Our last full day in Portugal began with a leisurely, simple breakfast at the apartment then exploring the Saturday market at Olhao - a community just east of Faro. The kids and Ana found a few small items of interest in the goods market, while I was mainly interested in the massive fish market that had so many different varieties of fish, and was a great mix of locals and tourists. I only wished that I could have bought something, but we just weren’t set up at the apartment to do any serious cooking.
There was quite a large marina in Olhao, but there were huge mud flats and the ocean was quite far out, and looked to be accessible by narrow channels, or perhaps not at all during low tide. There was a main pier with ferry boats taking tourists by the hundreds out to the island beaches, as there was no decent beach accessible from the shore. After exploring the market we sat down for a coffee at one of the cafes and got into some serious vacation planning as we realized that we have nothing at all planned after this trip, which makes for a sad return to real life. That is always a fun discussion, and we came out the other end with a pretty good idea of what we’d like to do next year.
We then drove right back to Faro, but kept on going until we found the first available beach accessible by car - Vilamoura, but the GPS guided us on a real strange route and after parking we had to walk a kilometre through scrubby brush and red, dusty paths, until we finally popped out at a huge parking lot in front of the beach. You can usually trust the GPS…but not always.
The beach here was much, much nicer than the Faro beach and we spent a couple of hours enjoying the water and sand, then had a painfully long, expensive, bad lunch at the only restaurant there, then head back along the dusty path to the car and returned to the apartment for a cool down session. There, we decided to go to the grocery store and pick up some food to cook for dinner instead of going out, as the dining was really starting to wear us down. So together we cooked a delicious, simple dinner, and drank a few local brews mixed with the juice of limes I picked from the trees outside of our apartment. We then drove into the Faro centre for a final wander around and ice creams before calling it a night. One cool thing we did notice were these massive nests, built on top of several of the buildings. They were large enough to hold people, but the internet told us they were nests of the white stork.
Our original plan was to do a whirlwind tour of the Algarve today and see all of the sights we had identified before the trip, but at this point of the holiday, after so many massive, action packed days, we decided to scale it back and take a pass on the big sights. Hey, need to leave a few things for the next trip!