Editor’s Note: Due to a severe case of jet lag I managed to post out of order. In fact, we travelled from Seville to The Algarve and from The Algarve to Lisbon. I’m posting this a little late. Mi dispiace.
Following our hasty departure from Seville, with a slightly heat-stroked and nauseous little we made the trip to Albufeira in about 2.5 hours. We arrived at the beach resort and were grateful that the temperature was about 10 degrees cooler here on the Southern Coast of Portugal.
It was a bit of culture shock to walk into a massive resort. It is a huge gated community with golf course, several houses and condos and finally our hotel on the cliff overlooking the sea and the beach below. After staying in places with under 50 rooms, we were not in Kansas anymore. This place was a monstrosity with several restaurants and swimming pools. Here people jockey for lounge chairs. We worried a little that perhaps we had made a mistake.
But as Monsieur repeated the mantra we carried for all of our travel decisions “It’s All Good”. Everything was an opportunity to experience something new and we would just go with the flow. The kids were happy to have a little break from all the museum visiting. The hardest choice of the day was beach or pool. Catering to British holiday-makers, everything was in English including the TV options. It was a nice change of pace for a minute not to have to work as hard to order or choose some entertainment. But I will admit, we missed the opportunity to try and learn more Portuguese language and culture.
In the meantime, while brushing his teeth Monsieur threw out his back. He managed to spend a day in bed in the room. By the third day at the beach Monsieur was finally healed enough to hobble around a little. We decided to hop in the car and explore a bit. The historic centre of Albufeira was only a short 20 minute drive away and about as far as he could manage sitting in the car. Surprisingly, it was a serious disappointment. Overrun with crappy trinket shops and sunburned and drunk tourists (at 11am!!) we didn’t last a half an hour. Truth be told, we probably should have ventured a little further to the east to see Faro or perhaps further west towards the open Atlantic, but we were lazy and if you saw Monsieur trying to get in and out of the car Albufeira was far enough.
The Algarve is indeed a very beautiful place. The beaches are epic with their high cliffs and white sand. But its catering to the holidaymaker more than the traveller, so this time around the Algarve wasn’t for us. Maybe we’ll try it again in the future. Who knows???