14.12.2016 - 16.12.2016 16 °C
The Southern coast of Portugal is called the Algarve. It has a Mediterranean climate and is known for its rugged beaches.
The word Algarve is taken from Arabic and means 'the west'. Moors occupied southern Portugal for 500 years.
We have just spent two weeks in Spain. It is fascinating now to hear Portuguese. 'It sounds like Ukrainians speaking Spanish,' my sister remarked. Thanks to Brazil, Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language.
I know two Portuguese words: Hola and Obrigada. The first is also hello in Spanish and the second reminds me of Japanese. Arigato. Thank you.
The town of Albufeira lies west of Faro and east of Lagos. The name is Arabic and means Castle of the Sea.
There are over three thousand Arabic based words in Portuguese.
We took the bus from Seville. The first half of the ride was memorable for pouring rain. As we travelled west the clouds started breaking up.
It was sunny in Albufeira. Our hotel Sol e Mar, is right on the beach. Our room faces the beach and has a balcony. The room is spacious and there is lots of storage.
The sand has a reddish cast, the beach is almost deserted, it is low season. The bar is busy, lots of people on the patio enjoying the sun. Mostly from England and Holland.
We order a light meal and enjoy the view.
It is more rugged here with the rocky outcroppings, hilly and really steep in places. Our hotel is built into the side of a hill so all of the guest rooms have sea views.
When the sun goes behind a hill it feels much chillier and one by one or two by two we guests drift inside.
There are numerous shops in the streets behind our hotel. After dark we went for a walk to explore the neighbourhood. The full moon was hanging next to the church steeple:
We are staying two nights.
The fifteenth is overcast. It is still warm 16 C.
We walk on the fine sand in our bare feet picking up shells. There are plenty to choose from and my pockets are filled.
An escalator transports people living or staying on the high level to the beach. There is a lookout platform at the top and the hop on and off bus stops here. We buy tickets and go around once. Not a very scenic tour and no commentary.
Back at the seashore someone is swimming.
It turns out to be a pensioner from Bristol, 76 years young, yes, yes it is something he likes to do. His 82 year old wife is with him, she didn't go in today because last time the waves toppled her over.
They are vigorous and peppy. Just like they stepped out of Coronation Street. Wow they set a really good example of how to enjoy life in your later years. I wish I had their picture, they looked good, interesting faces and their own teeth.
They are staying at our hotel, half board, breakfast and supper, for fifty Euros. We just have breakfast included for 31 Euros per night.
They have stayed here before, you can't beat the price, in the summer there are so many people you can barely find room to put your lounge chair or towel.
It is much more tranquil in low season:
We have a million dollar view from our balcony:
Breakfast is a buffet with lots to choose from, hot and cold foods. They have bacon, sausages, scrambled or hard boiled eggs, grilled tomatoes, catering to the tourists from England, their biggest customer group.
We take the bus to Evora on December 16 th.
The buses are clean and comfortable.