Extended trip to Portugal

Old Feb 28th, 2023, 09:12 AM
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The blue screen
It finally happened, while on a day trip to Portimao, I turned on my phone and got the dreaded blue screen of death.
Tried everything I could think of to make it work, and no.
Took it to repair shop and they made the official diagnosis, my phone is officially an unattractive paperweight.
I backed up some stuff and have paper printouts of others (airplane tickets).

Tip: Back up all your important stuff and have paper printouts of important documents just in case you can't have online access
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Old Mar 1st, 2023, 02:03 AM
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Carvoeiro and Portimao
We took a day trip to Carvoeiro and Portimão.

Carvoeiro is a small town nestled on a cliff.
Around Carvoeiro there are small coves that can be accessed through stairs.
While the town is photogenic and interesting for a day, we found it too small for long stays and a car is an absolute necessity.

Portimão is a city with a nice flat waterfront area in the old town.
Portimão has a bus terminal with local and intercity busses , there's also a train station.
Lots of restaurants and tourist oriented stores, local cave cruises,etc.
Praia da Rocha ( beach) probably the most iconic beach in Portugal is in Portimão.
The area around the beach is very tourist oriented, most buildings are tourist rentals.
In the old town we stopped at Casa Inglesa pastry shop to get the local almond sweets, made of almond paste shaped and colored to look like miniature fruits, fish,etc.

It was there that my phone stopped working.


Carvoeiro beach


Carvoeiro town, notice the steepness


Carvoeiro stairs to local cove


Praia da Rocha, Portimão

Praia da Rocha and the rocks that give it it's name

Praia da Rocha


Last edited by aulop; Mar 1st, 2023 at 02:07 AM.
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Old Mar 1st, 2023, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by aulop
The blue screen
It finally happened, while on a day trip to Portimao, I turned on my phone and got the dreaded blue screen of death.
Tried everything I could think of to make it work, and no.
Took it to repair shop and they made the official diagnosis, my phone is officially an unattractive paperweight.
I backed up some stuff and have paper printouts of others (airplane tickets).

Tip: Back up all your important stuff and have paper printouts of important documents just in case you can't have online access
I always, always bring paper printouts of important documents, such as airline reservations, hotel confirmations, car rental confirmations, etc. I don't trust technology completely. You never know when your phone will die, when you can't get a signal, etc. I remember when we flew home from Ljubljana the agent at the check-in counter specifically asked to see our paper reservation. She didn't want to see our online reservation. I bring a soft-cover 3-ring binder with me to keep these documents organized.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2023, 12:40 AM
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Market day
Once a week , farmers and other vendors
gather for Market day.
Surrounded by apartment buildings we found by chance on one of our walks.
Prices are better than in the supermarket and some items are only available at the market.
The selection of fruits, olives, cheeses and sausages is quite good.


Market day

Meats and cheeses

Fruits and veggies

Seedlings for the veggies garden

Garlic anyone?

Even codfish is sold at the market
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Old Mar 3rd, 2023, 07:34 AM
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That's alot of garlic!
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Old Mar 5th, 2023, 01:30 AM
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Vilamoura

Our base is around Vilamoura, we choose it because it is flat, making it good for walking. It has lots of tourist apartments, hotels, restaurants (Portuguese, British, Indian, Italian etc) casino, it's beachfront but it's mostly known for the marina.

There are tourist companies for boat cruises to Benagil caves, watersports, land excursions, car rentals, etc.

Public bus is very limited, theres a local hourly bus (green line) and the Vamus bus for longer trips, the nearest train is in Loulé.
We used taxis often however some buildings don't have street numbers, instead they have names, making it confusing for us and the taxi drivers ( we solved the issue by naming landmarks like restaurants, supermarkets, etc).

There isn't a visible boundary between Vilamoura and the next village, so some of what I mention maybe on the next village and not in Vilamoura.

Most important to us is the English speaking medical care. It's a private clinic, we didn't need to use them but their site lists medical insurance providers.
https://www.grupohpa.com/en/units/al...-de-vilamoura/

We enjoy the Vilamoura area for the intended purpose of our trip (snowbird escape from the winter) but all the tourist oriented amenities that we enjoy maybe too touristy for others.


