Despite going to bed at 1am, I was awake at 6:30am this morning. I can’t really complain about the hotel as it was quite nice and they upgraded us to the premium floor so we could all have rooms together. At about 8:15am Michael knocked on the door looking for something and that woke Helen up otherwise she may still have been sleeping (she was sleeping that soundly).
We had to fetch the 2 cars (we need two for the 7 people and 10 pieces of luggage) and at the same time we bought some croissants for breakfast to eat on the way to Vilamoura and the boys organized SIM cards for everyone. It all went quite smoothly. Thank goodness for mobile phones and Google maps because I don’t think we would not have found the route from airport back to the hotel otherwise (even though you can see the hotel from airport).
Fortunately they upgraded my car to a large station wagon as the golf clubs only fitted into my car. We then split up. First test of loyalties to see who would drive with whom. Michael, Oli with me (cool car) with the rest (boring car) with Helen. We then headed out for Vilamoura which is about a 2 hour 30 minute drive from Lisbon. It is a really good road made up mostly of a 2-lane highway but at times it is a 3-lane highway. It takes about 15 minutes and you’re out of Lisbon and you pretty much don’t pass another town again until you hit the start of the Algarve. Only place to stop is at one of the services along the highway. It seems besides Helen, Michael and me most people slept most of the way.
It was pretty smooth driving and we arrived at Vilamoura at 12:45pm and the temperature on my car was reading 39 degrees as we pulled into the drive of the house. We offloaded and then Helen and I headed straight out to buy some food for the balance of the day. The nearest decent supermarket is about 2 kms away. Portuguese supermarkets take some getting used to. They are not like supermarkets you experience elsewhere in the world. They are pretty disorganized, have a strange lay out and most importantly every is in Portuguese. It is a real challenge trying to figure out simple things like which what is semi-skimmed milk and what is full-cream milk. You also need to bring your own bags (which of course we hadn’t). Combine that with the fact they don’t really have supermarket trolley’s you can see how challenging it can be to buy food for 7 people even for only 2 days.
After lunch everyone except Lara and I seemed to fade off to their bedrooms and weren’t seen again until about 5:30pm. At that point the temperature had cooled down significantly to 31 degrees. Lara & Oli decided the weather was cool enough for a run and Stephen & Michael joined them but on their skateboards. Helen, Chloe and I headed for the pool and the others joined us when they got back about 20 minutes later.
Braai for dinner (lamp chops and sausage) and then out to the beach to watch the sunset. Last year when we did that it was us and one other group on the beach. Tonight when we arrived the beach was pumping. Music coming from a party happening on the pier and from a party boat slowing making it’s way up the coast. There were still hundreds of people on the beach as well. We were trying to figure out what was different this year versus last year and could only conclude either (a) stronger European economy or (b) weekend (or a combination of both).
We also had to a rematch of last’s years 100 meter dash between Stephen and Michael. Unfortunately for Stephen it was the same result as last year (though he seemed to be closer this year). One could see the disappointment in Lara’s eyes. I was also disappointed to discover that Chloe had left her selfie stick at home (never thought that would happen). We still managed to squeeze into a selfie on the beach (Chloe says she is the queen of selfies).
It is now 10:20pm and the temperature has cooled down further to 28 degrees now. I don’t think we will be needing jersey’s in the next week.
Until tomorrow …
P, S, L (because they both weren’t mocking me over dinner even though they selected Helen’s car over mine), M, O, C & H (because she was the chief mocker over dinner)