• Emma

Portimao, Portugal

Updated: Apr 18

When planning a short family break 6 weeks before my brothers wedding we had one thing in mind and that was some guaranteed sunshine. I was hoping to get a bit of colour into my pasty Scottish skin, we also didn’t want to travel too far; we figured max 4 hours on a plane should do the trick. My Parents did a little deal hunting and settled on a hotel apartment in Villamoura, Portugal for a week. What could go wrong? Surely the Algarve at the beginning of June would mean lovely temperatures of around 26 degrees – perfect for a week of lounging by the pool. Well Monday was an absolute scorcher of a day, enough to give my skin a bit of a pink glow; even the constant application of sunscreen didn’t cut it. Sadly this wasn’t a sign of things to come, we woke up on Tuesday to a sky full of clouds. Although this maybe wasn’t a bad thing for my slightly pink skin.

Not wanting to sit by the ice cold pool when it was only about 17 degrees, we decided to go on a little adventure. Mum, Dad and I jumped in the car, leaving my little brother to his own devices, and drove the 30 minutes or so to Portimao. The biggest town on the west side of the Algarve, it is home to the largest shopping mall in the area and many other stores and super markets. So if you’re off to the Algarve this has to be top of the list for shopping.

Not for us though, we just wanted to explore the town; staying clear of the main beach (it was too cold for that) and tourist area the town itself was more our style, wandering in and around the smaller streets taking in the architecture and some of the beautiful Portuguese tiled walls. Some of the houses were painted the most incredible vibrant colours, while sadly some had been left to fall into a state of disrepair – can you guess which one is my favourite? (clue: I love pink) Some of the locals clearly didn’t want to go to the effort of painting the full house so added a pop of colour to their doors and windows then added plenty of potted plants out the front.

I’m convinced this was all for the benefit of passing tourists like me who just couldn’t resist stopping and getting a photo. Although a few funny looks were thrown my way, clearly we weren’t in that part of town.

Our next find and last spontaneous stop during our morning of exploring really was a gem; the most adorable traditional looking cafe with tiles to die for!

I could’ve kicked myself for not being more patient as we had already had our morning coffee stop and was sure that a quick snap of the outside was all I was going to get….

Luckily my parents know me too well and its very easy to convince my Dad he needs another coffee – sometimes I wonder where I get it from! Delighted they wanted to stop we went inside to order a coffee and a traditional Portuguese pastry, a pastel de nata, and were blown over by how cheap it was! We definitely weren’t in overpriced, touristy Vilamoura. Mum and I rushed back out to grab the last empty table and take a few more photos.

Excuse the odd expression, it was quite bright out by this point.

Dad joined us, coffee in hand but of course we still needed some more photos – Mum usually takes them and isn’t in them so I decided that had to change. Sadly Dad’s photography skill are not up to much…he insisted on zooming in as close to our faces as possible, none of the gorgeous tiles in the background…just our faces. After a couple of attempts there was nothing to do but laugh which turned out not too bad. Not sure we’ll be asking dad to take photos again any time soon though.

Hilarity over and coffees consumed we’d had enough for one day so jumped back in the car and went back to get a couple of hours by the pool now that the sun had come out.

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