Praia da Luz
I had an early start this morning as I had a flight from Bournemouth to Faro at 10.10am, so I left the Anons at 6.45am, which allowed me plenty of time. I dropped the car off at the airport and had a little disagreement with the security gate man, who apparently hadn’t understood that I was dropping a rental car off. This meant I paid £2.50 unnecessarily for car parking (which, unsurprisingly, did not please me!).
After I had gone through an excessive security check (Bournemouth obviously being under the illusion that it is a Very Important Airport), I was buying a coffee when I overheard someone say that the flight was delayed by 2 hours. Naturally, there were no announcements to that effect and the information was apparently supposed to be telepathically conveyed! The French air traffic controllers were on strike (just for a change) and most flights had been cancelled completely, so I was lucky that at least mine was still going.
I spent the next couple of hours reading and when they announced that we could board, there was still no plane in evidence, which I found quite interesting. Anyway, it arrived and we eventually took off at 12.30pm. The journey was uneventful, if noisy, and full of typical English people going to resorts to eat, drink and turn bright red after lying in the sun for a week or two. (And, yes, I am being snobby!)
After arriving at Faro, I checked in with the shuttle company that I had booked with and then waited 40 minutes for the driver to turn up. Everyone else had left for their various hotels, so I was starting to get a little anxious when someone finally appeared. I was the only person on the bus and the driver didn’t speak a lot of English, so it was a fairly quiet drive to Praia da Luz.
On arrival at Lynne’s, we sat on her balcony for a cup of tea and chat, before going for a walk along the promenade and around the town. She then received a callout to one of the villas she manages, so I went with her whilst she sorted out the problem after which we drove back into Luz and strolled down to a beachfront bar, where a litre of rather strong sangria was consumed!
More wine with dinner and a lot of chat made for an extremely late night. I can’t remember the last time I was still up at 1am!
After the rather late night, I was feeling a little tired today and Lynne put me to shame as she had already been working for a couple of hours (making curtains), when I emerged from the bedroom!
I had arranged to meet a friend, whom I had met in Panama, at 10.15am in Lagos, so after breakfast, I caught the bus into town. This took me on a little tour around the houses and arrived right on time at the bus station, where Carolyn appeared soon after.
First stop was the coffee shop to catch up on what we had each been doing since we last saw each other in Bocas del Torro and then we strolled along the promenade, had a look at the fish market and slowly progressed through the old part of Lagos.
As she had already been staying there for a week (and had delayed her departure so that we could meet up), she was familiar with the area and suggested that we do the nearby coastal walk and have lunch at a cafe at the other end, so this is what we did.
It was a beautiful walk, looking down at the rocky coastline with crystal clear, vibrant blue water and crossing lovely sandy beaches. There were quite a number of people on the beaches but, as it was not yet high season, there was still some space between the towels/sunbeds, which there wouldn’t be in a few weeks time.
There were also a lot of boats taking tourists on trips along the coast, through the rocky archways and into the bays that proliferated along the way.
We arrived at about 2pm and decided on the local speciality of sardines for lunch. These were extremely tasty (and filling) but the meal was marred by the large quantity of flies buzzing around so I was forced to adopt the Australian wave throughout the meal!
We then spent the entire afternoon sitting in the cafe and chatting. As Carolyn spends her life travelling, having sold her house in London, she had plenty to talk about. She had just returned from Nepal, Japan and Hong Kong and was now spending an indefinite time in Portugal. She had been on the road full time for the last 5 years so had plenty of advice to give me and now I am wondering “where to next?”!
We eventually started our walk/stroll back to Lagos at about 5pm and it was nearly 6.15pm when we arrived, by which time I was thinking Lynne would be wondering where I had got to so I caught the bus back to Luz and returned to the house. Lynne returned a little while later.
