Time for another trip and this time I had set my sights on the south of Portugal. I had something special planned this time. I can still remember the shrieks of excitement that erupted out of Alex’s mouth when he learnt that we were staying at Villa Plus in Algarve. It was a welcome change even for me. I was bored of the hotels and the particular villa that I had chosen was particularly sweet. It was walking distance from both the town and the beach. Alex loved it and so did I!
The days we spent in Algarve were a pleasant change from most of our holidays. The culture as a rule was laid back and relaxed. That being said, we somehow fell in step with the locals (who were very helpful) and enjoyed our vacation at a very sedate pace. The old town was particularly fascinating. The entrance to the town is through an 18th century old arc called ‘Arc da Vila’ and you exit from an arc called ‘Arc da Repouso’.
The old town itself has retained its 18th century charm. We walked along the cobbled paths and sat in the old restaurants enjoying the food (and a glass of wine for me). Alex was most disappointed that he couldn’t try the wine. It’s hard to explain to five year old why it isn’t for him. Alex kept arguing that I told him he should always indulge in the specialties of each place we go to and the specialty here was wine! Five year old logic! I finally gave in and put a drop of wine on his tongue. (Let it be our secret.) I quieted him quickly.
The age old slave market was another thing that we ticked off our list. I must confess that it horrified Alex to learn about the darker periods of the European history. I found it a good time to educate him about the history of that time. It always surprises me how much information my little boy can take in. He has more patience than me on these guided tours and even finds history interesting. That is why I absolutely advocate traveling with kids when they are young. They learn so much and in a way that’s fun!
The rest of our trip was far less serious. We visited the Marina, which is still relatively new. I felt that it was pleasant part of town to hang out in. Alex however felt that the Zoo Marine (a kind of sea world) and the Dolphin safaris were the highlight of the trip. What about me? I liked our daily strolls down the beaches. I loved the sunsets from our villa. I adored the picnic baskets we packed and took. But if you really want to know the highlight of my trip… It was Alex! Watching him build sand castles and jump in the water has been stored in my memories for eternity. The expression of pure joy when he saw a dolphin for the first time isn’t something I will forget either! The highlight of my trip was definitely the quality time I got to spend with him. I’m glad I choose our destination well. Algarve was the perfect place for that special mother-son time that I had been craving for.