September - October 2020
  • Day14

    Albufeira - Surf & SUP

    October 13, 2020 in Belgium ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

    Our last day in Portugal 2020, so we decided to enjoy it to the fullest. We went to the company “Surf & SUP” and hired a SUP board (stand up paddling) for 1 hour for only €15 per person. At first it was quite challenging, jut we managed to get better at it and keep standing up. Once in a while we fell down, funny views. Some breaks in between as well, laying down totally flat on our boards, enjoying the sun and water movements. The water was so peaceful. We couldn’t think of any better way to close our stay here !

    Some final chilling on the beach and then we went back to the airbnb to prepare our bags. Unfortunately we were a bit too late (2pm already) so Diogo complained a bit. The cleaning staff had already arrived in the house so we quickly had to shower, pack our bags and eat. They were not so friendly, but ok they were just doing their job.

    Off to the airport now and returning back the car ! For the car, I had a car with Firefly. It was only €108 but, because my VISA had a limit of “only” €2000 it couldn’t cover the assurance and I had to pay everything cash and take a full insurance therefore. So I paid €520 in the end.. Also I noticed that my invoice stated that it was full when picking it up, which was not the case. So in the end I had double “unluck” but ok good learnings for next time. Tip 1: increase your VISA to a higher limit in advance (I took this time €5000). Tip 2: always check the fuel before departure with the car and confirm a full tank. Back to Belgium now with Ryanair. Thank you Portugal, you were amazing !!
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  • Day13

    Albufeira - Praia da Marinha (EU top)

    October 12, 2020 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    For Monday, Cams found a really nice beach. Praia da Marinha was amongst one of the most beautiful beaches of Europe and only a 30min drive away, so we had to try this !

    Fortunately, we discover that our airbnb owner (called Diogo) had a frigo box so we could bring a fresh salad for lunch and perhaps even our cava for the evening ! So we prepared the full frigo box and off we went.

    Because of works, we had to park the car on top of the street and walk the whole end downwards (about 1km). Going down was ok, but this would be interesting going back up when returning later from our beach day. Arriving at the view point, we enjoyed a good view from the top of the rocks. Wauw !! Time to get down and discover this secret beach. We were surprised how few visitors the beach had. Probably because it was October and also Covid (by then Belgium declared Algarve region red). There was a tiny restaurant and 1 bathroom, but because of the few tourists, everything was manageable and we even found a spot closeby the rocks and shadow for our frigo box. That day the wind was very strong, so the waves were really high. I was a scared chicken that never went swimming, however Cams had more balls and took a dive once in a while. I was listening the whole day to my podcast about the cold war (“geschiedenis for herbeginners”) and enjoyed the sun.

    Small downside: my right eye was suffering a lot from wind, sun, sunscreen and salt water. So I had many difficulties to keep it open. Later that day I went for eyedrops and everything was better. I‘ve learned now that oily sunscreen is not the perfect idea for my face. However, I was still so grateful for this amazing day and company with Cams. Such a dream to be on this idyllic beach with few people. Thank you Portugal !

    In the evening, it was time for our last dinner in Portugal 202. We went to the restaurant O Alagar, more inwards the land. We felt like eating a steak the both of us, which is very rare for me. First we had some olive bread and burrata, followed by a rare steak with pepper sauce. We ordered a bottle of white wine (fruity and local) but we couldn’t finish it, so we decided to take it home with us for later. Funny fact: we never drank that bottle later at home, because we were too tired. However we managed to chat for 2hours. That’s what best friends are for I guess.
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  • Day11

    Albufeira - Plaia do Castelo

    October 10, 2020 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Saturday and Sunday we went for the swimming pool in the morning and a cute beach in the afternoon. In between we had lunch back in our apartment, a delicious quick salad of lettuce, apple, orange, turkey slices, paprika, tomatoes and finished with our home-made “vinegar” made of balsamico vinegar and low fat yoghurt. Delicious and refreshing on our terrace in the sun.

