Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The town of Albufeira in the Portuguese Algarve

Monday 28 April 2014
Probably the hottest day ever, ever, EVER! Well, maybe not, but it felt like it to me. It was over 32 degrees for sure and felt even hotter without much of a breeze. Luckily for my old body which battles very much in heat, I had decided not to take my camera that day, so was able to walk unemcumbered. We used Alan's camera.

The shuttle bus from Clube Albufeira (our timeshare resort) dropped us at the edge of town and we wandered in through an avenue of market stalls packed with scarves, beachwear, crotcheted tops, shoes, flea market nicnacs and this incredible sand sculpture:

It's hard to see the sculpture of an old fashioned ship from this photo
but the artist - who looked like he'd been plucked from an ancient
civilisation in South America somewhere - was having to constantly
maintain it with sand and water as the heat of the day was drying and cracking it.

Albufeira is an extremely popular town and area in The Algarve, so even at this time of year, tourists abound, and there were many, many bodies showing pink to red from too much sun already. I cringe to see lovely alabaster skins being dried out and browned, with little regard for how powerful a burning and drying tool the sun actually is. But I suppose it's like many smokers who believe that cancer won't happen to them ... or that it's so far into the distance and their old-age, that it doesn't matter. For once I can see the benefits of bottle-tans and orange skins.

The town square

This shot was taken further into the centre of town but you can
see how many clothes shops exist here, and all apparently doing well.

Oh yes - Alan needed his coffee and what did we find?
An Irish cafe "The Irish Harp" where they served us
excellent scones and coffee (water for me).

A slightly uphill stroll along the main upper tourist pedestrian mall brings you to a
downhill walk through a tunnel to the terrace above the beach.

Above and below ... the beach from the terrace

A quick study of the map of the town, as we sat on the walled terrace above the beach, showed us quite a walk upwards to see a bit of the town. As we gazed at the lines of thatched umbrellas bordering the most incredible lake-like and azure blue sea, even the incoming tide was doing it lazily, so it wasn't hard to join in and slope off into the very inviting restaurant for a long drink before lunch.


View of the sea from my seat on the restaurant terrace.
It's the first time I've ever been to a dingly-dangly raffia-adorned umbrella-type
place to eat with a dreamy seascape beyond ... and a jug of ice-cold
Sangria in front of me. It's a really hard life you know.

Even Alan was finding life hard.
You can see by the look on his face and
the lunch set before him.

We sat at that lunch table for more than two hours, thoroughly enjoying our own company, and our lunch, served very efficiently. I must say again that I really like the Portuguese people. They are down-to-earth, no-nonsense folk who are pleasant and efficient, never rushing you or showing annoyance at bumbling tourists (like ourselves!). They seem to have a quiet self-assurance and totally non-invasive self-confidence. Way to go Portugal!

After lunch we started the climb .....

... up ....

and up ...

... until the beach took on a more far-away view

The next hour or so was spent just wandering around the village, almost empty at this time of siesta, taking photographs, appreciating flowers, and failing to rouse a couple of cats. Enjoy the gallery of pics .....

We were exhausted and hot by the time we got down again to the town square. The shuttle bus had dropped us at the bus station that morning, so instead of waiting for the over-packed shuttle back to Clube Albufeira we caught a public transport bus back. The distance back, as the stork flies (no crows in Portugal from what I can see), is hardly more than 2 kms but the trip took us nearly an hour. And we loved it! The driver wove in and out of various suburbs, with 10 minutes breather at another bus station, and finally he dropped us off with a cheery smile, at the gate of the resort. For a €1.40 bus ticket each we had enjoyed a great tour of the locality which no tourist facility could have given us. So worth it!

The water sizzled as we dipped our hot selves into the pool .....

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