Monday, April 4, 2011

In Search of the Sun

We drove from Lisbon south to the Algarve. This is the sunny south coast of Portugal where snowbirds from the north fly each year seeking the heat. We stopped for lunch in a lovely little town called Olhao. We were not disappointed by the temperature. We left Lisbon at 13 degrees and arrived in Olhao at 26 degrees. That was a 2.5 hour drive. Imagine driving through half the country and doubling your temperature in 2.5 hours! Makes one think…

From Olhao we drove on along the coast to Spain’s Costa del Sol (Sun Coast). This is an over-developed wasteland of English tourism at its worst. However, we left the coast along a torturous winding road through the hills to the tiny village of Almachar where we have rented a house for the month. The coast is about a 20 minute drive. If you are a bird it probably takes about 5 minutes because you are not slave to the scary, “we’re all going to die here” roads. Most of the towns we passed cling to the side of the hill and I was glad they weren’t Almachar because they made me quite breathless. Our village clings to the side of the hill but at least the bottom of the hill is also the bottom of the village.

We arrived in the middle of senior’s week and old men covered the village square. I don’t know where they were hiding the ladies. There was much frivolity and laughter. We stood gazing around us somewhat bemusedly until our host stumbled out of a nearby bar in jolly good humour. He described how to get to the next plaza in our car and we gamely drove forward through streets that were most likely paved goat trails. From the plaza, we unloaded the bags and followed John the Man up and down more twisty streets to our new home.

This is by far the nicest place we have stayed. There are three floors built around a central courtyard in the Moorish style. The courtyard is not open to the sky but has a large skylight covering it letting in the light. There is a terrace entry that looks out onto the street. Our front door enters into the dining room which has heavy curtains in the doorways to help keep the heat in should we need it. The courtyard is next and then a Turkish looking living room beyond. The kitchen and a small bathroom also reside on this floor. The courtyard has a large staircase that winds up to the next two floors. The middle floor has a walkway around and four bedrooms and two more bathrooms open off of this hall. At the top level there is an open foyer where we have set up the computers, another bedroom and a large rooftop terrace with a killer view.

The skylight heats the upstairs so the top floor is the warmest and the ground floor is very cool. They have English satellite television, a DVD/VCR player with movies and all of us feel as though we have fallen into the lap of luxury. Our hosts are quite funny and have oodles of information prepared for the surrounds. Judy even prepared a list of events taking place over the next month in the small villages nearby. Of course, the first three days we spent just sleeping in, lounging on the rooftop terrace and indulging ourselves. Oh, that was just Tom and I. The kids worked on schoolwork.

1 comments: said...

Great connecting again today. I hope you have fun at the beach tomorrow...We are getting a new provider (Telus) for our whole house so I will e-mail you our new connecting information. Hopefully it won't be too difficult to change. Have a busy Sunday, but tomorrow should be great. Love Mom my mystery word looks loke psyche