Portugal: The Algarve

While everyone says that Lisbon is a can’t-miss part of Portugal, I have only ever been to the southern end, “The Algarve” and have no complaints. My aunt and uncle live there, so, with a free place to stay, how can I not visit? The cities I normally see are Faro, Albufeira, and Guia.

Albufeira is probably the biggest of those cities. What was interesting and entertaining to me was the fact that because they don’t have stoplights, they use roundabouts. The funny part about them is how they were decorated. As you can see from my pictures, one was a giant watch, another was dolphin statues, and another was worms. My uncle said that people use them as directional markers. “Go through the watch and the worms, but take a left at the dolphin roundabout.” After we meandered our way through these roundabouts, we made it to the beach. There was a lovely little courtyard near the beach where we ate a delicious, traditional meal of chicken peri-peri. To this day, this has been the most delicious meal I have ever had. I don’t know what it is, but it is just amazing. I don’t even use the peri-peri sauce that they give you, but there must be something about the way they marinade the chicken in the peri-peri spices. It is so different than any Nando’s you will ever have; it’s more authentic. Also, something to take note of is that, in Portugal, a “salad” doesn’t mean a bed of greens like it does in the US. It means a plate of sliced tomatoes and onions in an oil sauce. Don’t get me wrong, it is still delicious, but it’s not for everyone.

Visiting Portugal after my study abroad trip was my first experience with seeing real gypsies. It was interesting to see how they can live such a simplistic and minimal life, almost like the Amish, but within a city setting. I’d have loved to chat one up, but they only spoke Portuguese.

Also, The Algarve is home to some of the best golf courses in Europe, which is why it’s one of my dad’s favorite destinations. Not only are the great courses, but they also have a gorgeous view. I included the view from the clubhouse of one of the Faro golf courses, but it is private so I couldn’t get a picture of the ocean view from the course, but I can only imagine it gets even better. Apparently there are a few courses that are secret getaway locations to UK celebrities.