    After a quick 20min nap (only me, not Cams) we went to the beach called “Plaia do Castelo”. It was a beautiful small bay with rock formation and small sand beach. It had a small restaurant too on the beach, but we never went there. Toilets were easily reachable in the restaurant. Such a lovely spot ! In the evening we had to climb up the rocky stairs again towards the car and then you could enjoy the beautiful panoramic view from the top.
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  • Day10

    Albufeira - Arrival

    October 9, 2020 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

    Around 8pm we finally arrived in Albufeira, did some grocery shopping in Intermarché (they have the French chain here). We bought our groceries for the next 4 days of breakfast (water, yoghurt, fruits, nuts, bread, eggs) and lunch (turkey, ham, salad, apple, nuts and balsamico vinegar). The prices were much higher here than in Spain (Mercadona) I noticed. However €75 for 4 days with 2 people and 2 meals it still not that much. We saved our money for cocktails and dinner in the evening ! Off to bed now in our airbnb in the area of Sesmarias (street was called R. Dos Corais). It was a decent 1st etage apartment with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, spacious kitchen and a nice terrace South sided so we always had sun! Perfect for us. We paid €35 per person per night, so very decent. It had a shared swimming pool that was very big and hygienic.

    In the evening we had dinner in the lovely restaurant closeby called “O Marinheiro”. It looked like the local version of the small yacht haven restaurant, so it had its charmes. We went for salmon and Portuguese cod, along with delicious sparkling white sangria. Delicious ! We discovered here that the drink muscatel (similar to porto? isn’t the same as muscato (sparking wine, aka moscato d’asti). So we had a muscatel as apero, which should actually be drunk for dessert. Luckily we still had our sangria afterwards. “Only” total bill around €35 per person, so we will definitely come back here !
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  • Day10

    Lissabon (3) with Camille

    October 9, 2020 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    We started the day with a buffer breakfast in our hotel TRYP Lisboa Montijo Parque Hotel. It was really good. In this hotel we paid about €64 for 1 night with breakfast (parking free on the street). Afterwards we drove back to the city crossing the long Bridge Ponte Vasco Da Gama. I showed my friend Camille around in the city, actually to places I had visit the day before. We went to the Praça do Comércio, Torre de Belém and ofcourse had a cocktail in Augusto Lisboa and later brunch in Zenith. So good !

    Around 5pm it was time to start our 2.5h drive to Albufeira. First some traffic in the city center, but then we were off to the beautiful country side of Portugal and its A2 road.
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  • Day9

    Lissabon (2)

    October 8, 2020 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Walking through the center, you pass along the tram rails and the famous tram 28. Coming from Ghent, Belgium I must say it was still impressive. How can a tram drive so elegantly through tiny streets with steep hills like it has been doing for ages. The houses were colourful, just like the tram. Beautiful city !

    I tried the typical pastry called “Pastel de Belém” (or “pastry from creme”). It is usually served with a little powdered sugar and cinnamon on top. For us Belgians, it tastes a bit like a typical “cremekoek” with vanille creme and puff pastry (“bladerdeeg”). Very good but expensive. €1.20 for 1 tiny piece.. Commercial Lissabon !

    In the evening it was time to check in my hotel just 20min away from the airport (40min from the center). It was called “TRYP Lisboa Montijo Parque Hotel”. The area Montijo was just across the famous impressive bridge Ponte Vasco Da Gama.

    Finally it was time to pick up my friend Camille from the Lissabon airport around midnight. We had a good sleep and we’re ready the next day for Portugal !
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  • Day9

    Lissabon

    October 8, 2020 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Time to visit the center of Lissabon. I parked the car in a nearby parking (Praça dos Restauradores) and walked about 2km towards the city center. In the end I paid about €10 for parking my car 4hours, so quite expensive.

    First stop was a delicious brunch bar “Augustino Lisboa” for a latte coffee and avocado toast. I walked along steep hills and tiny streets, somewhat scary parts with drug-dealing people. So I decided to stay more along the main roads with tram rails, you never know as a tourist in a new big city. I was also looking like a tourist with way to many cloths: I was carrying a warm jacket and woolen pull in case I would be too cold. That’s because Granada was cold in the evening (“only” 19 degrees) and I thought Lissabon would be similar as it’s closeby waterfront and the ocean. However it was super warm with 29 degrees during the day and 23 in the evening.

