So we finally made it to the beaches.
And it was truely worth the wait: Spain has a lot to learn (let alone Italy)…
1st of all, upon driving into the parking I was expecting the usual troll to pop up demanding a large amount of my holiday money for the privilege of leaving the car there for a couple of hours: NADA. Free-of-charge..
We then walked towards one of the cleanest beaches we’d ever seen; although this was October – which you couldn’t really call “High Season”, they seemed to drive over the beach every morning with a net-pulling tractor dragging away various bits of fould-smelling seaweed and hippies.
The daily rental of a (solid) umbrella + two sunbeds was only â‚¬10.
And the scenery…. Unbeatable!
The thing about the Algarve is that it is totalling crawling with creeks and beaches: I can’t imagine them ever being full, even in Summer, as there is so much space for everyone.
And “our” beach had an added touch: overlooking it was this wonderful seafood restaurant..
So it came to be the day after our arrival: the beach day..
After a copious breakfast of (nope: no octopus salad for breakfast) fresh fruit salad and just a teeny-tiny bit of bacon and eggs (which I swore whould be the absolute last time these holidays, and while sitting there gloriously digesting while debating which book I’d read today, someone mentioned “Hey, it’s wednesday. Isn’t there a Gipsy Market down the road?”……
Now when you’re on holiday with two teenagers who have already unsuccessfully scanned the area for potential playthings, the word “market” immediately suggests “Fake Dolce & Gabbana belts, fake Playboy bags, fake anything-which-has-got-a-label-on-it..”.
So off we went..
To be fair, there are some advantages though: Pina was able to purchase 73 handbags for the price you’d pay for one over here. And I took great delight in watching these German and British tourists buy bootleg DVDs while not knowing a word of Spanish, let alone Hindi…
And four hours later we were sitting in a delightful little seafood restaurant forking mouthfuls of…yes, you got it!
And the beach would still be there tomorrow, no?
After a perfectly 2 1/2 hour stress-free drive on an empty motorway, interrupted by a short stop to have our first octopus salad in a roadside cafÃ© (where the clocks were also wrong, haha) we arrived at our hotel. The kids who had been moaning non-stop about the potential absence of kids their age, immediately stopped and stood there with their jaws drooping as we entered the appartment: tastefully decorated in Norwegian wood with a fully equipped kitchen (including microwave) and a seperate bedroom, the place was fantastic.
Apart from the toilet, maybe: I mean, do Portugese have square bums? Or is the majority of tourists afflicted with such an appendice? I then simply sighed and decided to grin and bear my predicament like a man…
We immediately went off to look for the nearest supermarket to stock up on the usual commodities (olives (bloody expensive at â‚¬1.80 a tin), crisps, booze, soft drinks, etc…) before going off for dinner which was excellent (yet another dish of octopus salad! ).
Everything had gone pretty damn well so far! I was already looking forward to the next day’s trip to the local beaches…
T’was quite a trip!
For the first time, we (Pina that is) booked a trip 100% via the net, so we were quite apprehensive about the whole idea; especially due to the fact that the hotel we had chosen was barely a year old and still hadn’t updated it’s web page with real pics..
So we started off from Basel airport on a wet Tuesday morning, an airport which just reeks from amateurism: half built terminals, cables hanging down from cracks in the ceiling, dirty carpets and, to add insult to injury, they imagine that just because you’re on holiday you won’t mind paying CHF 6.00 for a can of coke! The vending machines are out-of-order, BTW.
But then it’s EasyJet‘s only Swiss-German hub so…
The flight was amazing and I truely enjoyed it: especially the bit where I sat riveted to my seat, munching a half box of Pringles, while captivated by the sight of Pina’s face colour turning a quite amazing shade of green. She just can’t take a wee bit of turbulences, the old sissy! I wonder how she would have reacted if she would have been caught on this EasyJet flight out of Geneva which intrepidly attempted to fly through a hail storm:
Click pic for more
2 1/2 half hours later we were in Lisbon, picked up our rental car (the guy at the counter seemed totally pissed at the rate we managed to negotiate on the grey market, so he got his own back by requesting a â‚¬ 1’600 deposit), had a good laugh about the fact that the time on the dashboard was running a whole hour late, switched on the ol’ TomTom and were off towards the Algarve.
More to come…
So Sarah’s school is offering pupils the chance to experience the rat race this week.
As she’s pretty interested in languages and is contemplating a career which will make use of her skills, off she went to the local “Grand Hotel” to work at the reception for the day:
Isn’t she cute?
BTW: Don’t get used to her look. It is TOTALLY atypical…