Winter in the Algarve

2020… as far as travel goes, you’ve been pretty horrible. I had originally planned to return back home to San Francisco in March for 2 weeks to see friends and family. Unfortunately, thanks to COVID, 2 weeks turned into 3 months. After 4 flight cancellations, we finally found a flight back to France in mid-June. (A short aside: I know United gets a bad rap a lot of times, but with all of the COVID mess, of the 6 agents we dealt with, both in person at the airport and over the phone, 5 were super sympathetic and helpful. The last 2 agents even upgraded us to Economy Premium and checked all of our extra bags for free!)

Although we’re very happy to be back in the land of baguettes and croissants, it’s still very hard to get in the spirit of travel when all of our travel plans for 2020 have been cancelled. But I’m choosing to take this travel-free time to go back to the archives and catch up on editing my photos from previous holidays.

When COVID was still a disease we thought was on the other side of the world, early in February of this year (almost one year ago!!!), we continued our trip from Seville to the Algarve region of Portugal. Sunny towns and beaches awaited us, which was a welcome change from the cold, cloudy skies of France. Our friends, who were living just across the border in Spain at the time, served as our tour guides to give us just a taste into this beautiful region.

Vila Real de Santo António

Our first stop was to this cute little port town of Vila Real de Santo António. It was nice to take a walk along the port and stare at Spain right on the other side. Shopping and cute cafés made this a nice little stop to begin our time in Portugal.

Something you don’t normally see during a French winter… sun and blue skies!!!!
Pasteis de Nata (an egg custard tart), one of my favorite Portuguese desserts.
This café also had plenty of other delicious desserts.
What’s the best way to work off a sugar-overloaded breakfast? By a walk along the port. I love the distinctiveness of the tile sidewalks, something that reminds me also of the sidewalks in Brazil.


Our next step was the adorably quaint town of Tavira. Tavira is an old town, aging about 3000 years. Its multicultural influences stem from its history under Roman and Moorish rule. Today, this small town is a nice place to walk around, get lost and explore its unique architecture.

Tavira sits on both sides of the River Gilão
Overlooking Tavira from the ruins of its castle
Clock tower of the Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo, a 13th century church
Beautiful flowers growing among the castle ruins (in February!)
These tiled exterior walls are one of my favorite things about Portugal


We saved the best for last. Our friends made sure that we got to see beautiful Algarve coast right before sunset. It definitely wasn’t warm enough to do any swimming, but that made for peaceful, secluded beaches.

Oh, to be able to go back to times when we didn’t have to be socially distant…

It really is amazing to think about how things can change so quickly in a year. In a year that’s been so terrible with so much loss, it’s comforting to think about what we do have – great friendships, beautiful sights and awesome memories. That will just have to tie me over until it’s safe to travel again…

Until next time,


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One response to “Winter in the Algarve

  1. Pingback: Visiting the Loire Valley during a Pandemic | Je Parle Franglais·

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