Hey everyone, sorry for my lack of uploading over the past few weeks I have been so so busy with work and life in general. I always mention it time and time again but I always put my life & job first instead of my blog or YouTube channel as that’s what is most important at the end of the day. I finally feel as if I can focus more on my blog and YouTube channel now which means more uploading, especially over the next few weeks in the run-up to my trip to Cambodia! For my 23rd birthday, myself, my Mum and my Nan went to Portugal. We stayed in the Algarve near Faro for about 4 days and 5 nights as I was able to take off a few days from work. It was the perfect getaway as it was so relaxing and peaceful which is just what I needed as I had just been through a really busy time at work. Our accommodation was about an hour and a half away from Faro airport so we decided to hire a car to get there and to get around the local town. The car we hired was a Volkswagen Golf I believe and was also an automatic car which was really nice to drive as I shared the driving with my mum. We had to drive on the other side of the road which I’m not used to, however, it gets easier the more you practice. I would definitely drive in another country again as it’s quite straight forward once you have done it once or twice, however, it’s always easier if the country you are visiting drives on the same side as you!
We stayed in an Air BnB style flat which had two bedrooms one of which was a double room and the other one had two single beds. The Air BnB had a pool and was about a 10-minute walk from the beach so it was perfect for a relaxing holiday. It was a self-catering apartment which meant that we cooked our own food and bought a lot of it from the local supermarket. This meant that overall I managed to eat quite healthily but I did treat myself too especially on my birthday. We flew out of Southend Airport at around 6:00 pm which meant that we didn’t land until around 8:30 pm and then didn’t arrive at the apartment until around 10:00 pm. We were pretty exhausted that evening so just went straight to bed so that we could get up early the next morning and enjoy our first full day.
On the first day, we spent most of it by the pool which was private as only our apartment block could access it. As we went just before peak season the pool was empty which was great, although I only got in it once or twice as it was absolutely freezing! In the afternoon, we took a trip to Aldi which was the local supermarket where we stocked up on all of the essentials. I always find that the food seems a lot fresher abroad than it does in England which makes you feel like you are eating healthy even though you’re on holiday. In the evening, we went to a local restaurant where we had a set menu of prawn salad to start with, steak with potatoes gratin & vegetables for a main, and then a cream puff pastry thing for dessert. As well as a three-course menu, the staff knew that it was my birthday in a few days so they made me a mini Crème brûlée which was delicious and cooked to perfection as the top cracked perfectly. We then went back to the apartment and all watched a film before going to bed at a pretty reasonable time for our first evening. It was definitely a good first day on holiday!
The second day, I started to begin a routine as I was usually the first awake so I would make myself a cup of tea and then go out onto the balcony to begin on my tan as the sun would be facing that side of the apartment in the morning. Once Mum & Nan were awake we would have breakfast together which would usually consist of eggs on toast, fruit with pastries or Greek yoghurt with fruit. Once the sun no longer faced the balcony I would then head down to the pool for the rest of the morning where the sun would still be shining. On this particular day, after breakfast, we headed into the local town where they had a market by the harbor which had some great gifts that you could buy for friends or family members. However, I would say that the prices weren’t that cheap so I would try and bargain with the stall owners if you are any good at that! (I am useless at that and I don’t particularly like doing it either). After having a good look around the harbor and at the market we then headed on into the center of town.
The town itself was really small which meant that you could easily explore the whole of it in one day. I would say it has a mixed feeling of being touristy but also there were a lot of locals too which made it feel quite authentic and Portuguese. The town itself is known for being a hot spot for British expats who have moved there for a better life. I would say that most of the British expats have lived there for a long time so they could speak fluent Portuguese and looked like they fitted in well. We had a look at all of the boutique shops which had a lot of sales on as well as the more well-known branded shops. I managed to pick up a few gifts for family and friends as I always like to bring something back from my travels for them.
It was a lovely day, as we didn’t have to rush back for anything so we slowly strolled from shop to shop and even stopped for a pizza and beer (I had a diet coke). We then headed back to the apartment late afternoon via Aldi where we picked up chicken to cook and some salad which we ate back at the apartment. That evening, we decided to have a night in as we were all tired from the heat and we knew that the night after would be a big one as it was my birthday and we had already planned to go out that evening.
The second to last day was my 23rd birthday! I had decided that this year I would have birthday balloons as I have always wanted to but never seem to get around to it. I must say that it is really hard to take photos with them as I could just about hold both. I wanted to spend my birthday on the beach and by the pool and completely relax for the whole day which is exactly what I did. I spent the morning by the pool and then we headed to the beach which was a 10-minute walk away but seemed like 2o-minutes as it was about 35 degrees. Portugal is well known for its beaches as they are sandy but very beautiful however, the water is always freezing. The beach was a lot of fun but we didn’t spend long there as it was very exposed which meant that there was no shade unless you paid for a sunlounger. However, I always feel like a day at the beach really tops up your tan and it was a great idea to go down there the day before we flew home. We then came home in the afternoon and all took naps before we had to get ready and go out for dinner.
In the evening, we all got dressed up and headed back down to the beach where we had a birthday dinner on the beach. The restaurant we went to was a seafood one so I decided to have calamari for starters and then clams for mains. The staff at the restaurant were so lovely as they also made me a cake and wrote “Happy Birthday” on it which was really sweet, however, they spelled my name wrong which actually made me laugh. We then went back to the apartment and watched a movie before going to bed as the next day we were heading home.
The last day was spent by the pool as we weren’t flying back until the evening which meant that we had the whole day to rest and relax before heading to the airport. We left the apartment around 3:00 pm to get the airport for 4:00 pm as our flight was at 7:00 pm but Faro airport is quite small so we didn’t necessarily need to be there loads of hours before. Once we got to the airport we dropped the rental car off, checked in and then headed through security where we had about an hour to wait until our flight was boarding. The flight wasn’t too bad as it was just under 3 hours I believe which meant that we were back in the UK around 10:00 pm, however, our flight was a bit delayed so we weren’t back at my Nan’s until midnight. It didn’t matter too much that we were back late as we didn’t have any plans for the next day except relaxing and then coming back to central London where I live. The trip overall was so relaxing and just what I needed at that moment in time. I absolutely love Portugal and I can’t wait to go back there and spend all day at the beach.