Sunday, May 03, 2009

Holiday, Portuguese style

I'm going to give you the abridged version of the Trip Report this time.

Portugal was Fantastic!!!

Hm, I guess I should say a bit more than that. OK, here goes...

The hotel was lovely. If ever you decide you want to nip off to a small, quiet-ish town in the Algarve you should try the Tivoli Almansor in Carvoeiro. The room was spacious, the food brilliant and the staff impeccably helpful. And you can only imagine the view from our room on the 6th floor...


We took it easy for the first couple of days, then did one or two things in between relaxing. Being a de facto Irishwoman, it would be remiss of me not to mention the weather: It was Great! Plenty of warmth and sunshine, just what we needed. It was tempered only by a chilly breeze on our last couple of days there but it wasn't cold enough to keep us indoors by any means.

To help us relax, on our second day there Dave had a full body masssage, while I decided to see what Reiki was all about. I had a migraine so I was desperate enough to try anything to get rid of it. Well I don't know if I would rush back and do it again but I must admit that lying in a room with only candles for light, with classical music playing while someone energises your shakras (is that right?) is a wonderful way to relax. And to be fair, a few hours later the migraine lifted so who knows. Perhaps it wasn't just coincidence.

On day 3 Dave decided it was time for us to get off our sun loungers and do something. So we went scuba diving. We were both scuba-virgins and I must admit I was a little nervous. We got a bit of a theory lesson, then squeezed into our wetsuits and plopped into the swimming pool.


It was really convenient to have the scuba-diving centre on the hotel premises where we could practise in the pool before heading down to the private beach and into the sea (once I had gotten my head around breathing while underwater, and moved on from a mild panic attack in the process). Dave, of course, took to it like he'd been doing it his whole life. And when we did venture into the sea, I loved it! There were still a few moments of angst but the instructor was so kind, he actually held my hand while we were underwater, which helped to reassure me.
I was truly touched at how kind and patient he was - would that there were more people like that in the world.

We did a bit of shopping while we were there, too. The little town of Carvoeiro has some great little clothing shops, but me being the bargain-hunter that I am, I waited until we went on a day-trip to the inland town of Loulé, where we spent a few hours wandering around a Gypsey market. I didn't buy any Gypsies, but I did pick up a beautiful dress, among other things.


We also ate a snack from a caravan there, that smelled and tasted just like Vetkoek[1].

On our second-last day the wind was blowing fairly strongly, not great for sunbathing at all. I wanted to walk up to the end of the cliff we could see from our room; it looked really inviting for some reason. So we did this, and ended up spending the whole morning on the cliffs, walking and climbing a bit, stopping to find sheltered spots to sit and stare out to sea and watch the seagulls, of which there were plenty. The way they played on the wind and squawked and cried to each other made me want to come back as a seagull in my next life. It just looks like so much fun!


And that was the sum total of our activity while we were there. Apart, of course, from our evening meals. I love going to a different restaurant every night, and the food didn't disappoint at all. There wasn't much other night life to speak of. We tried to have a big night on the Saturday night after our dinner, but the few bars and pubs that were open were pretty much empty, save a small number of golfers. I can't imagine why one would go to such a lovely part of the world and play Golf all day, and spend all night with your Golfing buddies. But then I'm not a man. Apparently beauty and romance are not high on their list of priorities.


So that, in a nutshell, was our holiday in the Algarve. It was the sort of place that I could happily have not come home from. Sunshine, friendly people, slow pace of life, great food and beautiful scenery - what more could a girl ask for?!

If you're interested in seeing more of my photos from the holiday, check out my Flickr photostream.


[1] Vetkoek: A traditional South African food, basically a really light dough mixture that is deep-fried the way Donuts are. Yum. Yum. Yum!


angel said...

You forgot to mention how vetkoek is then covered in a sweet syrup... thats my favourite part.
This looks absolutely stunning, and I love reading about your holidays. You always have a little something that catches me off guard and makes me smile, like not buying any gypsies at the market.
Off to check out Flickr now.

Brigitte said...

SO glad you didn't buy a gypsy - it could have been a problem for you at customs... then again, if it was a "he" and if he was mysterious and rugged and all that...

Looks like you had a wonderful time Terri. Your pictures are fabulous as usual. Thanks for sharing.

Gino said...

Glad to see you are supporting the Portuguese - em, em :-)

Your trip looks beautiful - great photos! Makes me wanna get on a plane and get some mediterranean sunshine.

Terri said...

angel - lol! I just wanted to be sure there was no confusion... You're right, I forgot about the syrup. Actually these guys didn't do that; they rolled them in cinnamen sugar instead. It was really yummy!

Brigitte - Ja... unfortunately the Gypsies aren't quite as dashing as our childhood novels might lead us to believe. Mostly they're a little smelly and shrivelled. Not what you'd want to take home to meet your mum (or hide in your bedroom, for that matter!)

Gino - So what's stopping you? I can't think of anyone who would enjoy this stuff more than you would!

Brigitte said...

Oh, well. Good thing you didn't then hey. LOL!!!