Carmel’s sister Mary and her husband Brian very sensibly chose a warm climate for their wedding. After a previous holiday in Albufeira in the Algave, Portgual they both decided that there would be a significantly more pleasant and sunny place to get married in than the relevant places in Ireland.
Our hotel was the Hotel Vila Galé Cerro Alagoa in the centre the large-ish Albufeira area, about 10 mins from the old town and 10 mins from the new strip. The hotel wasn’t bad quality at all – but they made you pay for the extras – e.g. 15 mins of internet was a few Euro. The worst was the gym which I felt obliged to use to keep up my fitness for rowing – €7.50 to use an old bike and a running machine in a room without air conditioning. The sweat was dripping off me before I had started.
Here’s a photo of Carmel by the hotel pool one evening.
The resort of Albufeira is overrun by the Brits and the Irish, about 50:50. There were a few Germans who set the precedent of laying towels on the sunbeds before breakfast. This of course meant that we never got to use a sunbed for the duration of the holiday as we were never up early enough to beat the Germans.
It was possible to find some quieter spots away from the sunburnt and overweight tourists, and the views were really nice.
In particular, one good quiet stretch is the cliff walk from Montechoro strip to the old town harbour. The path takes you above some rocky inlets and is quite void of British/Irish accents. In this photo, the path narrows and has collapsed a little as it leads past some fairly vicious rocks down below next to the crashing waves.
The new harbour in Albufeira is quite pretty. Everything looks very new and it is clearly an area being developed, but with the yachts and harbour cafes it was a perfectly pleasant place to have a drink.
The big event was of course the wedding. This took place on Tue 30 June in San Sebastiao church in Boliqueime – about 15 mins from Albufeira. The church kindly agreed to allow the wedding party to import their own Irish priest (a friend of the groom), so the service was in English.
After the wedding service we headed outside and found a local bar that sold bottles of beer for a single euro. This seemed a bargain to the masses who had been used to the 5 euros or more charged in Albufeira. It also seemed to suit the cafe owner who sold more beers in 45 mins than he had possibly sold that year.
The reception was held at xxx along the coast to the west of Albufeira. The hotel was pretty amazing – one of the poshest I have visited. The reception drinks and meal were staged in a tree shaded area above the cliffs overlooking the sea. It was really quite a spectacular setting. I was the informal camera man whose job it was to make sure there were a backup set of photos should something terrible happen to the paid-for photographer. This was good fun until I’d had a few drinks and then turned into a bit of a drag. I can see why wedding photographers generally stay sober.
The wedding was a great day, and the location in the Algarve meant we turned the trip into a short holiday. It was a really good few days and the weather was perfect.
The map below shows our walk on the first day from the hotel up to Montechoro, down the strip and then along the cliffs to the harbour. My phone crashed at that point so no more of the walk was recorded, but we did complete the walk by trekking back to our hotel.
Duration 2:27 hours
Distance 7.8 miles
Path (Google Earth)