We arrived in Albufeira on Tuesday afternoon. It's a coastal town in the Algarve (South Portugal). It's really nice but very touristy, as it's a favourite holiday destination for the poms. We're getting sick of all the spruikers outside restaurants and bars trying to tell us that they've got the best food and cheapest drinks in town! There are some lovely beaches around though, and we spent today at the beach and wandering through the city centre.
Before coming here we had 5 fun filled nights in Lisbon. Our first full day in Lisbon was mainly wandering around the city, getting our bearings, and checking out the sights. There's an area called Barrio Alto that transforms from a series of quiet narrow streets during the day, to a gastronomical delight in the evening, with heaps of great restaurants, and then late at night fills with people as bars and clubs open and people spill onto the street to drink. A great spot to spend an evening.
There was a free-standing elevator in the city centre, over 100 years old, to avoid climbing the hill from the city. We took the ride to the top, and were pleasantly surprised to find a bar at the top!! We enjoyed a cold Super Bock beer whilst enjoying a panoramic view of Lisbon.
We visited some of the surrounding areas on day trips including Sintra which had a big palace and castle, but we missed out on visiting the palace because daylight savings started over here and we didn't realise. The ruins of the Moorish castle were pretty cool, we walked along the top of the wall, and got some great views of the old town centre of Sintra, and the surrounding area. We also visited Cascais, a pretty little coastal town full of fishing boats and tourist shops.
Whilst in Lisbon we tried some local foods, including chicken in beer, and steak in coffee sauce – sounds strange, but quite tasty (Z - I thought it was revolting, but then I don't like coffee). We had to change hostels on the Saturday morning – not fun after a big Friday night. We found a Pizza Hut nearby the new hostel, complete with ads for the buffet in the window. We thought this sounded perfect for a hangover fix of grease, so we dumped our bags and went back with a healthy appetite. You can imagine our disappointment when we went to order, and were told that the buffet was not available.
Albufeira offered us another disappointment on a hungover transit day. We found a hotel offering a double room for 20 euros a night (about the same price as a good hostel). The photos on the website showed a pool and great views of the beach. We arrived in town, and walked up the hill to the hotel which had signs on the door saying it was open. After ringing the doorbell for ages, we eventually rang a mobile number (at great expense to us) and discovered that the place we'd booked was closed for the off season! The guy owned another place though, so we haven't gone bedless, and we're actually much closer to the town and beach so I guess I shouldn't really complain (and this place does have a pool too).
Anyway, tomorrow we head to Lagos, another beach town, to a hostel with a great reputation. We'll let you know if it lives up to it.
Paul & Zilla.