A December 2000 trip
to Algarve by SpartacusNC
Quote: Fun, sun, surf and turf, hit the links or pound the Earth.
Hotel | "Four Seasons Country Club"
The grounds are manicured and well-kept, the staff is one of the finest I have encountered in the region and the villas are spacious, with all modern appliances and fully-equipped kitchens. There is an isolated area poolside for ladies that desire to remove the tops of their bathing suits. The resort general manager is British, with the rest of the staff being local nationals. Each Tuesday the manager hosts a cocktail reception. During my stay the reception honored staff receiving recognition for years of service. The number of 10, 15 and 20-year employees caught my attention, bringing me to ask the average tenure of the entire staff, amazingly over 10 years!
Your dollar goes far in Portugal, a member of the European Union. The Escudo is tied to the Euro in the transition to the common currency and the strength of the dollar is at one of the highest levels in almost ten years. Not being a golfer, I was disappointed in the lack of variety of on-site programs, a staple at most European destination resorts. The Algarve boasts temperatures in the 60''s in December, but this sun bum never wore shorts or sandals on this trip. The coastal winds are constant, making the indoor heated pool a valuable respite after a long day on your feet.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 2, 2001
Four Seasons - Vilamoura
Apartado 507 - 8125-908
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 2, 2001
Christmas In The Algarve
Most Cities In The Region
South Of Aljezure
Attraction | "The Legacy of Prince Henry The Navigator"
Just up the coast on a local road you come upon the San Vicente lighthouse. San Vicente is the most-southwestern point on the continent and the view over the walls to view the power of the sea as it violently crashes into the high cliffs is not to be missed. The wind blows with great force here, coming in off of the Atlantic Ocean. The rugged coastline here provides many fine photographic venues. There is no admission here and local vendors giving good deals on wool sweaters made in the area can always be found.
Other lesser-known maritime gems are found all along the southern Algarve coast and can bring additional pleasure to your days
Prince Henry The Navigator
The Algarve Coast
Attraction | "Gibraltar/Seville Day Tour"
The hardest part of the trip was getting up to ready for the VERY early pickup time of 5:30 am!!! Since I was the first passenger, I had my pick of seats and chose the middle seat, having the most legroom and the added 'comfort' of the side of the vehicle to give my body support as I wanted to sleep during the early morning ride to Seville.
We arrived in Seville in the late morning. An almost two hour stop gave ample time for sight-seeing and a delicious lunch of the local Catalan cuisine, complete with a tasty Sangria. The architecture in Seville is mostly the traditional Baroque style, majestic with sharp lines of sight and whitewashed exterior walls.
Back into the van for the final leg of the journey to Gibraltar. Even though I enjoyed a good lunch, I was able to stay awake for the long drive to the coast.
I have seen pictures of the Rock of Gibraltar, but there is no substitute for being there. As you approach from afar, the Rock begins to come into view, growing with each passing kilometer. I was reminded of my first trip to Mt. Rushmore and the excitement of that first sighting after rounding the bend. This was no different. In the blink of an eye you leave Hispania and are suddenly transplanted into the British Empire.
The flavor of Gibraltar reminded me so much of Berlin before The Wall came down. A very international, cosmopolitan flavor; an island isolated by it's borders.
We had five hours here to enjoy this 'outpost' in whatever fashion we desired. Of course, the favorite activity of visitors seems to be shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. But because I have always had such a fascination with The Rock, I attempted to photograph it from every conceivable angle! I think this is the first time I have shot one entire roll of film on one feature or landmark!
But I did get my shopping in, adding to my stamp collection, which was lacking in the stamps from this remote outpost. After taking more photographs and mailing postcards to the four corners of the world, I snuck in a couple more pale ales and a great fish dinner before trudging back to the van for the LONG ride home. Needless to say, I was asleep before we even re-entered Spain and barely remember waking up for a bathroom break in the darkness of the early winter night.
The trip FINALLY around 11:00 pm (the joy of being picked up first was now into the disappointment of being dropped last). Exhausted, yet extremely pleased and satisfied, I gave Eduardo a handsome tip. He was a great driver and guide, but then, that is another journal story all together!
Charlotte, North Carolina