Say YES to any travel opportunity coming our way, was one of the guiding principles when we started planing our Year of Travel.So when we were asked to visit our little grandchildren and their parents vacationing on Algarve coast, we said yes, of course. We rented a small apartment on Airbnb for a week and built up a 4 week European driving trip around it.When I hear beach vacation I imagine a white sandy hotel beach with a line of lounge chairs going towards horizon. Someone’s vision of ultimate bliss and mine of ultimate boredom.But South Portugal has proven to be so much more and we loved every minute of it. There were enough diverse beaches that we could visit one or two a day and if the water was a bit on the cold side we could build sandcastles with the kids.Some were inspired by local Bronze Age prehistoric archeological sites. We made sure to pass down our love for history in fun and educational ways.We went even further back in history and showed our little dinosaur-obsessed grandson real dinosaur footprints. Even though they were from his favorite Tyrannosaurus Rex he wasn’t that impressed. But we were. The kids were much more impressed with the well done early morning dolphin tour with an old conch blowing sea captain. We lucked out with many pods of dolphins frolicking around our boat, including a mom with her little baby. The future profession ideas quickly changed from paleontologist to marine conservationist.
Even the sea food choices veered to prehistoric looking specialities of percebes (barnacles) dubbed “Dino claws”.The newer history brought forts, castles and light houses with very popular if mostly made up stories of princesses locked up in towers. From morning till night there was exploration galore. Certainly nobody was bored. Watching surfers was a favorite pastime.Every night before dinner I had a private Portuguese lesson with a lovely young neighbor Mariana, accompanied by a glass of local red.Learning Portuguese has been on my Bucket list for a long time. A week is hardly enough to learn how to order dinner but the generally sweet Portuguese were even sweeter when I asked them to “fala Portuguese” with me. One day I want to come back and learn more so I can listen to (and understand) the hauntingly beautiful traditional fado songs.
One of course can never get tired of glorious sunsets… or spectacular views…mysterious caves… or moss covered rocks… Sometimes one can even slow down a little and sit on the beach for a bit, listening to the crashing of the waves.The Merman says so.
PS. What is one thing on your Bucket List that you want to learn?