The Algarve, Portugal

May 22-25, 2011

This year, after our Silver Cloud crossing to Lisbon from Barbados, we spent several days in the Algarve, the south coast of Portugal. On our last trip we ran out of time, and it was a little early in the season anyway.

Here is Rick Steves' map of the Algarve – the print size indicates how well he likes each village or site. The "Best" area has so far remained unspoiled by the massive tourist development to the east. On a previous trip to Spain we had stayed in a similar untouristed village, Nerja, away from what he called the "Condo del Sol."

Salema is a small fishing village, attracting many Brits and a few Germans. Steves was right about this one, as opposed to Nazaré, which we found to be a dud during our previous trip. As for his other favorites, we enjoyed visits to Cape St. Vincent and Sagres one day and Lagos the next.

Here's a view from our fourth floor, €59, (including a full breakfast and free WiFi), balcony at the Hotel Residencial Salema. Steves preferred a nearby B&B, but with its higher price and lacking air conditioning, we preferred our choice. Even this early in the season, the A/C was welcome – the hotel owner said they get few American tourists during the summer heat.

The patio is that of the Atlantico Restaurant.

And here's a view in the other direction from that restaurant

which featured delicious fresh fish. The first evening we dined there and after checking out the other restaurants in town, returned for the rest of our stay.

This closeup shows several of the boats which a tractor drags into the sea in the morning for a day of fishing. No wonder Atlantico's fish were so fresh!

You might also notice a sunbather's legs protruding from the shade in the corner of the stone wall beneath the boats – some onlookers seemed to be interested. Her topless sunbathing was arranged rather modestly – at least until the moving sun forced her further onto the beach!

The next day, a different one wasn't concerned, choosing the center of the beach. And when it was time to cover up and go in, her husband stood up, removed his trunks and carefully shook the sand off them before getting around to putting on his pants! The next day we saw several others cavorting topless in the surf in nearby Lagos – more in three days in the Algarve than in our later eleven days in the French Riviera!

One day we explored from Sagres to Cape Vincente, the end of the world for many early explorers. It has a barren, rocky, windswept coastline – yet quite beautiful. It reminded us of the Cliffs of Moher and Hornhead in Ireland.

Peep & Flo also enjoyed the panorama, but the height persuaded them to hunker down a little.

You can tell this site is really windy.

We were also welcomed by this happy wurst.

I'm sure that even non-German speakers realize that it's heralding the "Last Bratwurst Before America," although they had other sausages as well. They said all of their wursts came from Germany and of course, I had to try one of their Thüringer bratwursts. Although it didn't look the same as those I used to get at Kaufhof's carry-out window after noontime Berlitz lessons in Frankfurt – those were longer and thinner – it tasted the same. Certainly better than any I've been able to find since in the US.

Those early explorers certainly would have loved a couple before they set out. Not to mention the hint that there actually was more land someplace out there.

They also provided a certificate attesting to our visiting the most southwestern point of continental Europe.

© Copyright 2011 Jack Ludwick - All Rights Reserved