• Exploring Alburfeira: Day 1

    November 23, 2017
  • With a good nights sleep,  a nice tea and coffee, muffins, fruit and more on the balcony, we settled in after our first night which I might add was somewhat stressful for me, what with the music coming from the wall in our bedroom. I told Hubby about it but he wasn’t concerned as he had a good nights sleep. Not sure if he believed me though as well. Perhaps he thought I was hallucinating after such a long plane ride. Anyways it was a lovely warm morning, 22 C, sunny on May 11, going up to 26C, just fantastic weather we thought. After all it was 2C and foggy back home in St. John’s. We decided to stay around the room and take in the morning sun on the balcony for the first few hours.

    Praia dos Pescadores: Fishermen’s Beach, Albufeira, Portugal

    I went into the bedroom to change my clothes and the music in the bedroom came on again. This time I ran and got Hubby and made him stand on the bed and he could hear the music coming from the wall behind the bed. He spotted two speakers in the wallpaper and sure enough that was where the music was coming from. I called Algarve Getaways and our friend who had visited the day before said she could come by within the hour. So we waited. When she came by, luckily the music started again. She had to go to the panel box in the kitchen and disarm the audio announcement speaker. Apparently she thought that the music was being piped in from another condo which was unoccupied. This is the system that announces if there is a fire in the building. So she said that she would have it looked after. Apparently I was not going nuts after all! After all this commotion and a noon day beer, it was time to get out and start exploring Albufeira.

    Overlooking Fishermen’s Beach & Old Town, Albufeira!

    Our research told us that Old Town down towards the beach area was a must place to check out, as was “The Strip”, a sort of George Street in Portugal, only with more restaurants and many more bars! Albufeira has a population of approximately 40,000 people which swells to 300,000 people during the summertime. Albufeira has quite a number of hotels and condominium complexes to cater to the influx of people during this peak time, however we were blessed that it was not heavily crowded in May, so that was a good thing for us, especially in getting seated in restaurants. We were surprised though how many of the Brits come to Albufeira for stag and bridal parties. They were very evident all over Albufeira, especially “The Strip” where there were hordes of drunken male and females partying with their bridal parties. While the money seemed appreciated by the Portuguese servers, I can say that the behaviour was not very appreciated!

    Tourist Train Albufeira

    We found the little Tourist Train without much trouble, only 15 minutes walk from the condo. For just 4 Euros each you can get a day pass aboard the train, which makes four stops throughout Albufeira. You can hop on and hop off anytime you like. A great way to get about the town very cheaply. However the train stops around 10:30 PM, so its taxis after that if you are downtown. The cabs are reasonably priced and a great option if you are out late!

    Old Town Stop on the Tourist Train, Albufeira!

    The open air train is a great way to get your bearings in Albufeira. At the Old Town Stop we got out right at the ocean front. A truly spectacular view with the beach and the Old Town below and beyond and the hills rising above the ocean front and at the water’s edge! All of the buildings are white with coloured roofs and with the backdrop of the sand and ocean in the background, the site and the Old Town is absolutely an amazing view! Takes your breath Away!

    Escalator Down to Beach Level: Old Town!

    At the Old Town train stop, just steps away, you can take the two escalators down to the beach level, which is an attraction in itself and the escalators are open rain or shine! Once at beach level, you can explore Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Beach) at your leisure! There is another beach as well, Praia Do Tunel which is slightly to the west through a tunnel. The beaches in Old Town Albufeira are spectacular with golden sand and as far as the eye can see with the white stone faced buildings reaching up to the top of the surrounding hills, a truly magnificent sight. One of the best of our experiences while travelling abroad!!

    Hubby on Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Beach)

    Albufeira Old Town is an attraction itself, with lots of cobbled stoned streets lined with restaurants, bars, cafes and shops, with the staff readily out in the streets trying to get your attention so that you might consider them for your meal or to part with your tourist euros. The night life is very lively and the bars are open until 4 AM, depending on the time of year you visit. We ate at several restaurants in Old Town during out visit. Usually we would catch the Tourist Train down, and grab a cab back at the taxi rack nicely located in the heart of Old Town itself.

    Sculptures on Old Town Oceanfront!

    So on our first day exploring we had hit the jackpot, discovering the Tourist Train and its access to the Old Town at the beaches and oceanfront. We caught the Tourist Train back which departs every 20 minutes. We got out at the “Strip” which was the closest stop to our condo. From there it was a 15 minute walk back to the condo. A very successful first day so far! Now back by 6:00 PM, time for a Gin & Tonic.

    Hubby on the Tourist Train!

    For dinner we headed down the hill again for dinner at the UZONJ Restaurant which we had spotted earlier on our walk down to the train. It ws a pretty good restaurant with lots of choices on the menu. We went all in for a Portuguese dinner. We ordered Cataplana De Galinha, Chicken Cataplana, served up in a Cataplana, a hinged clamp shaped pan. This was a sort of chicken stew which contains bacon, chorizo Portuguese smoked sausage, green peppers, potatoes, parsley, Port Wine, olive oil, garlic, bay leaf, White Wine, Per-peri powder, salt and pepper. It was delicious and very filling. Only 10 Euros for two, so with a bottle of fine Portuguese wine, we had a fine dinner for 25 Euros, tip included. With that bottle of wine in us the hill that night is a distant memory! UZONJ ranked very well on Trip Advisor #31 but not the highest ranked restaurant we visited on our Portuguese adventure!

    Hubby with the last Glass of the Portuguese Wine! Feeling Pain Free!

    Our first day was a wonderful day and we looked forward to a few more for sure!