Places

Make the best out of everything – Our stay in Olhão

14 września 2019

This story won’t be about how we went to this small city and fell in love. It won’t be even about the city itself. It is more about how to make the best out of any experience, even when the big disappointment is the strongest feeling you have in that exact moment. You can still turn that around. After leaving Budens, a beautiful living area near Lagos, where we had a good rest and peaceful sleep we decided to stay a few more days in Algarve and we decided for Olhão. The city located near Faro and described by a few people on the Internet as a small, authentic town, worth seeing and not so touristy. I mean, it did sound good to us.  I followed the authentic experience idea and booked us an original small Portuguese house in the city centre. But while sitting on the beach in Portimão and talking to the local guy, who was renting the chairs and umbrellas we felt a little bit unsure about our decision. He was surprised, that we are going there, because „there is nothing interesting really and it is kind of a shady area”. It didn’t help, that we arrived very late on Friday night and the only place to park our car was half a kilometre away from the house and in the neighbourhood, that you might think is this car going to be here tomorrow? It was.

The house had the ground floor with one tiny window and no windows in the bedroom, which looked like a nicely painted white cave. The whole place was really small, but for sure it was a real, historic Portuguese house. When you took stairs you entered a quite stunning big terrace with sofas, table and more place than the whole house had inside. We spent there one magical evening. But the first night wasn’t magical at all. On the ground floor, where the main entrance is just at the street, we witnessed through our door big, night, party fight. Women and men shouting for quite some time just in front of our place. The whole experience with the late arrival, far away parking and the fight gave us chills. So the first thing in the morning we tried to create good feelings. We walked a few streets direction waterfront, but on our way, we saw one nice church, mostly destroyed houses and no nice cafes to have some breakfast. Finally, we got one at a local supermarket, where everything was clean, tidy and the lady was very nice to us.  It worked well for us because we used the opportunity and bought some things for Theo and with full tummies we were in a better mood to explore and give this place a chance.

After a couple of minutes, we have reached the water and the main walking path at the seafront. Seeing some open space and nature made us a little bit more at ease. We sat down on a bench and while watching the boat models race we observed the people. And I will agree here with J., but people there looked a little bit like they all belonged to some mafia business. Not directly scary, but the way they walk and dress and look at you made us feel like we got lost in the wrong neighbourhood. While walking along the water we have reached Real Marina Hotel with a swimming pool on a terrace, where we had lunch and spent the whole afternoon. We had a beautiful view and a great time there. In the evening we had the best pizza in Portugal in Pizza na Pedra. The food was absolutely delicious there and the service was also one of the best during these holidays. On that Saturday night, there was a big city party happening. Life music was great and you could see people of all ages dancing and having fun. But, there were also people who maybe had partied too much, and maybe they didn’t care about the locals, but we caught their interest. So despite the fact, that our house was a ten-minute walk from the centre, we took a taxi home. Maybe we weren’t lucky, that two from three nights we spent there we didn’t feel safe. Or maybe like the local guy from the beach said, it is a little bit shady there. But today we mostly remember the delicious Italian food experience and the afternoon with a view on a swimming pool and the ocean and a walk along the seashore. And this beautiful sunset on our terrace. But we have also learnt something. Not every travel recommendation will work for us. And before you go somewhere, book a place to sleep it is good to do your own research if it is really a place for you. We all have different expectations and ways of exploring the world. It is important to find what suits you the best. And we have learnt that we are much more safety concerned that we would have thought.

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