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