Crossing the ocean for about four hours and landing at the regional airport of Algarve probably describes the beginning of two wonderful weeks in Portugal with perfect weather conditions best. We arrived at the airport of Faro, which is the southernmost city of Portugal, at noon and targeted Carvoeiro, a small town in the middle of the southern coast, located between Faro and Lagos, one of the bigger port cities on the southwestern cape. We rented a car and passed through the country side with about 70 kilometres of motorway lying ahead of us. Said car was a brand new Renault Clio which is important to our story, but more of that later…
After more than an hour of driving through mesmerizing Portugal, reaching our accommodation really saved the day as we were finally able to satisfy our enormous hunger. Previously we had parked our car in front of the hotel, so that a bellboy, who we actually got to know better over time, could bring our luggage to our room and park our car. The first steps into the big lobby were impressive. As the building of the Tivoli Resort (click it) is situated next to the cliff with it’s very own sea access, you can see the ocean from inside the hotel through a glass front in the back. This view was really unique. Check out some impressions!
From our dining table, which we switched depending on the time of the day from inside to the balcony outside, we had a delightful view of the pool area, the cliffs, our own Vale de Covo Beach and even the „secret sea cave“ (videos tell more than words, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyRl5PPctN0). Some locals told us that even some dolphins would stay there, but we actually never took the chance to visit because it seemed a bit dangerous to us to swim into the cave, so we would have had to take a quite expensive boat tour, which we missed eventually. In the next picture you can take a look at the gorgeous cave.
Some more words about the hotel itself: It is a big complex that was thankfully not too overcrowded, located more in the outskirts of the city with private sea access, a restaurant inside with a beautiful terrace called „The One Gourmet“, the „Ocean View Bar“ with a lovely outdoor area, an elegantly arranged pool landscape and a scuba diving school, and another restaurant called „Mare Bistro“ right next to the pool. The hotel was renovated the year before our trip. However, the inside pool did not seem that attractive to me as it was a bit abandoned. What seemed more interesting was the „Sky Bar“ on the rooftop of the building. Those moments up there are probably the most memorable ones for me.
After seven days together with my best friend Paul, Dominik joined us. He had actually only decided to opt in two days before our arrival in Portugal and had then booked his flight and a room. We had to pick him up from a railway station about 20 minutes away. On the way back we noticed that our car didn’t run as smoothly as before. To be more precise, our car didn’t accept the first gear anymore. Conlusion: Because of our recklessness in the Rallye Portugal (metaphorically), we ended up in a small village with a broke down car. Not even a three hour pit stop could save us, and in the end our car got towed, which cost us yet another three hours. During this time, we got to know self-proclaimed „famous Mr. Gomez“, an old grandpa living next to the place of our accident. He told us, that he was well known in Portugal, but indeed was a lonely pensioner. Nevertheless, he provided us with water and offered us his sleeping rooms for our next holidays for free. Sir Gomez, who didn’t like to be called by his forename Marcelino, because it would be a Sinte peoples name, also made his own red wine. As you can imagine, we also had to taste it. It was the strongest wine I’ve ever drunk. He annualy produced just six big bottles, of which he even wanted to give us one, but we politely refused. Certainly, we will send him a post card with pictures of us together when we met him within the next months. Mr. Gomez was too helpful to forget about him.
Swimming in one of the colder oceans that is the Atlantic is a bit different to anywhere else where I had been. Especially the tidal movement of the ocean appears rather extreme to me. Nevertheless, in the region of Algarve the sand beaches and harsh coasts are really relaxing, with small bays and very few other tourists. Of course, you can also find big and crowded beaches. Water quality is excellent if you don’t care about some seaweed floating around - by the way, that’s evidence for swimming in the big Atlantic. There are also many well-arranged paths, often even stairs, down to those bays, that look too good to be true.
The next few days were interrupted by another serious accident. Paul, Dominik and I were walking next to the cliffs near the centre of the city when Paul decided to jump from a low wall onto the roof of a building. The gap between the houses was too far to accomplish, which I also had told him before and the roof really didn’t seem solid to me. Dominik seemed to be indecisive, or more likely: curious of Paul the Great. Though it did not end that great… He tried and failed, breaking the bricks off the roof and cutting his knee. We didn’t realize the extent of his injury at the beginning and laughed about his failure, only until Paul’s face turned white and blood came running down the open wound. Paul is a guy who’s straight forward, outgoing and lively, but this time he totally lost his chill. I think he already imagined losing his leg.
Five minutes later, what seemed to be the whole village was standing around Paul - what an event. We had called the ambulance before and tried to comfort him with Austrian folk music. Meanwhile, a girl told us, that the building Paul had jumped on was a church and that even her parents had married in the church, which left a bad taste in our mouths. Paul was taken to the hospital by paramedics, who also were firefighters at the same time. He came back at 8 o’clock in the next morning, limped into our room, wished me a good morning and immediately left to get some breakfast. It was my job to get him the pills he had to take, which I combined with a quick run to the pharmacy. Eventually, I came back three hours later, because I had to visit three different pharmacies to get all the stuff, which cost me my breakfast at the hotel. Since this accident, we like to call him „stupid Paul“.
One thing I will never forget was meeting French Montana, who stayed in our hotel for about a week. He drove some very nice cars that were parked in front of the lobby. Apart from his „family“ - around 10 people - he had bodyguards with him and people for his business like a photographer. His appearance was really powerful. To describe it best: When they left the building walking out the door one evening, one of them stated „it’s show time“. Afterwards, we found out, that he upheld his promise. The following days, French Montana performed at the most famous clubs of Portugal.
Summarizing all those moments, vacation in Portugal with my dear friends Paul and Domink was the best opportunity that I could imagine to take time out after rough times and enjoy life to the fullest. Certainly, we will always be vibing to the lines of French Montana’s song „Unforgettable“. It truly is.