Blogs from Algarve, Portugal, Europe

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Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Faro January 26th 2014

Blog Intro I haven't managed to travel much in my lifetime. As a child i remember watching Michael Palin's travel series on a Sunday evening and dreaming of seeing every different place he visited and loving the local experiences he took part in and people he met. I always loved to see new places and knew that i wanted to see the world. Unfortunately I still haven't managed to do a lot of travelling apart from a few short trips, escaping the resort on package holidays and spending six weeks backpacking alone around north / eastern europe / the baltics, couchsurfing and hostelling. Two brief stops in faro: Part One Me and Vicki ( girlfriend ) booked a week off work and used skyscanner to find a cheap flight from Manchester. We chose Faro, which was ... read more
Faro High street
Charactered tiles

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Lagos December 20th 2013

Let’s be honest, the term ‘faded grandeur’ is decidedly cliché. Though, as much as it’s gift-wrapped to apply to the capital city of Portugal, Lisbon’s fadedness has a very definite edge. It’s a fadedness of cracks rather than corrosion. It is as human as it is physical, and it’s alive, manifest in the problems of a 21st century nation state: spray-painted on the wall of a 16th century merchant’s luxury home, a broken stained glass window, a strip of wallpaper torn from the wall. Older than London, Paris or even Rome, this westernmost capital city of Europe situated on the Atlantic Coast looks out over the once vast unknown. Portugal’s pioneering exploration of the New World once brought it staggering wealth. And, though it saw its heyday in generations past, this isn’t Rome, and nobody here ... read more
Castelo dos Mouros
serra do bussaco
Coimbra

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Albufeira November 22nd 2013

Day 7 - Friday 22nd November There was a bit of rain this morning, so Glyn and I thought that now is a good time to go to the beach. We drove about 18 miles to Senhora da Rocha which is a beach named after a small chapel on its promontory. According to the guidebook, it is actually three small sheltered beaches. The first beach was indeed small and sheltered. It had a cafe, toilets and a few battered boats pulled in for the winter. Apart from cafe staff and a tabby cat, no one else was there. We walked along the small beach and found what we thought at first was a cave. Upon further investigation, it turned out to be a tunnel about 100metres long, not to Narnia, but another desolate beach. This one ... read more
Secret tunnel
Beach at  Albufeira
Secret tunnel

Europe » Portugal » Algarve November 20th 2013

Day 5 - Wednesday 20th November Today Glyn and I went back to Silves via Algoz (that wasn't so much as sleepy but dead). We went that way for a change of scenery and to avoid toll roads. When we'd hired the car we were asked if we were going to use the motorway. This is because on large main roads, there are tolls. There are no toll booths as in the UK, which is good because working in one must be one of the most boring and lonely jobs in the world, ever. Instead, there are devices over the road that look like racks of shower heads which, no matter how fast you drive, connect with a device in your car and make it go 'beep' every time you pass under them. This device sadly ... read more
Castelo de Silves
Silves
Cobbled streets of Silves

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Monchique November 19th 2013

Day 4 - Tuesday 19th November When we'd flown into The Algarve on Saturday morning, I'd been looking out of the plane window and noticed that all the landscape was littered with buildings. Even the mountains and countryside was regularly dotted with dwellings of some sort. With this in mind, I didn't hold out too much hope to get far off the beaten track in the Algarve. So today, Glyn and I attempted to get up a bit earlier than usual and headed inland. A 40 mile drive west then north took us to the village of Monchique which is walking distance from Serra de Monchique, a volcanic mountain range that is said to have great views over the Algarve. Monchique was pretty enough, with your usual cobbles, wandering old folk slowly crossing roads and stray ... read more
View of Algarve from Foia
Silves
Monchique

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Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Vilamoura November 18th 2013

Today looked colder than yesterday when we got up, but still, the three elderly ladies who are also staying at these apartments were bravely lying by the pool. It might have been warmish in sheltered areas but it was goosebumps in the wind. It seems that some tourists have come to get a tan by the pool, and not any amount of cool weather is going to stop them! We left Albufeira, which we haven't really explored yet. The area we are in is touristy, but still nice, the buildings not being more than three storeys high and built in the style of traditional Portuguese architecture. Most of the building are white with a few blue or yellow places standing out. We drove to Vilamoura which is not a town, but the land of golf. OK, ... read more
Igreja Matrix de Sao Lourenco
Cat at Vilamoura harbour
Trimmed palm trees

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Lagos November 17th 2013

Glyn and I didn't get up until gone 11am as we'd purposely not set alarms, wanting to catch up on sleep. We then drove to the end of the world. The End. ........ Not really! But during Ye Very Olde Times, people thought that Cabo de Sao Vicente was the end of the world as it's the most South West part of Portugal. The guide book promised all sorts of wildlife including sea-otters, eagles, kestrels, heron and white storks, so all we saw was a few fat seagulls and one lonely sparrow. When we got there we thought it must be cold as people were dressed in big coats and scarves around their faces. These people clearly have never been to England as it was pretty warmish and sunny. We went to the lighthouse which has ... read more
Lighthouse at Cabo de São Vicente
Cabo de São Vicente
Site of first European Slave Market

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Albufeira November 16th 2013

Day I - Saturday November 16th Glyn and I flew into Faro airport from Birmingham with Britain's Most Boring. Seriously, we'd had to sit on the plane for two hours before it even took off due to some technical faults listening to golf bores wittering on constantly to an elderly lady next to them, as she started to wish she'd booked a week in Digbeth Coach Station instead. They never stopped talking of golf during the entire 2.5 hour flight, pointing out golf courses as we got closer to our destination and talking excitedly of the most boring events in the history of man. Arriving at the car hire place, more British people bored the crap out of the staff with lifetime tales of every car they'd driven or actually asking for ALL the insurances available ... read more
Golden light
One step forward, seven back.
A sunset today.

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Sao Bras de Alportel November 8th 2013

Our bus loaded up at 8:30 this morning and we were off to learn about Portugal's nation product, Cork. Portugal is the largest producer of Cork in the world. Our tour today was centered in the town of Sao Bras de Alportel. We picked up our local tour guide, Sophia, in the center of town. She was a cute, bubbly tour guide who was very proud of her hometown. She took us to a famous manor house and taught us all about cork. Did you know that Cork is a eco friendly product? It is sustainable, because the Cork is actually the bark of the tree that is removed every 9 years and the tree is able to live on. Each cork oak tree lives for several hundred years, and continusly produces cork. Sophia took us ... read more
Our lovely guide sophia
Hand cutting the cork
Our view from lunch

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Tavira November 7th 2013

Have you ever heard of Tavira? Today we decided to take the option to have a day on our own instead of joining the group for the boat cruise. We had a leisurely morning and ended up renting a car to explore the southern coast of the Algarve (Southern Coast of Portugal). We spent most of our time focusing on two towns. The first town was called Silvas. This is another hill top castle town. We made our way thru the tiny, winding streets of the city. I ended up going thru the city no less than 3 times before I finally figured out how to get the actual castle. This certified that I am still good at driving at small winding roads. My mom did get a chance to practice her verbal gasps to let ... read more
Silvas castle
Silvas Castle
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