Sunday, September 17
Slept in late and we took off to the old city to do some shopping. Michael and I went thru the narrow streets while Kim and Ronda checked out the Sunday merchants selling their wares on the main road. Kim bought a very cool watch and a cork glasses case. Later we drove to the natural beach, where full nudity is permitted. Topless bathing seems to be allowed on any beach but isn’t that common. After a prawn salad with a yogurt dressing, we drove to Silves ( about 24 km) to see a castle that had been built by the Moors in the 1100’s. It was pretty cool! I was surprised it was in such good shape. The other castles I have seen in France and England that were built in the same time were ruins. All the walls were standing and they were starting an extensive archeological dig on the site. We drove back to our apartment and relaxed until dinner. We set out looking for a hotel our host had told us about but were unable to find it. We walked back to our apartment and decided to try the seafood place beside our apartment. It was very posh and the prices were high, but the food was a little disappointing. There was nothing really wrong with our food, but we have been so wowed by amazing food at inexpensive restaurants that we were expecting a really big deal. This place just didn’t measure up. Tomorrow we are exploring some grottos along the coast line.
Monday, Sept 18
We slept in and had a lazy morning eating scrambled eggs and toast. We had a boat ride booked for 11:00 am so we made our way down to the docks and climbed in. It was a smaller boat designed to be able to weave in and out of these narrow grottos. I feel a great kinship to these boat captains every night as I try to park or mini van in the under ground parking. There is no way to describe how tiny the road is and the subsequent parking spaces when we get in there. It’s all very nerve wracking and I will be happy next week when I am no longer have to worry about driving and parking a car.
Driving is not just the extra stress sometimes but also means no wine at dinner. This tough ad the wind here is delicious and very inexpensive. Our boat trip was excellent. Kudos to Ronda for thinking of this. Pictures don’t capture the awe and beauty we saw today. We drove out and. Checked out a couple of beaches, decided to eat some lunch. Kim and I had grilled prawns and a salad. Then we went home and changed in to our swim suits and headed down to the beach we visited earlier. We sunned and swam until 6:00pm. We drove back into town for our dinner and had a poor experience. We went to Dom Tintho Restaurant and arrived about 8:30. Sadly, for a fancy expensive restaurant the service and food was not great. My lamb was tough, Michael’s pork tenderloin was tough and dry. It also took over an hour and a half to get our food. When the owner came over to speak to us, he was rude. New plan tomorrow, no more fancy restaurants.
Tuesday Sept 19
Kim and I spent our last day in Lagos together, while Michael and Ronda went off and explored some beaches by themselves. Kim and I walked down the stairs to Anna Dona Beach which is about 100 metres from our front door and spent the day sunning and swimming. As stated before the water is a little chilly at first, but it feels great to get hot from the sun then cool off in the ocean. This is still the North Atlantic. The water in Spain will be warmer and Greece should be super warm as we will be well into the Mediterranean. We met up again about 4:00 pm and drove into the old town. Our plan tonight was to do a bit of shopping and go for an early dinner. Kim and I now both have new watches and some souvenirs. By early I mean 7:30. Most folks here don’t start eating until 8-8:30 pm. I am way too hungry by that time. We found a wonderful Indian food restaurant and enjoyed spicy lamb, chicken, garlic nan bread, an cebolla onion dish appetizer, and a bowl of pilau rice. Delicious and not expensive! I know! We’re crazy because we aren’t eating more Portuguese food in Portugal, but we were all sea fooded out from the last week. We were home early, about ten, enjoyed a glass of red wine and packed our bags for Spain tomorrow.
Wednesday, Sept 20, 2017
We are up at 6:45 and eating breakfast to get ready for our trip into Spain. The route is a little complicated because it involves getting gas, checking out of our apartment at another hotel, driving for and hour and a bit to Faro, dropping off the rental car and Michael and Ronda at the airport, then finding the driver we hired to drive us to Spain another two hours away. We managed to get everything done and meet our driver. We are not sure where he was from, but he wasn’t Portuguese. Pretty sure he may have been a Russian. Not a spy, just a driver. Well maybe a spy too! We looked after carrying our own bags and drove in a car in which some unfortunate soul was carsick in. We tried to speak with him but when he turned to talk to us he almost drove off the road. So he drove while Kim and I chatted. I can’t express how impressed I am with Portugal and especially the people who live here. They go out of their way to be friendly to you and it seemed as if every person we spoke to, had an excellent ability to converse with us in English. This is certainly a place to visit again. We thought it was pretty strange when we arrived at the Lisbon airport there were two lines to go into. One for people with goods to declare and one for people with no goods to declare. We went into the first line and we never even saw a border guard. The experience crossing into Spain was even easier. We are on the main highway into Spain, Kim is already with our passports and ID and not only did we not have to stop, there was no place to stop, just more highway. Kinda strange. The other cultural change we are trying to wrap our head around is meal time. Although people wake up about the same time as we do, breakfast isn’t eaten until 10:00, lunch between 3-4:00 pm and finally restaurants serve dinner between 10:00 to midnight. A lot of restaurants don’t open until 9:30.
The view from our balcony.
We adapt. We arrived in Punta Umbria Spain and set out on a short walk to our local grocery store to buy supplies for the next two weeks. The store was about 4 km away! We bought 100€ worth of groceries and took a taxi home. When we got home, we sat on our balcony enjoying our view, ate Spanish potato chips and enjoyed a vino tinto from a juice box!