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Getting Back

The Rocky Algarve

To say that it once again took us one and a half hours to cover the 2 kilometers between Praia de Rocha and Portimao is to drastically understate the situation. I think the frustrating part was that we covered three quarters of the distance almost unproblematically, like, oh yes, so this is the road. We got literally within a very few blocks of our goal several times.

Blocks. Here is a theme. There are no blocks in Portugal. The concept does not apply. Also, all the streets were one-way, unbelievably, the same way: away from our hotel. It sounds like an exaggeration. It is not. A cyclone? A whirlpool? A giant roundabout, perhaps, a traffic concept that we barely grasped in our entire visit. A storm, and our shabby little Residential Pimenta was the eye of it. Not that we didn't have a map. We did. And when all was said and done, it was an accurate map (though we'd have sworn otherwise at points). We were both very angry.

Craig wanted to return to the beautiful, the beckoning, Hotel Bel Vista and pay for both rooms. He said that, even leaving now for Praia de Rocha, we'd get there sooner than we'd find our hotel. I stood fast. I was stubborn now. Having paid $23 and one and a half hours for this lousy room, I would not abandon it. Craig said he would go to a farmacia and get a ball of string, tie it to the bumper and -- the plan was sketchy from there.

We parked, finally, and crept, inched our way, with the map, with an intermediate stop (we moved the car a few blocks after carefully scouting every foot in advance, on foot). We asked residents, respectable-looking ones, where the Tourismo was (it was, as it turned out, a block away). They didn't know. I say a block. This was our first lesson. There are no blocks. Or rather, there are not streets, only blocks. The names (of streets, we imagined, in our innocence) are really the names of blocks, or maybe people, medieval people, long dead, their names inexplicably posted in stone on "street" corners.

Craig navigated by the moon and stars, I slaved over the map and streets. Together, we were hopelessly lost for hours in a space of ten square blocks. It was all we did that night, except to grope our way, in the end, to the restaurant where we had such a nice lunch and discover...sardine pate and white porto!!!

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Sintra and Setubal
South to Portimao
Praia de Rocha
Getting Back
Faro and Albufiera
The Blue Arrows
The Walled City
The Temple of Diana
Lost in Evora
Wet in Lisbon
Back in Lisbon
To Madeira and Home