By Humphrey & Lanette Conceicao
COSTA DEL SOL
After a heady day on the hills of Mijas, we returned back to sea level and headed for the beaches of Costa Del Sol to share a special meal at one of Trafalgar’s secrets.
There was entertainment by this sprightly gentleman who sang some of the more popular Spanish numbers which always ended with a howl done with a drunken stupor. His antics were most appreciated, especially after most of us had downed 3 – 4 glasses of good quality wine.
The main course of Cod baked in salt was absolutely divine, especially when it was served by the owner of the restaurant. And when it came time to sing for a birthday celebrant, she sportingly sang and danced with our tour director Maria. Needless to say, we all left on a high.
The shopping just outside our hotel was just too inviting. Best of all was the local market 5 minutes away from the Don Curro Hotel, which sold fresh fruits. Needless to say…we stuffed our faces with cherries, strawberries, oranges, apples, dates and nuts. The flowers were in full bloom all over Malaga.
Ronda is a town in Malaga in Spain. Set in and around a deep gorge spanned by an impressive bridge, the relaxing atmosphere here is a great break from some of the more tourist-ridden places on the south coast of Spain.
We loved chilling out with beers and pigeons on cobbled streets in Ronda.
Our included dinner at Hotel Don Curro was absolutely delicious! Endless bottles of wine courtesy of Trafalgar.
As we crossed over from Spain into Portugal the landscape began to change, because travelling along the coast brought different colours and aromas. The smell of the sea was as I imagined from reading about my forefathers who originated from this land. Yes, indeed, the very first small town we passed on entry into Portugal bore our surname – Conceicao.
The first stop on home soil required that I kiss the ground, so as I knelt and moved towards the ground, I inhaled the salty air and tasted the Flor de Sal of Necton. Flower of Salt has always been consumed in Portugal by the salt workers in their homes as it gives a better and different taste to food.
Late in the afternoon we arrived at our hotel in Albufeira, and given our very spacious rooms that overlooked the city. It is hardly surprising that this charming fishing town of white washed houses, overlooking a sheltered beach, has become the tourist capital of the Algarve.
It seemed to me the centre of youth, energy and vibrancy. All types of restaurants, bars, clubs, shops were available. Needless to say we spent quite a tidy sum picking up table runners, bottle stoppers, napkins, and my favourite a Portugal Track Suit top from Forca Portugal.
CAPE ST VINCENT
Next we travelled to the southwestern most point in Portugal, Cape St Vincent.
The view from atop these cliffs were breath taking as the windswept land whistled its song inviting everyone to reflect on the greatness of Mother Nature. I could not help but wonder that perhaps it was from these very cliffs that many a man may have envisioned the possibilities of adventure to faraway lands.
Located about 6km from the village of Sagres, this cape is a landmark for a ship traveling to or from the Mediterranean. The cliffs are nearly vertical and can be up to 75 metres high! Lanette braved the winds to set her windbreaker aside for this view that was to die for. At this point, we had experienced both the southwestern end of Portugal and the Southern tip of Spain with Trafalgar.
We viewed the lighthouse at Cape St Vincent which guards one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and is one of the most powerful lighthouses in Europe which can be seen as far as 60km away!
Posing with our wonderful local guide who knew the history of this land like the back of his hands. No prizes for guessing his name – Ronaldo. Notice the Blue ceramic tiles on the wall, which is a feature seen throughout Portugal.
Atop one of the many cliffs, we view a beautiful emerald cove. Those who venture the 10 minute walk down slope are rewarded with a beautiful cool dip amongst fronds of kelp. Remember you also have to make the climb back up.
Our beautiful young ladies pose, giving colour and beauty to the otherwise barren hill tops.
There were so many things to see, do and experience, but the most important was to taste. Here I am enjoying the delicious (do not let the strange look on my face deceive you) plate of freshly caught and grilled sardines. I am not one for fish, but after biting into these beauties, I felt like I was in heaven.
We crossed the Targus River into the capital of Portugal on the 25th where I took this photo of Lanette and our beautiful friends from Africa taking a “leap of faith” on Lisbon’s main square.
We were so lucky to witness the beautiful African Festival, where immigrants and invited guests from the African Continent gathered at Lisbon Square to display their rich heritage, multi-coloured costumes and vibrant dances.
Trafalgar once again delivered a super surprise by hosting dinner at Marisqueira Restaurant. The servings of port, beers, wines, fresh seafood of clams, squid, fish, shrimp were just too good to resist. Everyone must have put on at least 3 -4 kg, especially after desserts were served!
These happy faces tell a story – “Absolutamente delicioso e eu quero mais no meu regress!” The drinks, food and friendships shared amongst people from many lands.
As the evening sun dipped behind the 25th April Suspension Bridge, our friendships were only beginning to grow.
Read the third and final Part of Humphrey and Lanette’s travel tale next week…
If you enjoyed reading Part 2 of Humphrey & Lanette’s experience and would like to learn more about our ‘Impressions of Spain & Portugal’ itinerary, click here. Or for more information about Trafalgar’s guided vacations, head to our website: www.trafalgar.com