Taking a Break
My parents decided to separate themselves from Abby and I today, and we both enjoyed our breaks from one another. Abby and I rose very late, as the whole family had stayed up past one o'clock the night before, and were up and about for less than an hour before Mom and Dad headed out the door. We enjoyed our lazy start, reading and chatting and eating breakfast, and finally decided to get out and about by taking a look at the pools that are located at the back of the apartment complex. Dipping our fingers in, we found the shallower of the two to be mildly heated, while the other was rather frigid. In the end, we decided to go out on a walk up the cliffs by the beach, and maybe even take a small tour of the town. The view from the top of the bluffs was just as incredible as it had been before, though the sky was a little cloudier, the wind a little nippier. We sat there for awhile, looking down at the grey-blue waves and quiet village below. It's not a view that grows tiresome quickly.
Algarve: on top of the world
Eventually, we headed back down the cliffs, and meandered for a bit, stopping to watch a sand sculptor and looking for an open shop to take a look inside. The only stores that seemed to be open for business were a pharmacy and a cramped shop selling various odds and ends, like jewelry and hairpieces. On the way back home, we stopped to take pictures of some of the colourful blooms outside people's houses, and only took one wrong turn. When we arrived, we were saddled with the task of preparing dinner, which I think we did well and without complaint. No dishes for us, at least.
Just Kicking Back in Luz
When we first planned to visit the Algarve we were only going to stay for four days, but after having the kids input we decided to extend our stay to a full week—why would we leave sun and luxury prematurely? Today and tomorrow are to be our lazy days. Muriel and I promised to leave the kids to their own devices until dinner today and we would do our own thing. I slept until after 9:00 and enjoyed some coffee on the balcony and then got caught up on some international news. We are on the Sky cable service in our apartment which gives us news channels from around the world and many are in English. I watched Russian News, Chinese News, South African News, French News and British News. It was very interesting to see the differences.
After Muriel got up we had a fruit salad made from fresh pineapples, mangos, and a few other fruits. It seems that frequent trade between Portugal and Brazil make for some very inexpensive prices on mangos and pineapples so we are taking full advantage.
Algarve: overlooking Luz
After a leisurely breakfast Muriel and I went to hike up the lower and upper bluffs above Luz, which Hannah and I explored a few days ago. The sun was warm and the view free of any mist. We lingered up top for a long time just sitting on the rocks and enjoying the view. We sauntered down into town to look for a cafe for a lunchtime snack. I was nudged out of my laid back state when I found out I had left my sunglasses on top of the bluff. But since time was not really an issue I just took it as second chance for a work out and jogged up and down in about 20 minutes.
I now felt entitled to a Sagres Beer.
We found a homey looking sidewalk cafe and sat outside. Even though it was getting a little cooler it was still comfortable to sit outside. Muriel had a coconut milk shake and tomato soup complete with an egg floating on top (standard practice for Portuguese soup as we recalled from 20 years ago). The bowl of soup was just 2 euros. I ordered my beer and a bifana, which is a pork sandwich. I remember these sandwiches fondly from visiting Lisbon 20 years ago when every street cafe served them for about a dollar apiece. I was not disappointed, although the price had gone up a fair bit.
We wandered the streets a bit, finding most shops closed for the Christmas season. Muriel talked to a local and found that there will be no increase in tourists here over Christmas vacation and that the area really only fills during the summer months, when the town population increases tenfold. It seems that the price of our accommodation goes up proportionally as well. We are paying 63 dollars Canadian, and in the summer our place goes for about 325 dollars Canadian. We are really enjoying the benefits of the off season.
Abby and Hannah cooked us a salmon dinner with wild rice and sautéed carrots and peas. It was delicious! It is so great having the kids doing their share of the cooking, dishes and shopping. They really are growing up and are great travel companions.
We have made plans for leaving the day after tomorrow. We are heading for Tarifa, Spain for a night and leaving from there the next day for an overnight trip to Tangiers, Morocco. We will leave our car and most of our gear back in Spain. It should be quite an adventure. We will return and spend one more night in Tarifa, head off to visit Gibraltar for half a day and then go to Granada. We will visit the Alhambra there and make for Valencia for a three night stay before we go to Barcelona for a weeklong stay over Christmas.