Road trip, with “car trouble”!
First, a note on Albufeira. Our place, Topazio del Mar, was nice and, due to March being low season, was also on a serious discount, which meant a resort at discount prices! So today’s huge breakfast, yesterday’s pool and bar, and the comfy room were all pretty great.
Downside to Albufeira is that it is definitely a resort town, one that seems to cater more to English tourists than anywhere else, which means not as many authentic Portuguese restaurants and more traditional pubs and curry restaurants, plus some prominent strip clubs. For a downtime location, filled with mostly older tourists at the time, not bad, but wouldn’t want to see what it was like during high season. Seems like the kind of town that’d bring out the worst.
Today, the mission was to get to get to the Lisbon airport, drop the car, check in to the airport hotel and then rest for a ridiculously early flight. We had set up three side quests, of which we were able to achieve two.
First one was our last beach stop, the Praia de Marinha, with another set of beautiful arches and rock formations. You reach the beach through a cute little stairway, lined with evergreens, and even though this was the most crowded beach we went to, it was still pretty bare on account of it being March, making it for a lovely little walk.
On our way back to Lisbon, we wanted to check out two smaller towns, Salir and Alte, and we were able to get one of those down. Salir has an adorable viewpoint of the town church from the walls of its old castle, and Alte is known for natural fountains that used to be used for milling. Unfortunately, when we parked at Alte and stopped the car, the engine didn’t. Not quite sure what was happening there, and not wanting to be stranded on the way back to Lisbon, we decided we’d forgo Alte to make the drive back. Lost out on some cuteness, but safety first. Turns out our car just had an aggressively loud fan.
Now, we’re at an airport hotel because we have to be up at a too-early hour to make our way home. Typically, for a long trip, I’d do a “Highlights” post, but since we were just here for a week, and since there were no real low-lights in terms of food, accommodation or sights, I’m going to forgo it this time.
Daina will swear by the beaches and the ocean. For me, Sintra was one of the neatest places I’ve ever been to. Even the most random restaurant we found was a good one. Transit is good. People are friendly. For somebody who had overlooked this country for a while, would definitely give it a second look in the future.