In my series of 'Summer Travel to Portugal and Spain', Scott and I started off in Lisbon and are making our way south to the sunny beaches of Algarve, Portugal. We found this area to be the quintessential 'sunny escape' and a great balance to our time in the bustling city of Lisbon. During our four-hour drive on the A2 toll road, we lunched at a surprisingly gourmet road stop cafe (including hot dishes, salads, freshly baked desserts and even wines for sale). We've found Portugal, Spain and France to be plentiful in this convenience while driving.
Scott and I checked into the Oura View Beach Club, and were treated to a pool and ocean view suite by the lovely Margarita. For a moment I was unsure if I wanted to be so near the action. It turned out to be a perfect location for our spacious apartment, with terrace, sun loungers and a gate to the pool and beach below.
After settling in, we headed past the pool to the beach-side restaurant, where we were warmly welcomed by Pedro and friends. We delighted in the freshest of fish dishes, batatas (potatoes, a Portuguese staple), and yes, more sangria. The beach was perfect for walks and sunset views. We found ourselves drawn to beach each evening.
The beaches of the Algarve have always intrigued us, and having a rental car was a must for exploring. The next morning we headed west, to the most unspoiled beaches. We lunched in Portimao under the colorful umbrellas and played with the pastel scooters.
We made our way through small beach towns, Lagos, Lagoa, all the way to Sagres (the farthest southwest tip of Portugal). We stopped in Silves, a picturesque hill town off the beaten path, on our way back to Albufeira. I marveled at the beauty of this outdoor terrace (lower right) at a private residence, while Scott had a little trouble getting along with the locals.;)
We dressed for dinner and I couldn't resist playing on the beach during sunset. It never fails, give me a barefoot sunset on the beach and I'm at my happiest. Scott snapped a number of shots, somehow I didn't feel my usual awkwardness, even though onlookers from the beach and restaurants were in view. Must have been because I was in 'my happy place' (or it was the sangria?). The scene was beautiful.....for just a moment I forgot my age (on the verge of 53) and went with the moment. When was the last time you lost yourself in a moment?
This coral dress is the most comfortable thing I own and my new favorite-can you tell?
The next day we drove east to Faro with its pastel buildings, iron balconies, delicious cafes, and wandered the streets of this historic, picturesque town.
If you ever find yourself in the Algarve be sure to stop in the tiny hamlet of Almancil, to view the Church of Sao Lourenco, one of the few to survive the massive earthquake of 1755. The interior is completely tiled in royal blue and white azulejo tiles, depicting the story of Sao Lourenco, and embellished with rich gold trims. The entire front of the church and alter are covered in gold in this surprisingly ornate, exquisite place.
On our final night in the Algarve, Pedro treated us to another fresh and fun-filled dinner beach-side, and we left the following morning to catch a travel bus to the romantic Sevilla, Spain.
Thank you for following my series of 'Summer Travel to Portugal and Spain'.
Next stop will be the glorious Sevilla, Spain.
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