gated condos of the 'golden triangle' in the west. And to the north, the upland town of Sao Bras was visible as the last bastion of habitation between me and the rugged ridge of the Serra Caldeiroa mountain wilderness which forms the northern frontier of the Algarve.

Just as planned, I had awakened on new years day morning even before the first slivers of light feathered the dawn sky. Quickly I had arisen, donned my walking gear and headed off to my ascent. As I had passed the 'drinkers café' in the village, revellers were already - or should that be still - crowding the pavement and being jolly. I had easily resisted any temptation to join them.

Out of the village I passed the olive groves, now three months since stripped of their precious fruits which in the coming year would appear on the tables of homes and restaurants throughout Portugal and far beyond. I licked my lips. The orange groves displayed no such bashfulness. They were dripping with the new crop now ripe and plump and already in harvest. I desisted from nicking any of those hanging over the fencing and on to my path, not from any sense of moral righteousness but simply because my larder is already full. Besides, I could get them on the way back :-)

At half an hour into my walk I crossed the trans-Algarve motorway and counted just one vehicle anywhere in view. Eat your hearts out L.A. and London! Then I was at the bottom of my ascent. Four hundred and ninety meters straight up faced me, no respite. I pushed on at a brisk pace, too slow is more tiring, harder. The sun now rising was already warm on my shoulders and soon I was sweating. But my face felt the night chill of the mountain air breezing from above so I was glad of my fleece jacket. The rich, iron red of the Algarve soil, embracing boulders of the same and contrasting hues, was highlighted by the long shadows of the low sun. But this is no barren landscape. All around is greenery. Most shrubs, bushes and trees in the Algarve are perennial evergreens. Even in the high heat of summer they tap water from aquifers deep in the sandstone sub-structure.

On the hillside there are are none of the birds of the coast to be seen. No storks gliding by like miniature Concordes, no pink flamingos, no egrets, wild fowl nor blue-crested hoopoes. Here the wild life is hares and snakes and hawks circle above eyeing the prey. Now the pop pop of hunters' shotguns breaks the still. Their quarry is the rabbits and wood pigeons but what they'd really like to bag is javali, the indigenous wild boar! In my experience however, you never find one when hunting, never, but you always catch them in the glare of your headlights as they cross the road in file at night. Smart crittars these porcos!

After the spirit-refreshing calm of my summit pause – ok and the champagne and bolinhos de amêndoa (almond cookies) snack - I'm off on my descent. On the way up I saw not one living soul but now the route is positively bustling! I get gasped 'Bom Dias' from one runner (a Portuguese international athlete with whom I'm acquainted), two mountain bikers and two road cyclists. Together, I muse to myself, we make up a complete set – hiker, runner, mountain biker, cyclist! I allow myself a smug pat on the back, I was out and at the top before any of them, first to the top in 2015! I'm grateful however that I am only walking. At this stage of my post festive-season training, running or cycling would finish me and I'd kind of like to see 2016 in too! At the foot of the mount, as I cross the Olhao by-pass, a bit of excitement. The entire Team Tavira pro-cycling team, all thirty or so of them, swoosh by below me, urged on by the shouts of their trainers. Soon they'll be joined here in the Algarve by many of the top Tour de France squads taking advantage of the warm climate to put the finishing touches to their preparations for the gruelling season ahead. I'm looking forward to seeing them race.

Back home, I relax and tone down with hot and cold showers. Once refreshed I turn my attention to new years day lunch - barbecued T-bone steak and langoustines with sauteed spicey mushrooms, green beans - and more champagne! The mid-day sunshine bathes the alfresco feast and afterwards we stroll to the beach shack bar … it promises to be a long evening. Oh dear ….. But for now all is well.

Happy New Year.

I am Tom Riach. I live and write in the sunny south of Portugal.

 

For many years I have run my WAKE UP LEISURE AND LEARNING BREAKS (click on) where I talk of successful living and of creating both material and inner wealth. Or send for any of my best-selling Amazon books - MASTERING THE ART OF MAKING MONEY – SELF-IMPROVEMENT SHOULD BE FUN! - THE SIMPLEST SALES STRATEGY - they are packed with my secrets of successful living and with wit and wisdom sure to get you thinking about how you manage your life. Available in Paperback and Kindle. Click the image below.

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CHAMPAGNE AND AULD LANG SYNE is an original copyright Tom Riach press release, short and to the point. I hope you enjoyed reading it and found it informative and/or entertaining. To learn more or to get in touch with me please visit me on my website at TOMRIACH.COM

See you there! Regards, Tom.

 

© Copyright Joseph T.Riach 1998-2018. All rights reserved.

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