Day 12 – Tavira and Faro

For breakfast, we stopped into a local joint, filled with Brits who were enthusiastically watching World Cup Rugby. We sat in another room to avoid the hysterics when points were scored. They were a rowdy bunch.

We ate another of what they call an “English” breakfast, made up of two sunnyside up eggs, two pieces of bacon, two sausages, baked beans, sauteed mushrooms, broiled half tomato, and toast. It should fill you up for the week, let alone the day. I have to say that I enjoy baked beans with my eggs, although it isn’t on my keto diet! Most of the restaurants and hotels in Portugal serve it, too (although real Brits say that this isn’t at all what they eat in England).

Today, we decided to drive east from Albufeira to check out some towns that are touted as “must-see” places in the Algarve. Tavira is very close to the Spanish border, about 35 km from Albufeira (45 minutes east), pretty close to Seville, Spain. The toll roads are maintained very well and you fly down the road with ease.

Tavira is supposed to be charming, with narrow alley sized streets and old buildings (how novel). What we saw was a lot of graffiti covering the buildings, nothing that equaled the medieval towns we saw in the north and a river that looked pretty sad. We drove all around to see if there was anything we missed about the town, but other than having town-wide WiFi, it was very disappointing.

Working our way back west, we stopped in Faro, the largest of the Algarve cities, with an airport that serves much of Europe. We thought of stopping at the Ria Formosa Natural Park, almost halfway between Tavira and Faro. It was highly recommended but some of the activities there would have taken up an entire day and it was early afternoon by now.

Faro had a market in the center of town, mainly selling fruits and vegetables.  We stopped to check it out. Considering the prices we are accustomed to paying, the cost of these items seemed pretty high. $3.50 EU for one avocado?? Yikes!

We drove around the marina, filled with small boats, nothing like the yachts and large sailboats in the Albufeira marina. Adios Faro. As we drove from Albufeira east, we saw an IKEA and decided to stop at the large mall near it. As it turned out, it was a shopper’s paradise. The incredibly beautiful mall had the IKEA anchoring it on one end and a designer outlet mall on the other end (can you say Dolce & Gabbana at reduced prices?). The stores inside were amazing. My favorite, Primark, was there, occupying a large presence in the mall. I already visited the one in Porto, but I was happy to see the things here that weren’t in the previous store. Of course, I had to stop into my favorite accessory store, Parfois. The wallet came out! You have to check it out at parfois.com.

We never did make it to IKEA or the outlet mall. We drove back to Albufeira and stopped at ALDI, a grocery store favorite of mine that is working its way all over the US, to get a few items for the apartment and our next VRBO location in Carvoeiro starting on Tuesday. Best of all, we have two bottles of port in the apartment and some snacks to enjoy with the port, so no rush to leave for dinner.

In the mall, which was the nicest I have seen in a long time, including the bathrooms, the food court had four restaurants that were created by well-known chefs (not well-known to us, however) and you had your choice of Portuguese, Thai, pasta, and sushi specialties. Jim had a bacalau/Asian dish and I had a vegetarian curry dish. Both were huge and extremely good. We have enough for dinner at the apartment tonight!

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