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  • Day10

    Travel Day

    September 14, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 23 °C

    It is an hours drive from Doolin to the Shannon Airport and our 10:20AM Ryan Air flight. So it is an early morning and we have had to skip Darra’s lovely breakfast - she was kind enough to pack some fruit and banana bread for our drive. Such a wonderful place and wonderful people, Doolin has been the highlight of Ireland for us. As we have travel planned, so many people we know have been to Ireland before us and have provided their recommendations of places you “must go to”. I think more than other places, Ireland’s charm lies with its people experiences that you can’t recreate just by being there. You are better off to get out of Dublin sooner than later, then pick highly rated B&B’s and get a feel for the place. Our best experiences were in Doolin (and the cliffs are amazing).

    Anyway I digress, we have chosen to fly Ryan Air not for their “low airfare”, not for their impeccable service, not even for the Ryan air experience - only for their schedule - no other airline was flying to Faro, Portugal that day from Shannon. We have never flown Ryan Air - we have heard about the “experience”; I have flown discount airlines in the past but nothing is as blatantly shameless for up selling as Ryan Air. Fifty euro ($80 Cdn) to check a bag; they randomly assign seating unless you pay to select your seats (Laurie and I are 26 rows apart); water, coffee, snacks are all charged; they sell their own lottery tickets on board after take off; and then they do all the usual stuff that every airline seems to do these days to add cash. We have two hen parties and a stag party on board our flight. Liquor is served and the up selling of duty free begins in earnest. We would never have flown Ryan Air if reasonably avoidable.

    Next to Spain’s Mediterranean coast, Portugal’s Algarve is a favourite for sun seeking English and Irish. Luckily all the “resorts” are West of Faro and we are heading to the Eastern Algarve.

    We pick up our rental car from Sixt, who want to charge us for an extra driver, Laurie says she will drive, but because the Am Ex (which is the only card we have that has European auto insurance) I have to drive. We get our car - a very nice Renault Cleo.

    The town of Olhao is interesting and we are looking forward to our four days and three nights here. We have booked an Air BnB. It is on a little cobblestone street with no cars. It is a typical Algarve three story cube house that has been tastefully renovated - keeping the interesting parts and replacing the rustic ones. When you enter the house on the main floor you are in the bedroom with stone walls and a high stone ceiling. It is hot in the Algarve, so the bedroom is on the main floor - the stone will absorb the heat during the day and release it at night. They have added air conditioning but for our first night we do not use it. The second floor has steep stairs to the kitchen and living room; there is a little balcony. There are stone walls with some plaster for hanging pictures. Off the balcony you can climb to the flat roof top that has a partial view over the other roof tops to the ocean where the wives could watch their husbands come home from fishing. The roof top would also be used to dry fruit and fish. Back on the main floor, I suspect the bathroom was completely redone as it is thankfully very modern. All in all, I doubt we will stay in such an interesting and local place again on our trip. Thanks Air BnB for opening up new possibilities of places to stay.

    Today is laundry day and unfortunately our place doesn’t have a washer and dryer - we knew this going in and chose the place anyway because it was so darn interesting. We figure out where the laundry mat is and trek our way there. Laundry mats are not typically in prime real estate so we walk through the working class streets of Olhao to a very nice place and do our laundry listening to Portuguese MTV and browsing Portuguese style People magazines (okay for the record there is no browsing - they have free wifi). An hour later we walk home, pick up some grocery essentials at a little “minimart” and hang our laundry out on the drying rack they provided and the clothes line we brought. We have a beer and some snacks on the upper balcony - while a neighbour plays Adele on their boom box.

    After a nice break we head to the historic town centre and waterfront; stroll along the promenade and pick a wine and tapas bar, 7 Imeio. It was recommended by our hosts in the amazing information package they provided. The wine bar is very interestingly decorated, the wine is all Portuguese and the tapas are delicious and well presented.

    A quiet day, as travel days usually are, but a good start to our brief time in the Algarve.
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