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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Monday, May 15, 2017

Portugal, Part 2 - Algarve Coast

From Lisbon, we drove in our rental car about 3 hours down the coast to Lagos. We stopped midday at a small town called Sines, where Vasco Da Gama was born, after Eloise threw up in the car. We cleaned her up and stopped at a little restaurant for lunch. We ordered one of everything on the menu without knowing what the items were, and the sweet woman who ran the restaurant brought out probably our best meal in Portugal: a thick meat stew over rice, seafood lasagna and salad and bread. Eloise felt better after we changed her and gave her some water, so we headed out and finished the drive uneventfully.

The little restaurant in Sines on a quiet, colorful street

We arrived in Lagos and breathed a sigh of relief after checking into our rental condo just a short walk from the beach. We ran to the grocery store, picked up some some staples for breakfast and snacks along with sunscreen and sand toys and headed to the beach. Everyone immediately settled into happiness. Fiona collected shells on the the shelliest beach I've ever seen, and Eloise played with Chris in the water and then with the new sand toys. The beach was stunning. We walked to the downtown area of Lagos for dinner.








The following day, we rotated between the beach from the first day to another with smoother sand and a pathway carved through the soft stone cliff. Chris bribed Fiona to try an oyster for the first time by promising a second ice cream treat, and she bravely sucked one out of its shell. She said, "Yuck" with absolute disgust but managed to choke it down with some bites of bread.








Fiona's shell collection

We checked out of our condo after two days and stopped for a cave tour on our way to Albufeira. We boarded out boat encased in life jackets and took off for an hour long look into beautiful caves. Our sweet little Eloise conked out on Fiona's lap for a half hour, and Fiona held her tightly and protected her from the bumps.











Albufeira felt like a British resort town. English everywhere, commercial-type eateries with fried food and sports channels blaring and kids' trinkets in every tourist shop. Our two days in Albufeira were cool and rainy so no beach time and not much appetite for the chilly swimming pool. Our apartment-style hotel had pluses and minuses, but it had a view to the water, a small children's play area and a decent breakfast. While staying here, we booked the girls and Chris for haircuts. The girls got their first haircuts here, and Chris got a Euro-version of his standard cut. Chris also met an English woman who had never met an American before!

View from our room

First haircuts



Albufeira beach

Walking downtown

After Albufeira, we drove straight back to Lisbon to spend the night in close proximity to the airport since our flight out Saturday through Paris was very early. We found a small playground, grabbed some snacks for the girls on the flight and settled in for the night. 


We nearly missed our connection in Paris due to long lines at customs and had to run to catch our flight. However, once boarded, the flight went very smoothly. The girls contentedly slept and watched shows most of the flight. It took us all almost a week to adjust back to the time change.


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