Thursday, June 6, 2013

10th Anniversary Trip Part 3 - The Algarve

With our rental car we were able to explore the southern Portuguese coastline (known as the Algarve) on Wednesday, May 29th.  We stayed the Hotel Porto Bay Falesia in Olhos de Agua - a tiny coastal town.  After 4 full days of sightseeing, it was a welcomed break to have a day at the beach, even if the 60's temperatures weren't quite perfect beach weather.  At least it was bright sunshine and we couldn't ask for much more than that.  The first shot below is the view from our hotel balcony - total relaxation:
Headed down to the beach - the red cliffs were amazing:
Never quite been to a beach like this before:
It stretched on for miles:
With lots of little rock outcroppings to explore:
After a 2 mile walk on the beach and visit to the hot tub, we headed out to the larger nearby town called Albufeira for dinner.  Walking through the quaint streets of Albufeira, we stumbled upon this beautiful tree.  
After a walk through the town, we headed to our destination - Dom Carlos Restaurant - easily our best meal of the trip and one of the best meals we've ever had.  Peter, an Irishman, and his Portuguese wife Anna own this restaurant.  The meal is a 5-course meal with 2 options for each course (soup, appetizer, fish, beef/chicken, dessert).  The chef goes to the market that morning to pick out the freshest ingredients and that is how he picks his menu for the day.  He puts a lot of pride into all of his cooking and comes out to explain each course.  They made you feel like part of the family, even joking with me that I needed to slow down (anyone who knows me knows I eat too quickly).  In my reservation, I had mentioned that it was our anniversary and Anna had a bouquet of flowers for me.  We had not ever experienced a restaurant like this before and I'm sad that we won't be going back anytime in the near future.
Here we are at the restaurant with pictures of our appetizers:
Luckily, we had the foresight to ask Peter for restaurant recommendations in Lisbon and he was happy to provide them.  We went to the two restaurants he recommended in Lisbon and they were fantastic as well.  I can't say enough good things about our one day pit stop in the Algarve.  We were refreshed and ready to head north for 2 last days of sightseeing in Portugal.

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