Algarvean Daze

Events & Activities - mainly during the daytime - across the Algarve

Forced to Drink by the Police

Returning from a nice lunch out with visiting friends, we stopped at another of our favourite restaurants to book a table for the evening and allow our friends to have a look at the menu.

As we approached the car park we could see the GNR (police to you) at the crossroads adjacent to the restaurant. We snuck into the car park by a closer entrance, and all traipsed off to a table under the trees.

Regulars at the restaurant told us that this had become a regular afternoon occurrence. When we asked how long the police stayed, we were advised 'until they go'.

Not then wanting to leave and risk the document check and subsequent inquisition, we each ordered a glass of wine and settled back to watch as cars, vans and even tractors were stopped and drivers put under the microscope. Our gracious host, having run out of the 'jug wine' we tend to drink by the glass, provided us with bottles in lieu. It now appeared from where the police were watching, that we were settling in for the afternoon and would certainly be illegal by the time we left.

Then as we sipped our wine and watched, one van, laden with 7 people, and being conducted by a gentleman who had obviously partaken of sufficiently enough lunchtime refreshment to render himself obvious, was stopped. His interrogation by one, then two and finally all three officers concluded with the 'blow into this' routine. As he and the occupants of his van became more and more fidgety, we watched as the minutes turned into hours.

Had we been braver, we could have made our escape while all of the GNR were engaged with the hapless driver. Cowardice ruled supreme, however, and we continued to while away the time - so much time that one of our group determined that as he had stopped drinking quite some time previously he was now legal to drive.

Eventually, the police instructed their interrogee to pull his van off the road and park it in the restaurant car park. After he did so, he was given more good advice and the police, after more than two hours with one driver and a seemingly imminent shift change approaching, also left. The van driver then did not turn the keys over to any of his passengers, but checking that the police had not doubled back, jumped in the driver's seat and drove away.

I look forward to the next time I wish to be held captive in a bar or restaurant. I shall seek out such an establishment adjacent to a police checkpoint and then be forced to drink while I wait for their departure.

Our friend drove us home.