Seriously, they were eating my parents’ feet, munching vigorously on their skin.
But how? Let’s go back to the beginning.
Still pleasantly shocked from the Glee Mafia Taxi after they dropped me off in Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal, I strode up to the reception of the Vale d’El Rei Hotel to book myself in for a long stay here. I was here for my neighbour’s wedding in a few days time and it was going to be a family affair. That’s right, my parents were in the same hotel. Flying themselves here on their own, they had stayed for a few days while I was in Gorgeous Madrid and Depressing Lisbon.
But fear not, they’ve been here and ready to tell me where they’ve been so far. You could say that I’m quite the travel child of adventurous parents. Dad’s been on the other side of the globe in Australia and Africa such as Kenya, and also around Europe camping with his Venture Scout Group (the million stories he always repeats back to me!). Mum’s also been on the other side of the world to South Africa and in Europe coaching around. For their honeymoon, they didn’t pick a standard beach place, they decided to go mountaineering in Switzerland and Italy!
But all that stopped when I was born late in their lives so since then, they have restricted themselves to holidays abroad on many an island in the Mediterranean Sea or Atlantic Sea. So, now it was the first time in very a long time that they travelled to the Continent.
After I checked in, they suddenly appeared out of nowhere to greet me. It was good to see them. Even if it was Mum going back to ‘mummy‘ mode and making sure I’ve been well fed. Dragging me to the poolside, I wandered around the Hotel. It was absolutely posh and the service awesome. I wasn’t used to a waiter appearing at my side like a stealthy cat and asking what beverage I wanted. On the poolside, all of us planned what we would do – I dared Dad to go into the freezing pool but he said he would think about it…
So here’s what we did.
Tanning By The Poolside
Usually, you would hear cross sounds from me. This is a major no-no for the adventurous backpacker. But I didn’t care, I was now officially on a family holiday taking in a posh wedding, and I’ve suffered Lisbon. I need my beauty laze. Normally, I couldn’t spend more than half a day on a week holiday on a foreign holiday just lying around in the hotel grounds and feeling the sun on my blistering skin. There’s so much to see and experience.
But I do have to admit that this was an awesome poolside experience. The Hotel was in the middle of nowhere so we were in the right place to capture picturesque landscapes, a quiet area that you wouldn’t be disturbed, the sun was powerful and hot but just right and you could sip Caipirinhas. Oh, I suppose you could have swam in the freezing pool if you were brave enough.
The Hotel was pretty outstanding, I thought. My room was luxury personified. Check out the pics of the Poolside 🙂
An Evening in Lagos (after a Really Expensive Taxi)
Both my parents and I were invited to spend an evening with the brides’ family the night before the wedding. Seeing as a good opportunity to meet people, we opted to do so and left the planning to my mother. It’s sometimes best to leave details with Mum because if you do the planning yourself, she will harness her complete nagging power and hound you with incessant questions. So, I considered it a coup that she would plan herself. Wrong! She ended up booking a taxi for the wrong destination….to the wedding venue to be precise, NOT the villa the bride was staying at.
The taxis here aren’t exactly cheap.
Embarrassed, Mum meekly handed over the planning to me. Finding out the bridal party was on the OTHER side of the Algarve, Dad simply bit his lip and paid for the not-so-cheap taxi to Lagoa after a 45 minute journey.
But I do have to admit that the Lagoa coast is absolutely beautiful, particularly at their villa. Everyone pretty much raves about the place. The eye watering cliff drops to splendid beaches, the low-key houses clinging onto rugged outcrops and the local restaurants serving up fish delights. I just hope that foreign investment and tourism doesn’t ruin the ‘feel’ of the place.
But it was time to go back. Thanks to my neighbours for hosting us and giving us plenty to drink!
Of course, at the end after another long and expensive taxi journey back, Dad claimed he needed another drink to cope with his wallet being lighter 😀
The Algarve Wedding
Check out the post here to find out what we got up to at the wedding!
