Monday, April 23, 2012

A Spring Break

Hi there! I'm back from a fantastic week away with the girls. We visited Albufeira in Portugal and Seville in Spain. It's taken me a couple of days to get out of holiday mode - while we were away someone wisely said that a holiday is a time to practice living and you should try to take some of what you practice back into your every day life. If that's the case then I plan to bring back mid morning coffees with Portuguese Pasteis De Natas and some amazing tapas suppers into my life. Although we ate and drank our way around both cities and walked from morning until night, I can't remember when I've felt so well rested and refreshed.

I would like to share a few of my pictures from Portugal first of all, along with a couple of tips for anyone thinking about travelling to the region...

 
 
Above: The main beach in Albufeira and the quieter 'Golden Steps', a mere 4 Euro taxi ride away.

We travelled to Albufeira, a prime tourist destination in the Algarve region of Portugal. The main attraction was the coastline, beaches, restaurants and markets - though if you fancy raving the night away in an Irish pup Albufeira seems to cater to that too. We stayed in a villa so were able to shop at local markets and bring back our own fresh pastries, fruit and fish to cook as well as enjoying a glass of red (or three) up on our roof terrace.

The coastline of Portugal is beautiful, very similar to Cornwall with yellow sandy beaches and rugged cliffs. We spent our days walking along the coastline seeking out quiet beaches, sunbathing, reading, cooking and eating, time well spent if you ask me.

 
 
 
Above: Scenes from the market.

We felt our way around the bars and restaurants by asking local shopkeepers where they like to eat. The proprietor that served me my first Pasties De Nata of the trip (much more on this to come) pointed us in the direction of a fantastic seafood restaurant (sadly name forgotten!) where I had what were possibly the best garlic prawns of my life. We stayed well past closing, chatting to the owner and asked him where he bought his fish. He pointed us in the direction of the market he frequents and we went the next morning, picking up some fish to cook for supper that night. Another recommendation led us to a small, traditional restaurant O Manjar where I had a succulent fillet steak the size of my face for around 16 Euros.


 

If you're planning a visit I would recommend staying off the beaten track and seeking out small, local restaurants and shops. If you're self catering then a trip to the market is well worth a visit! Stock up on seafood, cured meats, olives, local honey and fresh fruit.

Tomorrow - more!

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