Day 11- Lazy in Lagos
Cicadas in the hot summer sun, the cries of happy seagulls by the water's edge, and whitewashed buildings on 18th century sun bleached cobblestone streets - these are the sights and sounds here in Lagos on the Algarve in Portugal.
Walking through the old town this morning, we noticed cafes strategically placing their umbrellas out and shops setting up their wares. It's fun to watch and see what people buy. At one table, a family was snatching up pretty little compact mirrors probably to bring home to friends. Last night at this same spot in the middle of the cafes and ice cream stands was a table selling nothing except old fashioned underwear and socks, all neatly folded in piles.
At the Church of Sao Antonio, we saw all types of artifacts ranging from an old Viking helmet, to miniature houses to show what life was like in the Algarve before the tourists took over.
It's very hot here and at this latitude the sun is quite intense. We crossed the small causeway drawbridge to the marina and ran the gauntlet of people selling grotto tours. The funny part was each person said their tour was the best, yet in reality they all described the exact same tour for the exact same price. To cool off we headed to a small pool on the roof of the hotel and had the whole thing to ourselves.
We took a 6:00 one hour grotto tour and it was the most incredible boat ride I have ever taken. The coastline here is stunning with high cliffs, hidden beaches, and large sandstone formations rising out of the sea. Many of these have natural openings into grottos. Since we were the only ones to sign up for this particular tour we got to sit up front in the small speedboat. Our captain did not speak English, but did have a name for every rock formation we saw such as the elephant, or the sewing machine. He drove like a skilled speed demon in and out of grottos while waves crashed against the rocks in a foamy spray. At times it was quite hairy at the rate he was going into spaces I never would have dreamed possible in a boat. At one point it looked like we were headed into a whirlpool, but of course we weren't and with a smile, our captain spun the boat around, roared back out into the sea, and headed back to the dock at full speed flying through the waves,
Tonight we returned to the same outdoor restaurant we visited last night in the shadows of Sao Antonio Church. Walking back to the hotel at 11:30 pm the town was alive with families watching shows in the squares and every cafe was full of people dining even at this late hour. Not only that, shops were open too. I saw a man selling inflatable animals. I tried to barter with him, but it didn't work. In another shop, a grandmother sold us an old fashioned tile with a rooster painted on it. She wrapped it carefully in paper decorated with scenes from a Portugal from long ago and she calculated the cost with pen and paper. This side of Portugal is a rarity here and has been replaced with a modern vibe. It's definitely summer holidays here in Lagos.