Vilamoura marina

Tivoli hotel and marina

Vilamoura marina

Restaurant patios on the marina

Marina road has a variety of restaurants and bars

If you want a liquid lunch, it's available

View of Vilamoura Beach from stone pier.

Last edited by aulop; Mar 5th, 2023 at 01:40 AM.
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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 01:05 AM
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The walk
As our trip is coming to an end we decided to take one last walk.
We stayed out all day and it was an unusual day weather wise, clouds, rain, wind and beautiful sunshine on a blue sky.
We walked from Vilamoura eastward to Faro and turned back just after Vila do Lobo.

First tracks - anyone that skis understands the reference

Fisherman marina, Vilamoura in the background

Before going out to sea the fisherman pray to Nossa Senhora

Anchor ar fisherman harbor

Cat house at fisherman marina

Almost beside the fisherman marina is the fish market selling the catch of the day

Exercise machines by the beach, didn't see anyone using them

Date palms along the beach

I call this one the 3 sisters. Lots of people stopped to take photos.

The beach is mostly sandy

A few areas have pebbles

Scallop shell. We saw them occasionally

Vale do Lobo is a beachfront golf resort

Restaurants at Vale do Lobo

Vale do Lobo restaurant

Vale do Lobo bar

Vale do Lobo

Vale do Lobo golf

Vale do Lobo golf

Around Vale do Lobo we saw the cliffs.
They ranged in color with yellow and brown but are mostly orangy redish depending on the sunlight.


Algarve cliffs

Cliffs

Cliffs

Cliffs

Cliffs

Cliffs
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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 05:28 AM
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Wow!!! Those red cliffs are stunning! I am enjoying your photos and report about the Algarve. So, how long in total were you in Portugal?
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Old Mar 10th, 2023, 04:08 AM
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KarenWoo
Thanks for the compliments.
We will have a total of 3 months once we leave.
We're about to go to Lisbon for our flight in a few days.
I'll probably post about my airport experience after I get home, once I get settled, but I might get distracted with the planing of my next trip.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 05:40 AM
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Raizes vegetarian restaurant.
We found a vegetarian restaurant at the opposite end of Quarteira.
Raizes has indoor and outdoor eating areas.
We tried it at the end of our trip and enjoyed it.



Raizes vegetarian restaurant

Raizes menu, they also have bowls and plate of the day

Plate of the day, vegetable cakes with tomato rice and salad , very enjoyable dish.

Black bean burger with sweet potato, the burger was a little dry

Raizes restaurant

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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 01:14 PM
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Thanks for all the great information. Headed to Lagos in a few weeks. Can't wait!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2023, 05:13 AM
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Wow, fantastic advice and trip report. Hope to go very soon.
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Old Mar 24th, 2023, 08:24 AM
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Oriente train station and area.
Oriente train station is a big station with a raw cement look.
It has 4 levels, on the top level are the train platforms, on the level below it is where the ticket booths are located, the ground level has access to the buses and taxis on the north side and the shopping mall on the south side, the lowest level has access for the Metro Red line to the airport.


Oriente train platforms

Oriente station interior, the round tubes are elevators, the people on the side are homeless and sleep in the station

Oriente raw cement look

Oriente north side, taxis and bus terminal

Oriente south side, access to shopping mall

Luggage storage at the mall

Shopping mall

South of the mall towards the river

Cat statue, the oval behind it is the Altice Arena a music concert venue

At river is a nice walking promenade, visible are the gondolas, the observation tower and hotel on the background is the Vasco de Gama bridge

Restaurant row on the walking promenade

Parallel garden promenade

Ocenarium south of the mall

The Ocenarium has a large viewing tank.

Smaller tank
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Old Mar 28th, 2023, 04:14 AM
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Airport departure experience.
The taxi ride from our hotel (Ibis) near the Oriente took about 10 minutes and it cost 7 euros plus 2 euros for the luggage.

At 7am the airport was busy but we found the check in counter quickly.

The check in was an experience.
The counter agent wouldn't accept my luggage without an extra charge, I refused and informed her that my ticket (premium class) does not require extra charge.
I requested a manager, the manager said that the counter agents work for a third party that does the check in at the airport and not my airline ( one day they work the counter for an airline, next day they work a different counter for a different airline).
I requested an airline representative, she looked at my ticket , yes my ticket is a premium ticket, no extra charges, bigger carry on allowance, etc.
She personally tagged my luggage, we proceeded to security.

