Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rain, Rain, Rain

Not rain all day, but here and there, keeping temperatures cool and making the hotel beach out of the question. We are making the best of it though!

On Wednesday, we hung out at the indoor hotel pool which is big and roomy and has lots of families, so you don’t have to worry about your kids being too loud, splashing, etc. like at most other fancy hotel pools. After swimming, we needed to work on that DS Charger situation, so the concierge told us about a nearby shopping mall.

The mall was Fun! Lots of nice Euro stores - like a kids’ Zara (got Yamini some cute clothes) and an awesome food court -- everything from junky Burger King, Pizza Hut and KFC to crepes, salads, yogurt, etc. Matt and I had yummy Portuguese coffee. We did find the DS charger in the video game store, so the boys were back in business later that night! Our favorite store was Continente, just like Target, and we got some fun snacks there for the car and hotel.

For dinner, we drove to the small town of Paderne, where I read about a restaurant in a wine store, Veneza.

It was really beautiful and the Portuguese food we ordered (grilled prawns, lamb stew, pepper steak) was all excellent. The best part was that our server picked a reasonable bottle of wine for us (17 Euros) and it was so delicious. Because Matt was driving, I got to drink 2/3 of it myself!!

On Thursday, we drove 40 minutes in the direction of Spain to the town of Tavira, an old fishing village. There is a little island - Ilha de Tavira - with ferry service, so we decided to go there. The island is really a giant sandbar on the Atlantic with dunes and beaches. When we got to the island we learned that it was in the middle of an International Sports Festival, so there were hundreds and hundreds of college-age kids from Spain and a few other countries doing every type of sport you can imagine. Lots of them were drinking beer, but mainly they all looked healthy, friendly and in great shape as they danced, surfed, played futbol, volleyball, etc. After a ferry ride back to town, we walked around a little -- cute Portuguese style buildings, an old Roman Bridge.

At night, the kids wanted to order room service (chicken nuggets for all) and stay in the room and watch a movie, so Matt and I asked the concierge for the best restaurant within 5 minutes of the hotel to avoid eating a hotel dinner ourselves. He gave us a good recommendation, “Retiro Do Isca” which was a little empty when we arrived at 7:30, but soon filled up with happy people. We had some more vinho verde, fish soup, clams and shrimp and a platter full of lamb chops and roasted potatoes!

Today, Will and Matt’s tennis game was cancelled for weather conditions, so we are about to hit the indoor pool once again!

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