Eating in Carvoeiro
In this small fishing town, you can find absolutely lots to do to whittle the day away. But the biggest trick is to eat in Carvoeiro at the local restaurants there. The fish kind. Both my father and I share a passionate love for seafood. We just absolutely inhale it! Prawns, Octopus, White Fish, Shellfish heck even dried seaweed.. that reminds me of a joke:
‘Why did the ocean blush? Because the seaweed.’
There’s nothing better than eating seafood in Carvoeiro! Wait…
Caiprinihas in Carvoeiro
After finding my signature drink in Portuguese Brazil, specifically within a few hours of crossing the border from Argentina, I knew that this beverage would be my favourite thing to come with anything Portuguese.
So I was pretty amazed that I didn’t even have one when I first arrived in Lisbon. I had to wait 3 days!
Grab a seat by the promenade leading up to the beach, cool off under the shade of the straw umbrellas and order a Caipirinha to enjoy drinking. It’s rather like the lynx effect, as soon you take a sip, all the fit people come running around you. Sadly, there was no Amy Pond, my mum would have made sure of it.
I also managed to introduce my Mum to proper Caipirinhas. I tried making some at home after Brazil but could never get it right. As I’m my mother’s son, do you think she enjoyed Caipirinhas? Of course she did!
But many drinks were had. I just wanted to say that no Caipirinhas were harmed during our stay.
Carvoeiro has one of the most stunning and yet quietest beaches. Most people holidaying it in the Algarve opt to sunbathe their bodies in Abufeira or Lagos so you are constantly fighting for previous space to get sand wedged up your bum.
Small and hidden in a rocky bay, Carvoeiro Beach is the best place to go for exploration and crab fishing. At low tide, the cliff bases reveals large rock pools for families to frolic and poke around. Beware of extremely large crabs and posing Rexys.
The Beach is well-regulated and clean. The Lifeguards look out for us lot and it’s a pretty cool vibe to hang out and watch the local fishermen get their boats ready.
Shopping in Carvoeiro
Carvoeiro doesn’t exactly boast a raging metropolis. It’s a small, sleepy fishing town so don’t expect to look for top of the range on the fashion walks here. However, it’s a useful place to find some pretty nifty fabric. Mum, complaining her head was slowly roasting and she wanted a loose-fitting poncho like dress, we decided to go shopping down the 3 main streets of the town.
Most of the shops seem to be run by Indians, which was surprising as I’m not aware of any Portuguese-Indian relations. They were charming, attentive and even ‘got’ my mother’s roundabout way of what she wanted. She pleasingly left with a VERY large hat and a poncho Indian like dress. Of course, she looked fantastic in them. After all, I got her genes so it goes without saying that I should look great as well.
Fish Eating My Parents’ Feet
Okay, you were probably wondering when this was going to come up. During the holiday in the Algarve, I challenged my parents to do something different that they wouldn’t even dream of doing. So as we walked around Carvoeiro, my Mum spied a Fish Spa.
What’s a fish spa? It’s a spa with fish. I’m kidding, I’ll explain more. They use a special type of fish in tanks for you to submerge your feet into and guess what? They eat your feet. Or more rather, the dead skin off your feet creating baby soft skin. It’s actually great for people with corns, bunions and eczema.
Seeing Mum’s intrigued face, I convinced her to do it and amazingly, to my surprise, she did. Not only she got fish nibbling at her feet furiously for the full 15 minutes but also a leg massage which she fully enjoyed. She was truly converted to the fish spa.
Dad, however, wasn’t convinced. Pretending he wasn’t interested, I would catch him steal a glance at what was happening at my Mum’s feet. I knew he was intrigued. Both Mum and I tried to convince him but I suppose he didn’t want to compromise his ‘tough-guy’ image. But after the owner talked to him, he surprisingly decided to do one. Again, the fish nibbled on his feet. Tentatively, he enjoyed it but I’m not sure if he enjoyed the leg massage…
But they did try new activities and experiences and for that, I’m pleased.
Wait, why didn’t I get a fish spa experience? I was going to but the woman who massaged the legs kept talking to me in a ‘hello, how’s your father’ kind of way. In no way I would be relaxed, just awkward.
It’s a curse to have these ravishing good looks.