Day 10 - The Sunny Algarve
Our flight to the Algarve in Portugal this afternoon had spectacular views of the mountains, rivers, and coastline of Spain and Potugal. Thinking we were pretty clever to avoid the show no mercy mentality of the boarding process of Ryan Air, we happily scurried to the priority boarding line only to discover 50 other people had the same idea too, but once on bard we had good seats.
During the flight there's a charge for everything. I was quite surprisd when they gave a pitch for the advantages of smokeless cigarettes and actually walked down the aisle calling out "cigarettes!"
I'm very excited to be in Portugal. I spent a lot of time here when I was 14 and when my father was on business here and I haven't been back since. "I think you'll see many changes," said the custom's agent who snickered with a knowing smile.
Once we arrived in Faro the prospect of waiting for our bus at the bus station for an hour was pretty dreary. Imagine the inside of a bus garage on a hot day with metal chairs and you have the picture. We took refuge at a small cafe where we had toasted cheese sandwiches with tomato, onion, and homemade mustard with peach.
The 2.5 hour bus ride seemed endless down long highways with periodic stops. At one stop a young woman on the sidewalk who seemed confused about the destination of the bus argued passionately with the driver for five minutes until he slammed the door on her mid sentence and zoomed off muttering to himself and shaking his head in disbelief. It was quite startling to see how so many towns are so built up with endless multi-story buildings that all look the same and are meant to serve the beach crowd.
Our hotel, Marina Rio in Lagos is right on the water and our balcony overlooks the marina. Tonight we had dinner in an outdoor cafe in the atmospheric old town in the shadows of an old church and are surprised that even at midnight, the town is hopping and all the stores are open. From a towering gothic cathedral in York to a lively seaside resort in the Algarve, what a contrast in cultures in just 12 hours can make