Month 1 : PORTUGAL
If anyone asks me, I will claim with all my chest that 2019 has only just begun, yet somehow we’ve found ourselves in the third month already! Now, the goal has forever been to travel and it seems this is one of the easiest goals to postpone, quit early or just ignore completely. For good reason as well! Travelling is not always the cheapest of hobbies and with the other goals we've set, alongside work, being a uni student and every other commitment, splurging money globetrotting is a big No No. Or at least it was.
As the self proclaimed Queen of Ballin on a Budget, I will be self demonstrating that not only is it possible, but it is completely worth it! Now, one of the major obstacles to worry about is time. Working full time (sandwich year student) makes finding time tricky. However, after a quick reflecting session, my many uneventful weekends answered that question; for the remainder of 2019, at least one weekend a month will be spent seeing this beautiful world God created.
My first month of Travel for the year ended up being February, but we’ll blame that on all the New Year hype of January. With winter in the UK getting painstakingly unbearable, I needed a destination which was at least in double digits when it came to temperature. Obvious pick is anywhere near home (Caribbean) but 17 hour flights...I think not; plus, there was that whole “we’re on a tight budget" thing to worry about. My mind then went to Spain, but I've already been, plus it's always packed with tourist and not the cheapest. So I decided on her next door neighbour: Portugal. Portugal’s climate is usually very friendly for most of the year, and with it being a summer destination, I’d get to avoid the influx of tourist by going in February. Going out of season also helped with getting unbelievably cheap plane tickets and hotel.
I wanted to use this first weekend to get my toes a bit wet. A relaxation weekend away from it all. Instead of going off to Lisbon and Porto and every other well known city in Portugal, I opted for the lesser known, quieter but so beautifully peaceful Lagos. I stayed at Carvi Beach Hotel which was literally right next to Praia Don Ana and I was awakened by the sunlight from the balcony on each of my two mornings. Trust me when I say, after leaving a cold climate, nothing feels better on your skin than sunlight. My melanin was overjoyed and grateful.
I booked a tour for my first day to go and see Monchique. Sadly, rain and fog didn’t like that idea. Luckily, my tour guide, a true local, came ready with an alternative and we set off to see some of the most breath-taking beaches and cliffs in the Algarve. Of course, I had to take photo or two (one picture never hurt anyone, and neither will a thousand).
Portugal being on the coast meant that they were famous for their seafood. Me, being an island girl from the Caribbean means that I can live on seafood alone and never complain. Take my word, Lagos gave me no excuse for that to change. Finally I got to have my first octopus! It's definitely going to be my new obsession.
Portugal, as I learned is also known for their fresh oranges so I was able to enjoy the freshest of orange squeeze!
All in all, this town captured my heart and I will definitely be making my way back in the future.