    Next stop was the Praça do Comércio. A beautiful big square with restaurants closeby the waterfront (the famous river called “Taag”) with a tiny beach (cais das colunas). In 1755 the square was destroyed by a big earthquake, but now it looks like new again. There’s a statue if Jozef I of Portugal in the middle, . The square is symbol of the Carnation Revolution (« Anjerrevolutie » or « The 25 of April »), making and end to the 40y during military war against the Estado Novo (The Second Republic, the conservative and traditional Catholicism regime) and resulting in the democratic Portugal we have today.

    I ended my walk in the rooftop bar “Madame Petisca” for a Muscatel wine. What a view ! The prices are clearly more expensive than Granada, where I paid only half of the price (2.5€) for a glass of wine.
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  • Day9

    Lissabon - Torre de Belém (Unesco)

    October 8, 2020 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    This Belém Tower is officially called the Tower of Saint Vincent (Portuguese: Torre de São Vicente). It’s also UNESCO world heritage. The tower dates from the 16th-century as a point of embarkation and disembarkation for Portuguese explorers and as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. It was built during the Portuguese Renaissance and is an example of the Portuguese Manueline style (but it also incorporates hints of other architectural styles).

    The structure was built from lioz limestone and is composed of a bastion and a 30-metre four-storey tower.

    You enter thr city and the area Belém via the famous and impressive bridge “Ponte 25 de Abril”. It’s sometimes called it the Tagus River Bridge because this was the first bridge of Lissabon crossing the Tagus River for the big traffic. It refers to the Carnation Revolution (“Anjerrevolutie”) on 25th of April 1974, removing its ancient name Salazar Bridge, prime minister António de Oliveira Salazar for the ruling president Américo Thomaz.
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  • Day8

    Sevilla - Royal Palace (Unesco)

    October 7, 2020 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    It’s also called “Alcázar Real de Sevilla” or “Reales Alcázares de Sevilla”. It comes from the Arabic “al-qasr” that palace means. It’s part of the UNESCO world heritage list, but unfortunately I didn’t visit the inside because of my limited time in the city. The outside was already impressive enough to get glimpse of the history and beauty.

    The complex of palaces is in the Mudéjar style, which is a architectural style with many influences from Moorish and Christian culture. It is probably the oldest palace still in use in Europe; when King Felipe V visits Seville, this UNESCO-listed palace is still his residence.

    In the year 913, Abd-ar-Rahman III gave the order for the construction of a castle on this site where a Roman “castle” once stood. The castle was further expanded into a palace by King Al-Moetamid (the last king of the Abbadid dynasty) in the 11th century. In the 14th century, the Spanish recaptured the palace from the Moors, after which King Alfons X of Castile expanded the palace. In 1364, King Peter I of Castile ('The Cruel') ordered the construction of a new palace, the Alcázar, after which his successors continued to build the palace.
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  • Day8

    Sevilla

    October 7, 2020 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    After a 2.5h drive from Granada, I arrived in Sevilla around 5pm. I stayed in the hotel Exe Sevilla Palmera (****) for about €44 + €15 parking. The breakfast is luckily included. Time for a quick power nap and video call to Mathieu (he finished his first day of the Andalusia rally) and then we’re off to the city !

    The city center is about 1.7km away, so easy to do by foot. I walked through the Maria Luise Park, arrived at the waterside (Canal de Alfonso XIII) and finally reached the center. What a beautiful city !! Surrounded by parks, water and ancient churches. I’m in love with he vibrant city !!

    Only downside: they only eat at 8.30pm in the evening, so I had to buy a small sandwich and mozzarella sticks from Burger King to cover my hunger since lunch time. Finally I had dinner in Petit Comité with delicious tapas. I ate so much I couldn’t finish the last dish with octopus. But so good !
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