The final stop on our journey was a few hours train ride from Lisbon. Along the Algarve, in southern Portugal it was the town of Lagos.
Nice little harbour town, although tourists were obviously around town it hadn't succumbed to the high levels of tourism that other areas on the Algarve had. The harbour was really nice and we had a beautiful apartment with a big balcony looking out over the boats. The old town was a short walk and had a decent amount of little shops and restaurants.
It would be a completely relaxed 10 days here, nothing much more planned than a few beach days, a few pool days and a few days just mooching around town. That was exactly what we did!
The beach was surprisingly good. Huge in length, maybe 6 miles or so and with decent sand, sun loungers in abundance and probably because of the size of the beach, it never really seemed too busy either. The sea was as expected and pretty cold but I think that's just as much because we've become so used to Caribbean and Asian waters that are like a bath when you get in!
One day we went out on a catamaran along the coast, nice big boat, bit of snorkelling and a few beers taking in the coastal views and sun! Another day I went scuba diving. The first dives I'd done since Honduras and the first in Europe for a good few years.
Great couple of dives, we went down to two separate ship wrecks purposely sunk a few years back so now covered with marine life. The boats had also been internally cleared to allow full diver access, amazing diving through each of the decks, engine room, staff mess (including football table) and the captains deck. Fish weren't as in abundance as in the Caribbean but there were a few big schools of fish and a few big octopus. The boats were ex-Navy vessels and the visibility wasn't perfect but that only added to the eerie feeling as you approach the front of the ship from along the guide line. Glad I could end the trip with a few scuba dives!
Each night we went out and found some really good restaurants. Portugal didn't seem to have too much unique local food but we had some good steaks, fish and even a pretty good Indian curry! A far cry from some of the places we'd eaten over the last 15 months in some far flung places!
As always we found it easy enough to find places for a bit of over indulging on the beer front as well!
A strange end to the trip in some ways, the last three weeks couldn't have been more different than much of the travelling we'd done. The places we'd visited and tourists we'd seen were mostly all on holiday as oppose to travelling. This though, I think made the transition home easier. It quickly made us feel like we were going back home from a normal holiday as oppose to a 15 month backpacking trip. I think leaving a little Thai island full of people at different points in their trips would have been much harder to cope with!
Flying back to london and the final new thing to experience was a landing at London's city airport! Another little thing to tick off the list! Onward bound....