I was up early Sunday morning, and I thought, since it was a nice day, and it was going to be sunny, to take Carol and Charlie down to the Algarve. We decided weâ€™d eat breakfast somewhere along the way, rather than taking more time at home.
The drive is only about an hour and a half. Itâ€™s a nice drive over winding roads, slightly inland for some of the time. It would give my guests a different view of the country.
First we headed to Lagos and went into town and all of a sudden you realize the population explosion – apartments and more apartments with their resorts or condos. Lagos was the Algarve’s capital from the last quarter of the the 16th century to the time when of the 1755 earthquake when the town was flattened. Today tourism drives the economy and that is very obvious when you arrive. This is definitely a retirement town for the older retired people, however not to my taste!
We parked along the way, because there was a Sunday bazaar of little kiosks with items for sale. We looked for coffee and something to eat but, nothing really appealing was open yet so we wandered for a while through the streets. By 11 oâ€™clock we did stop to get breakfast, an omelette, and it was close enough to noon to get a beer. Then we wandered along the shore looking at the boats and people watching and popping in and out of tourist kiosks.
After Lagos we drove over to Portamao, another town that exploded with all the expats who come here for the warmer weather. It is the Algarve’s second most populated city. It was at one time an important trading city for the Greeks , the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians. It was also almost destroyed in the big earthquake of 1755. Large shopping malls built at the outskirts of the town,have sadly affected the prosperity of the town centre much like what had happened in central Uxbridge at home!
Again Portimao, is a resort town and that ensures some prosperity. Here many retirees come to spend their winter months. And it has a couple of hospitals. As you drive into town you see apartments followed by apartments, resorts and condos. We went down to the main beach, the Praia de Rocha. Itâ€™s a long run of steps down the cliffs to the beautiful beach, with a big wide expanse of sand set against the red oche cliffs. It is very beautiful but unlike the protected natural magic of the home I have had this last two months! However the waves are much calmer here, than on the Vincentina coast. Unfortunately, when you look back at the coastline from the sea, all you see are resorts after resorts, hotels, after hotels. The natural landscape is lost .
Carol and Charlie remarked that I was so lucky where I chose to stay.
Since it was later in the day, rather than going farther west, we headed in the north west direction.
We planned to stop in for dinner at the Altura Steakhouse & Bar, just south of the town of Rogil. The tow truck driver had pointed that restaurant out to me, a few weeks ago, on our way down to Albufereira in the Algarve. He said it was fabulous!
Unfortunately they were not open until a few hours after we arrived so we went onward in our journey.
A few kilometres further, we found Batata-Doce restaurant. They use sweet potatoes in everything including their dessert. It was a delicious meal all round. Carol had grilled sea bass; Charlie had squid, and I had lamb! ( I have eaten so much fish lately , I wanted a change!)
We came home to a shared dessert, a port and a few more episodes of Ted Lasso!