It’s been a while since I returned, and I still don’t have all my photos arranged and accounted for, but I do have enough to start sharing my trip with you. So please first join me in Portugal.
Traveling often yields surprises, and Portugal was one of them. I don’t know what I expected, but I didn’t know what a luxurious place I was about to discover. Oh, maybe not all of Portugal, but certainly where we were staying. Now that I’m home, I googled Algarve which is the area we were in. I discovered it’s the most popular tourist destination in Portugal and one of the most popular in Europe. I also read that it’s the richest region in Portugal, after Lisbon and Madeira.
We had a timeshare week at Vilar do Golf— the most luxurious of the resorts we stayed in during our four weeks. It’s the closest thing to perfection I can remember enjoying. Not only did we each have our own room with a private bath, but the kitchen was supplied with everything one might want, including microwave, dishwasher, oven, an ample supply of glassware — some displayed in an attractive cabinet in the dining area — flatware, dinnerware, and — most special of all — a washer and dryer. Funny how it’s the little things that matter. They also supplied a drying rack on which I dried the laundry on the deck. I felt like I was playing house. (Actually every place we stayed in Europe supplied such a rack.)
There were other wonderful things people might enjoy at the resort. When we travel, however, we tend not to use the pools, exercise rooms, and other special places because our days are too filled with sightseeing.
But we certainly did enjoy the Bobby Jones restaurant the evening we arrived, tired and hungry. To tell the truth, I can’t remember what I ordered to eat, but I do remember ordering red wine. The server just told me he’d choose for me — a portuguese wine, of course. I’m not a connoisseur, but I do know what I like, and I liked that. In fact, I loved the way their wines were served with enthusiasm and pride wherever we ate in Portugal – usually selected for me by the server.
Bobby Jones is apparently a popular local restaurant, not there just to serve residents at Vilar do Golf. An impressive building at the end of an elegant and beautifully lighted path it provided live music and, as I recall, a floor for dancing. We just ate, but I’m sure it would be fun for anyone who might be getting ideas from what I’m saying here.
Now for a few photos. Our first day out we first explored the beach.
And crossed the bridge to the island.
On the way I spotted someone apparently capturing his dinner. If all went as it should when I updated this blog, he should also be found as today’s header.
There was a touch of whimsey along the way as well, just before a restaurant where we couldn’t be served because it requires either a long wait or reservations. (I didn’t get a photo of it, but it was a first inkling that this was a very popular place.)
On the island our first sight was something that felt like being in Cambodia. Remember? But there were no entrepreneurs selling their home-made or -grown wares. In fact, a much more luxurious feel. (That’s Doug way to the right of the photo. If he had taken such a photo he would have shopped the person out of it. I, on the other hand, take photos — beautiful or not — to chronicle where I’ve been.)
And where we went after this stop was to take a look at the shops. If I hadn’t already got the sense that we were in a pretty wealthy area I would have caught on here.) Yes, I’m emerging from one shopping area and heading for another.
As for shopping, you may remember that I chronicled my Asia/Pacific adventures by photographing the markets and noting the contrasts as the journey moved on. Here’s another contrast for you. The market we visited in our explorations the first day in the Algarve.
And there you have our first day in Portugal. I had expected to do the week in Portugal in just one blog post, but I got carried away, I guess.
I’ll be back with more.