Algarve You a Reason to Smile
As happens when you travel a bit I guess, we had gotten pretty lazy when it comes to looking everything up before we arrive in a new country. Usually the result of this slackness is two very frustrated humans. In Portugal we fluked it! We arrived at the airport and headed to information to find out about busses. “The next bus leaves in 15 minutes”. Perfect. So we jumped onto the bus to Faro city centre. From here we waited a total of ten minutes for a connecting bus all the way to Albufeira. It was the last bus trip we were a little worried about as it was getting to be late arvo on a Saturday when we arrived at Albufeira and started asking around for the last leg trip. Amazingly the bus was sitting right along side the one we arrived on, ready to go. We were stoked.
As soon as we arrived at our hostel, which was actually more like a nice hotel, we wandered to the local shop and grabbed some food to cook a nice seafood dinner including prawns and perceves. Perceves are a really nice tasting sea weed type thing with meat inside that we had seen a TV show of people collecting off the ocean cliffs. But never tasted. Eating them in a nice garden area with cool music actually felt like a restaurant.
Next morning we were excited to finally see Portugal’s beaches. We walked to the closest beach but it was pretty small and not that great. We decided to instead hike further to Praia de Sao Rafael where we lay in the sun all day, only getting up to dip in the water and buy a hamburger and icy pole for lunch. The European sun is so awesome. It just doesn’t burn you the way our sun does. If I wear sunscreen I can lie in it all day and not get lobstered. We did fancy a little shade though to escape the heat. Unfortunately the only shade was hiding under a rock ledge behind a “falling rocks” sign, which we were glad was not ironic as we lay there.
When we got back to the hostel we grabbed some supplies and headed for something we love. Sunset picnic! It was a bit of a stroll to the beach, a bit more than we remembered actually. As a result we arrived at the beach to see a tiny spec of reddish orange disappear behind the cliffs. It was still a nice spot to sit and eat though.
As we sat for our bus to Lagos we couldn’t help but feel like the travel had somehow lost its excitement a little bit. We both felt a little flat and catching the bus felt a bit more like a pain in the bum, than the adventure it had been a few months earlier. We felt almost ready to go on to Israel and South Africa already. The feelings didn’t last long as we were both loving the travel life again when we fluked another bus and train connection. We even had time at the train station to grab a quick oven baked something from the corner store. Turns out they were chicken and seafood pasties. They tasted great and more importantly didn’t disturb our delicate stomachs.
When we arrived at Lagos the 5km hike to our Airbnb was a mission. We walked to a dodgy cafe and had a cold coffee shot. Then we called the host and wandered the last kilometer very slowly in the 30’C heat with our 15kg packs. We dumped our things and headed straight to the beach for a dip. The cliff-lined beach was really cool.
After a home cooked pasta dinner we walk along cliff edges and enjoyed the amazing views. We both had a good laugh when we rocked up at another perfect sunset spot to watch the last 2 seconds of the sunset, again! We crashed out with a movie, which was good fun.
As soon as we were up next morning we went for wander along cliffs again. It’s such a crazy spot. Really beautiful and no fences or paths, just sheer drops and secret little beach coves. From the cliffs we wandered into town for a coffee and to visit a little bookshop. It was hot and sweaty walking home and Clare was so very pleased that we lost each other, when I went looking for bus stop, and she ended up walking an extra 10minutes. Once we recovered we hit the beach again. Until the tide got so high we had to evacuate the beach.
We decided it would be nice to catch a wave or two, so next morning we aught bus into town and again arrived just in time for the bus to Vila do Bispo on the Atlantic Coast. The bus dropped us seemingly in the middle of nowhere. So we wandered the very sleepy little town until we found a sign to a beach and then past a bakery for supplies. Clare asked what was in the big bread rolls. When the lady said “pork” we weren’t sure if we had mis-heard but grabbed a couple anyway. They were so tasty. They had little pieces of pork and apple right through them. We walked the 5km to the beach so were very ready for a swim when we arrived and were glad it was slightly overcast. I slept, Clare read, we swam in the beautiful clear ocean. It felt so much like Merewether!! Made us a little home sick.
On the walk back a lovely German couple picked us up and we swapped great airbnb experiences as they had just started using it too. They dropped us off in town, would you believe it, just as the bus for Lagos pulled in. Hilarious! After picking up our bus tickets, grabbing a coffee we walked home via the book store (as extreme speed reading Clare had already finished her previous one). Before another home cooked dinner we called into the cliff top restaurant down the road to soak up the amazing view over a glass of wine.
It was stressful times as we were up before 9am next morning and headed straight to a little secret beach. I had a pretty mad stack as we literally climbed our way down the cliffs to the beach. We had this amazing place all to ourselves for half an hour till 2-3 other people rocked up.
About an hour later we realised it wasn’t so secret when 25 people landed their sea kayaks right next to us! I headed back to the unit to watch the roosters get the minor premiership by beating the rabbits which was I loved. Clare joined me for lunch before we headed back down to the little beach again for one last swim. That night we went out for a delicious steak and a really nice dinner over a bottle of wine.
Before jumping on the bus to Lisbon we had a cooked breakfast at funny hole in the wall. At first we weren’t going to go in as one customer had a huge dog inside, but we were glad we did as even though the significantly overweight American owner was way too busy it was actually a fun little place. Walking for the bus to Lisbon we felt really content, loving being on the road together again. Really happy and free.