After our year living in Europe together was up a decade ago, SVV and I took what I thought would be our final vacation as a pair: a beach trip to the Algarve. I don’t know if it was the exhilaration of our last days as a pair or Portugal’s natural intoxication, but whatever the case may have been, it was one of our most cherished vacations to date.
I had been finishing up a guidebook in Spain, so after completing a project in Azerbaijan—I know, right?? who goes there?—SVV flew to Bilbao, where I was bed-ridden for a week with a nasty flu. From there, we took a train, which seemed to take days—and in actuality, when it was all said and done, it took us nearly 24 hours and a minimum of three train connections, those suckas in those parts are slooooow—to reach the Algarve at the southern tip of Portugal.
We didn’t really plan anything in advance—just consulted our Lonely Planet (back in the days when I still believed in LP) and knocked on doors of women who ran pensiones in each city in which we arrived. We paid something like $20 a night—total—for a room and bath. It was awesome.
Our days were spent searching for Portugal’s most perfect beach (while sipping boat drinks oceanfront, of course). We were there just before high season began, but oftentimes, it seemed as if we had the whole coast to ourselves.
All the beachside rock formations and grottos made for a lot of fun and opportunities to explore, especially for the monkey here. And long stretches of beach with no surf in sight gave the occasional impression that we were in the desert.
(See SVV’s red legs? That’s because he didn’t listen to me and neglected to put a single drop of sunscreen on his cracka skin. As a result, he fried like an egg on the sidewalk on a hot summer day at the Equator. Serves him right. Sorry, but I have to say it: Told ya so.)
And the sunsets, well, they definitely didn’t suck.
We took the train back up to Lisbon for the last couple days so I could write a brief assignment for Newsweek before we flew out of Porto and back to Denmark to pack up our home. I loved the ubiquitous red-roof buildings and the overall architecture of this city. If any travel editor out there wants to send me back, I’d be more than happy to oblige :-p