To quote Lonely Planet – ‘Soaring cliffs, sea caves, golden beaches, scalloped bays and sandy islands draw over four million visitors to the Algarve each year. Portugal’s southwestern border is surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic. It’s a paradise for surfers, especially along the refreshingly undeveloped west coast.’
Several years ago I spent a winter in Portugal, living in the tiny fishing village of Ferragudo.
There I rented an adorable village home from the wonderful Coehlo family. They took me in and made me one of their own. I celebrated the Christmas and New Year’s holidays with them as well a birthday and an anniversary. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, nieces, nephews, cousins and grandparents all made me feel like part of their family and not just a visitor in a strange country.
I have wanted to return for years and this trip gave me that opportunity.
Joyce and I caught the train from Porto to Lisbon where we made a very easy transfer to the train to Faro and then onto the local train to Tavira.
We were excited to spend time with Martha Carroll, a friend I knew from San Miguel who recently relocated to this beautiful seaside resort town. Also, Kim Lucas, a part-time Tavira resident from St. Croix, VI and a good friend of Barbara Pagano, Joyce and my mutual friend, welcomed us with open arms!
We split up with Joyce staying in downtown Tavira with Kim and me with Martha in her new townhome on the outskirts of town.
We had so much fun wandering the winding streets of this not-so-little village, taking the ferry from Olhao to the island of Culatra for a delicious lunch, eating some amazing meals at several outstanding restaurants, taking in a local production of an English murder mystery, plus thoroughly enjoying Kim’s gracious and over-the-top hostessing skills and the breathtaking views from her roll-away rooftop patio – plus watching Chuck putting up with all the ladies!
But my best moments were spent over a long, long lunch with just a few members of the large Coelho family. They drove for over 2 hours to see me and discuss my returning to Portugal – this time for a much longer stay. An idea has been planted, a lovely house has been offered, so I have a lot to think about!
The next morning, as we flew from Faro to Florence, I once again said goodbye to good friends knowing that I will return much sooner than the last time!
Until next time – in Italy!