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  • Writer's picture Jana

Beach-Bound at Last and a Sardine Museum Thrown in to Round out the day!

With the weather starting to improve, we decided to try our luck at a beach today. The morning's forecast was still a bit iffy, so we planned an alternative activity for the morning and slotted the beach for the afternoon. Since we (and most people) come to the Algarve for the beaches, it has been a bit frustrating to not be able to go.

We planned to spend our day in Portimao, which is about half hour up the coast from Lagos, where we are staying. We thought it would be fun to see a new town, visit the Museu de Portimao (which came highly recommended) and try a beach in that area. Portimao is a port city known for its old quarter, thriving marina and proximity to many beaches. The Museu de Portimao is housed in a restored 19th century sardine cannery which displays local history, amongst other things.

It was another fun-filled day in the Algarve.

The marina view in Portimao, was stunning, outside the museum.

The first part of the museum delves into local history of this fishing and shipbuilding center. Since the area dates back to pre-historic times, there were many relics on display dating back thousands of years.

The second part of the museum details how the building the museum is housed in was used as a sardine cannery, in the 19th century. They have a short documentary to view, explaining the entire fishing and canning process, which we found fascinating (who knew there were so many steps). There is original canning equipment to view as well as a wonderful assortment of vintage sardine cans.

The third and final part of the museum was a temporary installation called Eat and Art, tying food and art together through a multitude of mediums.

Speaking of eating, we we famished after our morning at the museum and had lunch in this locals-only restaurant, which really hit the spot.

And finally, it was off to the beach. We went to Praia de Alvor, in Portimao,which was recommended by my cousin Angela. Angela lives in Porto, Portugal, but has spent countless summers in the Algarve, visiting various beaches. She and her husband are currently vacationing in the Algarve as well, so we reach out to her daily, via text, for recommendations on beaches, activities, etc.

The weather was still not quite as warm as we would have liked (their was a significant breeze and the clouds kept passing over the sun, making it feel quite chilly). Nevertheless, we were so happy to finally be at the beach, that we made the best of it Praia de Alvor was a great choice for our first beach visit in the area.

On our way back to our apartment, we needed a few provisions. We discovered Inter-Marche, which is a Portuguese supermarket (a bit rare, given that there are still so many tiny authentic markets that locals frequent ). We decided Inter-Marche was a cross between Ralphs, Bristol Farms, and possibly even Costco (although no where near as big, overwhelming, or unattractive). We had the best time going up and down the aisles, checking out all the food and other interesting merchandise. The seafood section was a cultural experience unto itself. I even bought myself a a much-needed beach chair there.

After we got home, unpacked our beached stuff, showered, and changed to go out for the evening, we headed down to the local square where the kids had fun running through the fountain.

We opted for Indian food tonight, at a restaurant just a few doors up from our apartment. It was delicious!

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