Everybody has some guilty pleasures, mine is a certain Senhora…to be precise, Senhora da Rocha! Senhora da Rocha or Praia Nossa Senhora da Rocha (Beach of Our Lady of the Rock) is a small fishing community and a lovely bay on the Atlantic coast. It is situated in the middle of the Algarve, and is simply a perfect spot for my holidays. When I say holidays, I mean long holidays, very long holidays, in fact, I think a few months wouldn’t be too long here (dear husband, are you reading it? When can we go again???). First of all, this part of Algarve is renowned for its good weather, secondly, it is quiet and thirdly, it is oh-so-beautiful! I usually stay in…..oh no, I will not tell you that as I enjoy (mentioned above) peace and quiet! Let’s talk about the beach, it is flanked by cliffs so it is not too windy and most importantly, it has this golden, soft sand that almost whispers into your ear: lay down, relax, stay here until the sunset. At the west end of the bay there is a promontory on which the old Fort and Shrine of Nossa Senhora da Rocha is build. A tunnel has been excavated through the rock to link Praia da Senhora da Rocha with Praia Nova on the other side, however I don’t like small tunnels so I happily stay on the main beach and swim, swim and swim. The white, elegant Fort of Nossa Senhora da Rocha (well, fort perhaps is a much too big word for that as it looks more like a chapel with some protective walls than a medieval castle. There is a certain mystery regarding the dates of the chapel sitting in the middle of the promontory, but it is believed that the construction occurred in the High Middle Ages. Perhaps it was constructed at the time of the Muslim invasion of the Iberian peninsula, to protect local population? Who knows. What is certain is that the two columns with Corinthian capitals are dated to the 3rd-4th century. I can never resist the temptation to touch them, to drag my fingers alongside the decorative capitals, especially in the evening when they are lit by the flickering lights of the candles left outside the chapel. Perhaps the most perfect moment to be here is just before the sunset, when the white washed walls of the chapel turn pink in the glow of the last rays of the sun. The whole bay and its rocks turn into a massive nature worshipping place, people come here to watch the sun go down and look in awe at the geological miracle, which are the rocks standing here for thousands of years. One suddenly feels very small and insignificant but so peaceful and contented.