Driving to Algarve, Portugal
Trip Start Mar 24, 2001
4Trip End Apr 05, 2001
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From Lisbon to Carvoeiro -
Take the A2 (motorway) to the Algarve moving on to the A22 (Via do Infante) heading towards PORTIMÃO until you reach the exit for LAGOA/ SILVES. Head for LAGOA SUL/ CARVOEIRO.
You will merge onto the main EN125 road again, now heading towards LAGOA/FARO. Go through the 1st set of traffic lights (roundabout), keep straight and at the 2nd set of traffic lights (roundabout again), turn right to CARVOEIRO. After 300 meters you will see a sign for the Carvoeiro Golf Club to the right but do not turn here. Keep straight on for about 5 km and you will go past the Intermarché Supermarket and Cepsa petrol station on your right.
As soon as you arrive in the main square of CARVOEIRO, turn left and go up the hill. The Tivoli Almansor is on your right after about 1 km.
Upon arriving in the Algarve we found a noticeable change in weather it was much warmer then in Lisbon. On our drive we discovered long stretches of sandy beaches, small quiet bays, calm clear water, huge rock formations and the most magnificent scenery.
We stayed at the Hotel Almansor Tivoli http://www.portugal-info.net/tivoli-almansor/index.htm, it was a little difficult for us to find, driving over dirt roads, through downtown, up and around hills with no signs. The hotel is located on top of a cliff and most of the rooms have a view of the sea. It's an excellent hotel, clean, comfortable, romantic and scenic. We ate breakfast here every morning, in fact it was included with the accommodation. Breakfast consisted of pastries, cereal, fruit, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and sometimes cod in a tomato sauce.
Cod is the most popular fish in Portugal specifically salted cod in Portuguese it is called "bacalhau" and you will see it on almost every menu. Be careful when eating lunch and dinner at restaurants, waiters will present to you a platter of cod fish cakes, mixed olives and/or fancy cheese with bread as soon as you are seated- IT'S NOT FREE. The waiter will charge you for these little snacks even if you eat one olive. At one restaurant the waiter put cod cakes on our table, we did not want them, he prodded us to try one, we said no, he took them away then gave them to the next group of customers. Most meals will come with two starches mostly french fries and rice - vegetables are rarely seen except as a garnish.
One morning we drove to Lagos and discovered it had a devastating past. Lagos is one of the first European ports through which Africans were brought into slavery. About 12,000,000 Africans were sold by Africans (that is not a misprint) to Europeans and 7,000,000 were then sold to Arabs (mostly before 1776). Jewish settlers in Portugal also became victims to the slave trade as they were criticized for there faith and were ordered to become Christians or face slavery. All of this information and more is posted in and around the castles of Lagos.
The beaches in Portugal are gorgeous littered with huge rock formations. Upon closer investigation the rock formations were made out of tonnes and tonnes of seashells and dirt layered tightly on top of each.
We read about Silves Castle http://www.guide-to-castles-of-europe.com/silves-castle.html located in Silves, Portugal. On our way there we got lost and stopped to ask for directions once again. We stopped at a store and asked the owner for directions, the owner then called for his son. It seems the older Portuguese generation speaks very little or no English however the younger generation are now being taught English in school. This helped us greatly and the young boy helped us find our way. It is a very popular castle to visit with spectacular views of the countryside. Archeologist's are still finding artifacts throughout the castle.
Portugal is beautiful, I can't say that enough. This is one of the countries I plan to revisit.
Where I stayed