18 to 21 May
Today was the start of a period until early July that is filled with visitors both here in Paris as well as across Europe.
Before that started though we both had to get some work done this morning, with Jer heading in for a meeting and me trying to get some done at home.
He came home around lunch and eventually we made our way to Orly for our 15h40 flight to Faro, Portugal. This was always an area of Portugal we wanted to explore, and lucky for us so did our good friends from the US Meg and Rod!
Once we arrived we picked up the rental car and headed to the Airbnb to check in as they were not arriving until later that evening. We relaxed for a while and then Jer went for a long run while I walked down the street to the grocery store and check out a few possible dinner spots. I also was able to catch quite the sunset!!
We were not staying in the city of Faro as we found a place near the beach not that far away. Actually kind of reminded me a bit of one of the smaller Jersey Shore barrier island towns. We were also there in one of the shoulder seasons so it was not as “happening” as it would be in the summer.
We settled on dinner at Wax RestoBar where we enjoyed some time sitting outside, for once, with some Portuguese tapas and beer.
Eventually it was finally time to go pick up Meg & Rod at the airport!! Around 23h they finally arrived and we grabbed there stuff and headed to the Airbnb where we spent the next few hours catching up and planning out our day tomorrow.
We were up and ready to start exploring the lovely Algarve coast this morning!
Our first stop was the city of Faro. We wanted to make sure we explored the city a little bit as it is famous for its port, which dates back centuries, as well as once being encircled by a massive wall by the Moor’s. The architecture is stunning and the 13th century cathedral was something that felt different than many others we have seen. We also found a cool, quite creepy, small chapel that was made out of skulls!!!!!!
After we were done exploring we stopped at the grocery store quickly and picked up some things for sandwiches, and wine of course, so that we could have a nice picnic lunch.
We were then back on the road headed towards Praia da Marinha, which was the sight of our picnic spot as well as the start of a walk along the cliffs. Luckily we had an absolutely stunning day today so it made for an incredible walk and a truly amazing experience in this beautiful area. After about an hour of exploring the coast we stopped at Praia de Benagil to relax and lay on the beach for a while.
Our relaxing time however did not last long, well for Jer and Rod anyway. The Benagil caves are famous for the fact that you can see down into the cave from the coastal walk (photo above), but you cannot get into the cave any other way than by ocean. Of course knowing this Jer and Rod wanted to go into the cave. The issue was that the sea was not very calm today and we didn’t have a kayak, or any other way to get there. They both felt that even though it would be difficult they were strong enough swimmers to do it anyway. It seems very, very close, however when it is that rough it apparently is very, very difficult. Luckily they were able to make it to the cave an back, even if a bit winded.
After grabbing a few beers at one of the local shops on the beach it was time to head back to the car so that we could continue on to where we were staying tonight, Lagos.
After about 45 mins we arrived at our Airbnb around 18h30. Rod had found this place, and it was amazing. It had a great rooftop terrace which we quickly made use of.
After getting ready for dinner we all enjoyed some snacks and beers on the rooftop until around 21h when it was finally time to head to dinner.
Tonight’s dinner was at O Pescador where we enjoyed yet another wonderful meal. We were even able to sit outside again which has me excited for the start of the season for this in Paris hopefully coming soon.
Eventually we headed back to the Airbnb after dinner and enjoyed a few more drinks on the rooftop before calling it a night.
We took a bit of time to relax this morning before heading just outside of town for another coastal hike.
Today’s destination was Ponta da Piedade as there was a lighthouse that we wanted to head out to. We had read there was a beautiful hike out to the point if you just drove 5 minutes outside the city to Carvi Beach and there was a large parking lot as well where we could leave the car.
One of the other things we had read about along this particular walk was the small coves that you could walk down to. In preparation of this we had packed another lovely lunch so that we could enjoy another picnic in the beautiful weather we were having. We ended up choosing a very fun little spot where there were stairs most of the way down, however it was quite a bit of a jump to get down to the ground at the end in order to walk around. The reason for this was due to the tides being quite dramatic in this area and they did boat rides from the area, so the concrete platform was at the high tide marker to funnel people on and off. So after roping down we found a nice secluded place to enjoy our sandwiches.
Once we had finished lunch, and as the tide was coming in more and more, we decided to head back towards the car. On our way though we decided we should stop at one of the beaches along the way and enjoy some more time in the sun.
After spending about an hour or so relaxing and enjoying some last moments on the beach we decided to call it a day and head back to the Airbnb. One reason for this is the crazy storm clouds we started to see out over the water, but also because we wanted to explore the town a little more and we also needed to get Rod a SIM card as we would be leaving them tomorrow and they needed a working phone.
After showering up we were able to get Rod a working SIM card eventually. Then it was off to walk around and explore town a bit. We of course had the ever trusty Rick Steves with us to lead us around. All this walking lead us to all be thirsty so the first stop was Bon Vivant Bar Terraza Alta as we noticed a cool looking rooftop bar from below.
After a few beers we continued our walk through town seeing the numerous churches and out along the old wall to the port. Eventually we all started to get hungry so it was time for dinner.
Looking for some traditional food we found Casa de Pasto “O Ze” down along the waterfront where we enjoyed an excellent dinner, sitting outside yet again, and some drinks before calling it an evening.
Once back at the Airbnb we finished the last few of the drinks we had leftover and started to get some packing done as tomorrow was our last day in Portugal with Meg and Rod.
We woke up to quite the weather change today as the temperature change we experienced when walking around yesterday evening had fully set in and it had become quite windy and cloudy now.
After breakfast we packed up the car and headed out. Before it was time to say goodbye we had a good portion of the day until either of us had to catch our next modes of transport. We decided to continue west, as far as we could, and go to Farol do Cabo de São Vicente which is the westernmost point in this part of Portugal and known for its high cliffs and views.
After a few quick stops along the cliffs on the way, and watching some surfers, we arrived and spent some time walking around the lighthouse and surrounding cliffs.
At this point we were all ready for a coffee so we headed back to the car and picked out the small beach town of Salema to make a stop for coffee and hopefully lunch as well.
Since today was a holiday, Pentecost Monday, in Europe we arrived to quite a dead town. Lucky for us we were able to quickly find a place to grab an espresso. We were also lucky because as the day was going on it was getting nicer and nicer out so we weren’t so cold anymore.
After walking around the small town a little bit to see the beach, and if there were any local shops open, we were all pretty hungry for lunch. While we were walking around we saw a small place, Concha, which looked interesting so we decided to give it a try since there were not many places open.
After enjoying one last meal sitting outside enjoying the weather it was finally time to get on the road and start heading back to our respective destinations. We of course were headed back to Faro Airport to catch our flight home, but Meg and Rod were headed up to Lisbon to continue there exploration of Portugal. They had found a train from the town of Tunes which was on the way back to Faro from where we were so it was perfect.
We said goodbye to them at the train station just after 15h00 and continued our way to the airport where we had a 17h25 local flight.
Thankfully the car drop off, flight and metro ride home all went smoothly and back at the apartment around 22h30, just in time to get settled and then head to bed as we were both back to work tomorrow and our next set of visitors arrives in just 48 hours!