There was a very long line for security but it moved exceptionally fast ( made me wonder if security was being compromised due to the speed of service).
It's a fairly loud area as they constantly stack and move the security trays.
Afterwards proceeded to passport control.

Passport control was a disaster.
At the passport control there are 2 gates (subway style gates), inserting the passport in the machine reader opens the first gate ( that closes behind you almost immediately) at the second gate a camera takes a face picture before opening the second gate.

For some people the first gate opened but the second didn't and they were stuck.
For the majority of the people the passport reader didn't work .
The staff guided travellers to the manual passport control, which was overwhelmed by the volume of travellers and arguing with the staff at the machines to make them work.
I have experienced this before at Lisbon airport so I wasn't surprised.
So much for technology.

After that we boarded a bus to the airplane, the bus with the doors open didn't leave until it was full (waiting for passengers stuck at passport control), breathing diesel fumes from the bus and jet fuel from the planes wasn't pleasant at all.
The flight itself was smooth and the the crew made the flight pleasant.



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Old Mar 29th, 2023, 03:44 PM
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So sorry you went through this! As I said in my trip report (Wonderful Portugal), Andreia, our guide/driver, whisked us right through. We were very relieved and impressed . This is not the first challenging experience I have heard. Hope you settle back well. Your report has been so helpful.
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Old Mar 31st, 2023, 10:54 AM
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Virginiafish
Thanks for your words.
I'm glad that my report might helpful to other travellers.

We know that travel (or life) is never perfect or goes according to plan ( Murphy's law applies) but sometimes it can be quite frustrating.
We try to not let it bother us and are already researching our next trip.

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Old Mar 31st, 2023, 12:15 PM
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Aulop, where is your next trip?
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Old Apr 1st, 2023, 04:57 AM
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KarenWoo

Next travel is going to be a road trip, like the road trip I did in Canada from Ontario to Prince Edward Island.
Road trip, Ontario to Prince Edward Island, Canada

It's either going to be a road trip of the Trent - Severn Waterway in Ontario, Canada or a road trip from Michigan to Florida in USA.

The Waterway is a man made Waterway that uses rivers, lakes and man made canals (with 45 locks to allow boat travel) to connect two of the great lakes in Canada ( lake Ontario and lake Huron).
I'll probably do it in late spring/early summer and post about it in the Canada, Ontario forum.

The other possible road trip is going to be from Michigan to Florida Panhandle and possible side trip thru Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
I'll probably do it in the fall and post about it in the USA forum.

Have to work out the logistics, maybe we'll do both.

Travel adds to life.
Happy travels.

Last edited by aulop; Apr 1st, 2023 at 05:00 AM.
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Old Apr 1st, 2023, 06:18 AM
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Aulop, I read your TR for Ontario to PEI several months ago; in fact, I may have even commented on it. We are going to PEI this August for 6 nights. Can't wait. We've been to Nova Scotia several times and New Brunswick, and we have wanted to visit PEI for some time now.

Your travel plans for 2023 sound like lots of fun! Hope you get to do both!
And I agree with your sentiments exactly about travel.
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Old Apr 26th, 2023, 07:33 AM
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Summary
Now that we are back home and settled, we have the time to reflect on our trip.

Our main purpose for this trip was to determine if Portugal and the Algarve area specifically, are feasible destinations for our winter Snowbird travel.

The short answer is Yes.

The Algarve is a good base in the winter because of the better weather than the North.
The Algarve also has plenty of businesses that are used to tourists ( restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, etc).

In the Algarve we can just lounge and do nothing on the great beaches or go for nature treks.

While the Algarve doesn't have as many monuments as the North, the Alfa train or the toll highway can be used to easely access the Northern areas, however local public transit is not as good but we made it work for us.

We found the accommodations ok for our needs.

The food and drink was excellent and with great variety in the tourist areas.

The local people and the tourists all got along well, we felt safe, relaxed and comfortable.

Overall we enjoyed our extended trip to Portugal and have added it to the list of our winter destinations.

Travel adds to life, happy travels.
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