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Tarifa - Albufeira, at last we arrive in Portugal

Home -> Europe -> Portugal -> Travelogue Portugal -> 18 to 22 June 2001

Monday 18 June, Tarifa - Albufeira, at last we arrive in Portugal

Finally, we leave southern Spain and enter Portugal, the target of our trip. But it is a habit of us to encounter interesting things along the way, so it always takes more time to arrive somewhere than we plan. This time we encountered the Archeodrome in France, Andorra because Teije wants to visit that country, Barcelona because we both want to see it, especially the buildings made by Gaudi, Cordoba because we were in the neighbourhood and the same was true about Gibraltar.
But we have reached Portugal on the 9th day of our holiday. Friends of ours (a Portuguese man and a Dutch woman) have recently moved to Portugal, so we have decided to visit them, also. They live in Albufeira, and there we go first.
Camping AlbufeiraIn Albufeira we get lost totally before we find the campsite, after asking several people for directions. It is quite a luxurious campsite, but not on the beach. That isn't necessary for us, we aren't people who like being on the beach for hours... well, that is what we think at that time...
Our tent at the campsite Our tent at the campsiteWe set up our tent on a quiet spot and then start to explore the campsite which takes us over an hour. There are several swimming pools, restaurants and an extensive security at the gate. The prices are correspondingly: € 17 per night for 2 people, 1 small tent and a car.
At night we phone with our friends and make an appointment for tomorrow. Next we walk into the old city centre of Albufeira, a very attractive place with a nice market square. For the next ten days that we stay at Albufeira we make a habit of it to walk to this place and have a drink or a meal on the market square, enjoying the warm weather, the people and the atmosphere. Surprisingly, we haven't made any pictures of the place!

Tuesday 19 June 2001, Albufeira, exploring the neighbourhood

Finally together on a pictureWe didn't ask for electricity near our tent, but it is very convenient to have a power outlet where we can plug in our water cattle. With coffee, tea and fresh rolls we have a luxurious breakfast. It is quite early, because it is terrible to lie in a tent when temperatures quickly rise above 30°C before 9 in the morning. At 10 we have an appointment with our friend Monique who shows us a lot of Albufeira and the neighbourhood that day.
Thanks to her we see places where we normally would never come and soon we get the picture of Albufeira, once a very small fishing village, now growing fast into a tourist city. It now stretches for many kilometers along the shore, mostly covered by tourist complexes and hotels.
Enrique and Monique Monique and TeijeAfter driving a few hours we go to the restaurant (one of the many thousands) where Monique's friend, Enrique, is manager. We are not jealous: he works long days and earns less than most Dutch people! We have a meal together and spend a nice time talking to each other.

Wednesday 20 June 2001, a day at the beach we will never forget

Again, we have an appointment with Monique who wants to show us more pretty places. In the beginning it is somewhat confusing with all the building that is taking place. One moment we think we were kilometers out of town and then we discover it is only another new quarter.
At Moniques house At Moniques workShe takes us home to show her house and to the souvenir shop were she works (more than 40 hours a week with little money. But that still makes Portugal so cheap for tourists!).
Monique has to get back to work and we first drive back to our tent to have a rest. It is allright when we stay in the shadow, but in the sun it is really very hot and we spill a lot of water to keep ourselves cool.
In the seaAfter this pause we get into our car and make a long drive through the neighbourhood. Then we go to the beach since it is 40° Celsius or more and stay there for a couple of hours. We are not really beach-people but with these temperatures one doesn't have much choice. Taking a book with us, we really enjoy it.
At the beach Elisabeth at the beachMonique has shown us a very pretty and quiet beach, only known to the locals. And there we stay, hour after hour, in the bright sun. Of course we can stand the sun...
Elisabeth has burned her skin rather badly and at night, having a meal, she is getting really sick: a cold fever, nauseous, unmistakable she has a sunstroke. It becomes a very difficult night for her with fever, a highly aching skin and nausea. We have warned her...

Thursday 21 June 2001, through the Monchique mountains, a painful drive

Village in the Monchique mountainsThe next day Elisabeth looks like a wreck and that is also the way she feals.
We decide to make a trip to the Monchique, a mountain range northwest of Albufeira, since staying at the tent she also will feel miserable.
This low mountain range is a natural border between the Algarve and the Alentejo-province. It is a beautiful region, but Elisabeth can't really enjoy the trip. Certainly not after 150 kilometers with nothing but curves every hundred meters.
After a stop at a restaurant we decide we best drive back to the campsite. Elisabeth stays near the tent and Teije goes into the old town on his own, grabbing his freedom. He walks around a bit, has a meal and a drink and watches the colorful people walking by. The square is a vivid place and there is always much to be seen.
Nevertheless, we have seen some new, beautiful parts of the country, unfortunately very difficult to put down in words or pictures. The trip we have made went from Albufeira to Portimao, through the Monchique mountain range, to Odemira and via Lagos back to the campsite, about 300 kilometers. But it has been a hard day for Elisabeth.

Friday 22 June 2001, a quiet day at Albufeira

Elisabeth feels much better today, except for a continuous and irritating itch. And the skin is coming loose. Until the end of the holiday we try to pull the loose skin, in the beginning even very large pieces. After breakfast we first walk from the old village harbor along the beach to the new touristic centre.
The harbour of Albufeira Beach at AlbufeiraKilometers in the burning heat, but fortunately we come upon many bars. We really need to rest now and then to cool down. We walk back along another road where there are no places to rest or sit, just single trees, hundred meters apart, so we have to walk from tree to tree to be in the shadow.
Thirst At the campsite, AlbufeiraIt is a walk for almost two kilometers and it is almost a torture in this heat, without any bars. At the first one we see we stop and stay for an hour to refill ourselves with softdrinks.
It is too hot to become too active, so what shall we do? We almost don't dare, but Elisabeth makes the decision: 1 hour to the beach. Clearly, her sunstroke is much better because we stay for almost three hours. Also we start to get used to the idea that being on the beach for a few hours can be very nice and relaxing.
Most times, when we are on holiday, we make long trips, cover great distances by car or on foot. We always want to see as much as possible, but this gives us a good rest and we like it. We had never expected we would like to be at a beach for such long times.
At night we have an extensive meal with Enrique and Monique and they show us Albufeira by night.


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