“What if this is the last time I’m here?”
It’s a thought that hadn’t really struck me so hard before. But as I stood on the cliff overlooking the spectactular coastline of the Algarve region of Portugal, it became very clear to me that I would probably never stand in this spot again.
There’s a big, wide world out there with many miles to travel and many beaches to look upon, and this was very likely my only opportunity to look at this one.
So I savored it. And then I tweaked my travel plans so I could take the long road to Lisbon – a drive that would take two days instead of just a few hours. Snaking along the coastline, pulling into little villages, and absolutely enraptured by the history and charm of old Portugal.
The only thing we can’t buy more of is time.
Portugal… what a place to spend time! After the initial anxiety of not knowing the language and not being able to read menus or road signs, things sort of worked themselves out thanks to Google Maps and Google Translate and just being okay with guessing sometimes and seeing what happens.
It was the perfect place to go slow. I was still off the water after my leg injury, so being able to just walk around the city, enjoy the good vibes at the kite spots, and eat and drink and explore to my heart’s content made this the perfect little getaway.
Some moments to remember…
Choosing the road less traveled.
Highways in Portugal are not so interesting, so taking every opportunity to hug the coastline and drive through local villages was unforgettable. Driving along the coast, I spotted kites in the sky and stumbled upon this magical little kite spot in Carrapateira. The Bordeira Beach Bar was this surprising oasis in what looked like a desert surrounded by cliffs with kiters ripping in the tumbling waves. Sitting here on this spot – purely by chance – had me feeling like I was on the right path.
Reconnecting with a kindred spirit.
The people you meet kiteboarding tend to come in and out of your life without any planning or expectation. And when they do? It’s magic. One of the friends I made in my first year of kiting was only a short flight away from Lisbon, and being able to share these experiences with somene I’d shared so many special moments with around the world was an unexpected surprise.
Just going with it.
I can’t tell you how many times I found myself sitting in a restaurant and staring at a menu with absolutley no idea what I was looking at. Luckily, the most unassuming food spots are very affordable, and just ordering blindly is almost always worth the risk! Some of the best foods I had I still couldn’t name, but that’s half the fun, isn’t it?
All of these little adventures were unplanned, and all it took was a little time and an open mind.
I probably won’t stand on that cliff again, but I won’t forget the moment I did. And after the time I spent exploring Portugal the first time, I’ve discovered one of my favourite destinations that I will be returning to in a couple short weeks.
I hope you get the opportunity to visit this wonderful country someday soon. Feel free to reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram!if you have any questions about travel to Portugal. For the kiters out there, check out our video at MACkite highlighting kite spots near Lisbon!