Only in Algarve

I’ve been enchanted by the colors of Lisbon, but when my hosts offered to take me along to the beach in the region of Algarve in southern Portugal, the offer was one I couldn’t refuse.

Setting the table for breakfast.

The beach is only two minutes away from the apartment, and as I walk down with the family with my borrowed flip flops and beach towel, I soon learn the rhythm of the day:


Splash into the water, dry off, repeat. Alternate between sunscreen and tanning oil. Laugh in surprise when the approaching tide surprises the end of your beach towel.


There’s no lunch, but we fight the tide of hunger is by eating the sugar-dusted “bolas de berlim “.


“You only eat these at the beach,” my host sister tells me as she passes me the sugar-dusted sweet. “They don’t taste the same anywhere else.”

And there is a lot of eating going on. Each night I find myself trying to find some hidden room in my stomach for the delicious dinner as I hear my host mom urging: “eat more”.

Yes, Maria. Thank you, Maria. I find a new mound of mashed potatoes on my plate.


I love this! Early dinners. Sweet melon for dessert. Tiny coffee to end the meal.


One night after dinner my host sister offers to show me the town. We walk up and down the one Main Street of the tiny town, comfortable in the summer night air. Of course this occasion calls for ice cream.


Coming back to Lisbon, I have sand in my bag and freckles on my nose. And I am so thankful to have spent time with this family.

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