Good evening. The last dregs of summer here in Britain are ebbing away, and darkness falls early now, as autumn and it’s mellow nature makes it’s presence felt.
As the blog title implies, I’ve been on holiday to Portugal with a very good cricketing buddy of mine. We stayed in Albufeira, about 40 minutes west along the Algarve coast in the southern part of the country. After having been to Portugal last Autumn, I really love the way of life and the gorgeous weather, of which more later.
We start with Day One, and an early start….
Day One – Sunday 25th August
It’s Bank Holiday here in the UK. It’s a warm and humid night, and I wake up at 3.00 am to go round to my mate’s house to catch the taxi to the airport. My stomach is churning with anticipation and excitement, but with that trepidation of getting on the plane.
We arrive at Southend Airport at 4.40 am. Our flight is at 6.30. Through all the processes, and then we have a decent breakfast in the airport pub. The only slight downer was a child screaming her head off at the security checkpoint and then her bellowing screams could be heard at the other end of the airport.
I’ve never flown from Southend before. It’s a smaller, provincial airport but I’m most impressed at the economical layout, and lack of stress getting through the processes.
Then it’s time. The EasyJet staff member calls the passengers to the gate and then we walk through the alleyway onto the tarmac. It’s a warm, humid, misty morning and the Airbus A319 is there in all it’s pristine glory. I watch a Ryanair flight roar off to a far away place, and then up the steps we go, get our seats and settle in.
The nerves then really kick in. My stomach is churning. I don’t like flying particularly but it has to be done I suppose. The safety briefing finishes and the Airbus taxis into position, down the end of the runway ready to get us away.
I can still never understand how a thin metal tube with seats, cargo, passengers and fuel takes off and stays in the air for long periods. It’s a feat of incredible engineering that we all take for granted.
Then, the captain applies the power and the craft whizzes along at a fair lick to get us airborne. I’m nervous throughout the flight but the takeoff and landing are not two of my favourite things ever. The flight took 2 hours and 45 minutes and we had two reassuring guys flying the plane. They kept us informed of any turbulence, any thunderstorms (which there were), and did so in that calming way that pilots have.
Uneventful flight to be honest. A few slight bumps, not even disturbing my mate who was asleep for most of the journey. Then we banked our over the Atlantic for the final approach into Faro. What wonderful views. Green space, golf courses, sandy beaches, sun drenched water. Perfect.
We landed and then getting through Portuguese immigration was chaotic. With several flights from the UK landing virtually within 20 minutes of each other, the arrivals hall was crawling with holidaymakers. This was a welcome sight:-
And it was really hot too, up in the high twenties Celsius. We got a connecting bus to the resort and what a resort it was. Fantastic four star luxury, five minutes from Albufeira beach.
We had a spot of lunch first after settling in, and we had a short walk to the local main road which contained some fine eateries and bars for later.
Lunch done, then time to settle around the fabulous pool with the sun beating down. The 3rd Ashes cricket test was reaching an incredible climax, and we both watched the amazing England win on my phone. I couldn’t help but let out a whoop of delight when England’s Ben Stokes hit the winning runs.
Off to the local restaurant where you could have a three course meal with a drink for 14 Euros. Pretty good eh? I had a fantastic tuna steak and followed that up with a lime cheesecake. My waistline was about to suffer but who cares. This was just what both of us needed, a relaxing environment where there was no fuss, no stress, no bother. And I do like the way of life in Portugal.
After a long day, it was time to head back. Sleep was long and very relaxing, for a change. Day 2 tomorrow!