On 26 October, we left Sintra and drove south to Tavira in the Algarve region of Portugal. When we crossed the Tagus River in Lisbon as we were leaving, we were able to see the giant Jesus, Christo Rei (pedestal 269 ft. statue 92 ft.), looking down at us – wow, that was one big Jesus! The drive south took nearly 4 hours. It was interesting to see the landscape change from lush Mediterranean style to miles of open farmlands loaded with grapes, olives, and more cork trees. Entering the Algarve was another dramatic change to an expanse of very dry, but not desert like, hills. As we neared the Atlantic beaches in the south, we were in hilly farmlands and numerous orange groves. Small towns dotted the coastline along with polished, hip tourist towns.
We stayed at an Airbnb for 5 nights in a small low-keyed resort area of Santa Luzia. This time of the year there are still plenty of travelers seeking warmer air but it is much more quiet and lazy than the height of summer would be. The temperatures during our stay hovered around 70-80 degrees F. during the day and cooled off into the 60s.
Unfortunately, we had major car problems on a day trip during the start of our stay. We had taken a drive west to Sagres and what was once termed the edge of the world – when the world was thought to be flat. We were 90 minutes from our apartment, had to wait for a tow that finally showed up and a taxi to a new rental car that never showed. Because the car was rented in Spain and we were in Portugal, let’s just say they got their wires crossed and we were left sitting all afternoon into the evening. When the tow truck arrived, we wouldn’t allow the driver to leave until we were picked up. Hours later, and many phone calls, the tow driver gave us a lift to his place of business and we arranged an Uber pickup from there to our apartment. It was a very long day that went into the next day when we still needed to get to a new rental.
Needless to say, we didn’t do much of anything the rest of the time we were in Santa Luzia. We did enjoy a walk along the waterfront and a wonderful meal. This area is known as the capital do Polvo (capital of Octopus) and they are quite a tasty treat!
Our Portugal visit showed us a beautiful rugged country with some of the best wines I've ever tasted. 1,115 miles of Atlantic coastline gave way to lovely uncrowded beaches at this time of the year. The Portuguese language while quite difficult, made for frustrating and interesting conversations. The food here is fresh and heaven for anyone who enjoys seafood.....
On 31 October, we drove 2 hours northeast to the airport in Seville, Spain. The drive was full of farmlands and massive greenhouse complexes as far as we could see into the distant hills . After a 3-hour flight, we arrived in London and stayed the night at a hotel connected to Gatwick Airport. The next morning, we flew 10 hours to Seattle. Home again, home again, jiggity jog!
Thank you for joining our journey.