We just had the best week with our friends from Sri Lanka. Roz, Steve, and their son Evan came to stay with us here in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Rocky and Evan got on like a house on fire (most of the time) and watching them play and learn from each other was lovely to watch. The two of them went off to kids club for a few hours each day leaving us to enjoy cliff walks with amazing views, lunches on the beach, and drives to the west coast on the hunt for waves.
Its warming up here now and our friends couldn’t have timed it better for sunny blue sky days. We took the kids to the outdoor childrens pool which is is more like a warm bath, they played all afternoon with a collection of about 3 families toys and an inflatable which no one seemed to know the owners of. Ian had kindly (note sarcasm in my voice) bought them a a big water shooter thing each, which had Roz and I screaming at them every 2 seconds to stop aiming it at innocent sunbathers and passers by. But at least we did it with a glass of rose in our hand.
On their last night with us we headed down to the swings on the beach before parking ourselves at a great little pizza place along the beach front. Rocky ate a whole pizza to himself and the two boys drew some crazy pictures on the brown paper place mats, whilst we enjoyed more sangria.
Once our friends had left, the apartment felt very empty and quiet. We decided to get out and explore more of the algarve. So we headed east along the coast to Vilamoura, a pretty touristy little town with plenty of bars and restaurants around the marina and lots of burnt British tourists eating their full english breakfasts. We rented bikes and cycled along the beach to the old town of Quarteira to look for a decent lunch spot. The first place we stumbled across was a far cry from the swanky places we’d passed along the beach, but we know from experience that the best restaurants are often the ones with plastic chairs and signage from the 80’s. Ian went with the waiter to choose our fish, and shortly after it turned up on our table with vegetables, potatoes and salad. The fish had been grilled to perfection. We’d made a great choice.
We cycled back to Vilamoura to return the bikes and headed to the nearest skate park. Rocky is seriously attached to his scooter now, we’re definitely going to have to take it with us back to Australia. Finding a local skate park is always on the itinerary when we go to a new town. This one was a great one. Lots of medium sized ramps just the right size for Rocky. He’s pretty confident on it now, and needless to say the helmet and knee pads have saved him a few times. We enjoyed our day so much that we did the same the following week.
Another great town to explore is Portimao, the orange trees along the streets blow my mind every time I see them, and the tapas restaurants we’ve found have been amazing. We rented bikes here too, its a great family activity for us as Rocky is quite content sitting in the child seat watching the world go by. We found a bike path which took us along the coast and up the river. Lots of people lined the riverside and we wondered what was going on, turns out it was the F1 powerboat world championship taking place on the river so we stopped at a cafe and watched the boats whizz past for a while before heading back.
Its hard to believe we have less than 2 weeks left of our time in Portugal, time needs to slow down! We’re really enjoying our stay in Luz, hanging out at the beach and the resort pool, beautiful cliff walks along stunning beaches, good food, good wine, and perfect weather, we keep reminding ourselves how lucky we are.
People have been asking if we are still heading back to Sri Lanka… We still plan to go back, apart from the fact our flights are booked as well as our flights from Sri Lanka to Australia, we also have a couple of boxes of our belongings there which we left knowing we were returning. We have also been in constant contact with our friends over there who reassure us that day to day life is back to normal, curfews are lifted and security has increased, especially at the airport. We have a layover in London and to be honest I probably feel more nervous about flying into London than I do about flying into Colombo. People have cancelled there holidays to Sri Lanka as far out as 2021, but for me, the attacks that happened could happen anywhere in the world. I really hope people still consider travel to Sri Lanka as it has so much to offer.
So, for the next week or so, we intend on filling ourselves up with good wine, cheese, and Portuguese tarts, along with a trip to the water park and more bike rides…. everything we won’t be able to get in Asia!
NEXT TIME : Read all about our trip to Seville in the next blog post