She suggested we go to Lagos for dinner at the Blue Doors, (not it’s actual name but what it is known by), which is a popular restaurant with both tourists and residents. I took Lynne’s advice and had the excellent corvina (halibut), washed down with the house vinho verde. The restaurant was very full and had a lovely atmosphere, so it was a most enjoyable meal. It was about 11pm when we returned to Luz and, as I had been yawning throughout dinner, I was certainly ready to retire when we arrived back.
The morning went somewhere and I’m not sure where! By the time I woke up, Lynne was hard at work. She had various tasks to do, including cooking, shopping and sewing for clients, so I pottered around for most of the morning and then went out for a stroll along the promenade and around the back streets of Luz.
Once she had finished what she had to do and we had had a sandwich, Lynne drove me out to Sagres, which is the south western most tip of Portugal. She called at a couple of clients’ houses along the way to measure windows for curtains, and we also made a short stop at Burgau, another small town along the coast.
Sagres was extremely windy and the coastline very rocky, rugged and beautiful. There was a lighthouse at the point where the two coasts meet, with a very large chair, seemingly placed for no reason other than for tourists to have the photograph taken in it! (So I did.)
After stopping at a ceramics shop, we went into Sagres so that I could see the town and the fishing port, and then continued on up the western coast where there were a number of surf beaches, including Amado and Carrapenteria. There were a few surfers out in the water but the waves were not particularly spectacular today, although I have seen photos of these beaches when the waves are positively huge!
Our last port of call for the day was at Spinnaker bar overlooking the marina in Lagos. This is owned by Peter, Lynne’s ex-husband and my ex-husband’s cousin (so sort of in the family!). Lynne met up with a number of friends and I met Peter, whom I hadn’t really met previously (unless you count attending their wedding many, many years ago).
It was an extremely enjoyable evening but, somehow, we ended up having a little more wine than we intended and I was very glad it wasn’t me that was driving home. We got takeaway chicken on the way back to Luz and it was quite late by the time we arrived back and ate dinner. All this socialising is almost getting too much for me!
Lynne was busy again this morning, so I went with her into Lagos, stopping to drop off some food at one client (who just happened to own a kiwifruit orchard near Whakatane!) and picking up the maid, who was going to clean one of the villas Lynne manages. I spent a couple of hours wandering around the back streets of Lagos, having a coffee and delicious custard tart, a speciality of Portugal, in a small cafe, which, by chance, happened to be one of the better ones in town.
Lynne picked me up again just after 12 and we drove into Portimao for me to have a look at C&A, which, for some reason, still exists in Portugal but went out of business in the UK years ago. With the aid of my personal assistant, who was probably a bit wary about what might come out of my back pack to wear to dinner this evening with her friends, I came out of the shop with 3 dresses, which was a little excessive to say the least!
After this, we returned to Luz, had lunch and then a couple of hours rest and recuperation on the beach in preparation for yet another social evening. Although it was getting late in the afternoon, the beach was still reasonably busy with families and it was most enjoyable to lie down and do nothing for a while.
We met four of Lynne’s friends for a pre dinner drink in a bar in Luz and then walked down to the restaurant that was just opposite Lynne’s house for dinner. We were able to sit outside, even though it was quite windy, the food was excellent and, yet again, the wine flowed. And so another very pleasant evening passed!
We had a very relaxed day today, pottering about the house in the morning, before Lynne drove me up into the Monchique mountains from where we could see the Algarve from Faro to the west coast. Unfortunately, there was quite a sea mist, so it was very hazy. It was also extremely cold (hard to believe!) at the highest view point, so we admired the view and came straight back down to the warmth again.
Once home, Lynne made some lunch, which we then ate on the beach whilst chatting to a friend of her’s, who owned the restaurant we had eaten at last night. We stayed on the there for a couple of hours and then it was back to the house so that she could prepare food for one of her client’s for the next day. My contribution to the effort was to peel and de-vein a bag of uncooked prawns! Lynne made enough of the one dish so that there was enough for us as well, so it was a very tasty monk fish and prawn curry for dinner. There are advantages to staying with a professional caterer!