At home on the Algarve Coast

We landed in Madrid in the afternoon and made our way to our next airbnb via the airport bus. Our apartment was a lovely 2 bedroom place and conveniently very close to the Atocha train station. We were feeling pretty tired after our flight so we bought some groceries from the nearby supermarket, prepared an easy dinner and had an early night. We ended up having a late morning too… as we accidentally overslept. We grabbed brunch from a patisserie and wandered towards the park (El Retiro Park) and enjoyed the sunshine…

Later that afternoon, we were walking down the street and a bus pulled over on the side of the road… and my parents jumped out! DSC_1340_20190604_200800DSC_1340_20190604_200800_1200They had just completed a bus tour of Spain. We had a chilled-out afternoon catching up in the apartment (that they had paid for, thanks Ma and Pa!). We also used this time for getting on top of all our washing (this included having an ongoing battle with our Spanish speaking washing machine). In the evening we went for a wander through nearby old town and went out to a restaurant for paella and sangria.

The next morning, we took an uber up to the Royal Palace of Madrid. When we arrived, we could see many officials milling around and barricades had been placed along the streets. It turned out that we had arrived just in time to watch the changing of the guards parade. Also, because it was the first Wednesday of the month, it was an extra special ceremony, with over 100 horses and 250 soldiers. We stood outside the palace gates for a while with the ever increasing crowd. Then we noticed that a better view could be attained from the balcony of the cathedral. The entry fee into the cathedral (7€ each) was worth it just for the clear viewing of the performance.

We continued to explore the Cathedral and were treated to some great views of Madrid…

Unfortunately, due to the special event, the Palace itself was closed to the public. Instead, we walked around the palace gardens. Then we walked back through old town, stopping in the square and enjoyed a fantastic lunch at an Austrian Café -which made an apple strudel (which got the seal of approval from my Pa – ‘lover of apple desserts’).

Later that evening, Ma and Pa left to catch their flight to Portugal and we kicked on for another night. The next morning, we flew down to Faro, Portugal too. DSC_1477DSC_1477_1200We navigated the local bus system and got ourselves to our airbnb in Albufeira. It was a lovely guest room in an apartment with sea views and a great swimming pool in the complex. Our hosts were a lovely couple that went above and beyond, several times throughout our stay.

After unpacking, we went across the street to try out the patisserie recommended by our host. It was hard to choose from such a large array of amazing sweets – but we were pretty satisfied with our decision. Then we went for a walk down the beach and around the old town streets until the sun began to set. We finished the evening by cooking ourselves dinner and enjoying the coastal views from the terrace.

We started the next morning with some relaxing by the pool. Then we caught up with my parents and their friends. We went for another walk along the beach and through the old town streets, enjoying a bit of shopping along the way.

For our final day in Albufeira, our host offered to take us to some of the further away beaches in his car. After showing us some of the great coastal spots, he dropped us off at Gale Oeste Beach, and we stayed there for a good part of the day…

That night, we had a BBQ dinner with my parents and their friends in their apartment (30 minutes down the coast from us) and said our farewells, as they were staying there for another week.

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Waiting for the train (“Choo-choo!”)

The next day, we checked-out and our host drove us to the train station. He even waited to make sure we were able to get tickets before leaving us. We took the train to our next destination on the Algarve coast, Lagos. Our airbnb was located right next to the Church of St. Sebastian in old town. We only booked a short two-night stay, so without wasting time, after dropping our bags in our room, we went for a wander through the streets, admiring more Portuguese architecture…

It wasn’t long before we found ourselves walking along the seaside. The beaches were very beautiful with dramatic cliffs. There were these awesome tunnels between almost each of the bays, except one, where we had to time the waves and walk around the edge. The water was freezing, but super clear…

Next, we had a game of mini-golf. I got the first hole-in-one… Kadin got one later in the game. It was a pretty fun course with these frog statues that would randomly squirt you with water. Kadin ended up catching my lead and won the 18 holes, but he did get the wettest from the frogs! I shouted the pizza… which we found an excellent place in town that reminded us of our local in Maylands (Rossonero Pizzeria), this Lagos version was called, ‘Dog Town.’ For all those people who refuse putting pineapple on pizzas would hate our choice because not only did our pizza come with pineapple, but it had coconut and peaches too! It was delicious…

The next day, was our last full day in Lagos. We treated ourselves to crepes and waffles in town for breakfast. For the rest of the day we explored the cliffs, walking for miles! We finished with a relaxing afternoon on the beach (even going for a super chilly swim in the ocean). Laying on the beach, reading our books in the glorious sunshine was an excellent way to end our time on the Algarve coast.

Have fun at work!
Gemma

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