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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Portugal | Vale Do Lobo | Day 1


There are no perks to waking up at 3:45am. None at all. 
Rushing to get last minute bits packs and ensure the bag weight was under 20kg makes the 45 minutes before leaving for the airport the most stressful. When you finally are ready to go, you always get that "I'm sure I've forgotten something" feeling in your stomach. I had that, but I was so tired I just didn't care! 
Driving to Stanstead Airport was fine. It's a half hour drive from where I live and very straight forward. A little hiccup with which car park we were supposed to be in, but that's it.
 We got to the airport at around 5:10am and went straight to bag drop. Oh. My. Lord. There were a lot of people. It was anarchy. A free for all. No one knew how to queue and people were pushing in left, right and centre. 
Some poor airport attendant was trying and failing to create order amongst the 5 flights trying to check in on a row of 3 desks. This took us an hour, a lot of hassle and ended up changing queues, but got there in the end!
By this time, our flight was on final call and we had to RUN to security. Even after being told we'd be let through priority boarding no problem as we had 10 mins before our gate closed, the woman refused to let us through unless we paid. Absolutely ridiculous.. £10 down the drain!
My original plan was to get through security and browse the shops for a bit and then go and sit in the First Class Lounge called Escape that I had access to... but alas.. No time to stop and even try out and buy duty free perfumes, chocolates or make up, or even get some breakfast.. We actually had to run to the gate! And I hate running..
After we got there, it was all pretty seamless. Thank the Lord we had reserved seats on our Ryanair flight! 

Although.. some parents with twin babies were sitting in front of us, along with some older ladies who were ordering vodkas (at 7am!!!), and I was flying with two people that hate flying, so maybe no so much.... my first thought was "can this morning really get any worse?!" But actually it was fine. The three hour flight to Algarve, Portugal was actually quite pleasant, and not a peep out of the babies! The landing was a bit questionable though. I genuinely thought I was going to die. No round of applause for him! 



Vale do Lobo Golf and Country Club Resort

About a 20 minute drive away, the scenery changed quite dramatically from sparse buildings and run down sheds to lush greenery and well manicured lawns. This place is stunning! 
We drove up to the golf club and main entrance first to check in. I felt like a celebrity walking around the marble and glass building that overlooked the 18 hole golf course by the beach. After we were given our keys, we headed over to our new home for the week; 3 king bedrooms, one with en-suite, fully equipped kitchen, open plan living and dining room, a balcony and a terraced garden with bbq and swimming pool. I could get used to this. 


Dunas Douranas Beach Club

After unpacking it was time for lunch so headed down to the 5* Dunas Douranas Beach Club by the sea front. There was a charity event being held there, so a buffet was on offer, however, we all went for the light option of a Caesar Salad. Pudding however was a different story... On the buffet was jelly and profiteroles. Life made. I had two wisdom teeth out 2 days before flying, so jelly was a welcoming texture! 
Now.. I've made the same mistake numerous times abroad.. I'm a very regular Diet Coke drinker right.. And every time I come abroad I'm fooled by the very similar can/bottle design of coca cola light. But no. The taste is so different, I had to remind myself that Coke Zero is more like the Diet equivalent abroad. *must not make that mistake again!!* I cannot have any alcohol until day 4 because of my antibiotics, so I'm holding out for a beaut of a cocktail. But up until then.. Coke Zero will do.
Before heading back, we stopped at the beach for a quick peak of what we had to enjoy for the next 7 days. Oh my god. It was beautiful. Down a wooden pathway and over a sand dune, it felt like I'd been transported to the Caribbean! Beautiful blue sea, blue skies and white sand. Just heavenly!  But not to be enjoyed today. Tomorrow maybe.

On our way back we stopped off at Vale Do Lobo Tennis Club for an ice lolly and a look at the facilities. A nice decent sized pool, plenty of loungers and a cheap place to eat if you're looking for "snackky" food. You can use the pool for €5, which can then be used against the cost of food.. No use if you just want to use the pool but good value otherwise. They also have a very small gym there with cardio equipment and hammam and massage treatments for reasonable prices. This was probably the cheapest I've seen around the resorts in Algarve.
 Back at our villa, it's time to test to pool. It's heated!!! :O Perfect for a dip in the evening and still cool enough for it to be refreshing in the heat. Changing into my F&F bikini I had to alter to fit me, I noticed my tan lines.. Well actually they were burn lines. I'm gutted. I rarely burn! We must have been out in the sun for no longer than an hour or two and I'd gotten really distinct red burns across my upper back and shoulders. At least this happened now and not the end of the holiday. There's still time to correct it! Out comes the 20SPF and aftersun for the burns and the 8SPF tanning oils to even myself out! 
 Quick trip to the local Lidl for food supplies, dinner, then bed. Quick pre-bed routine of my Impulse acne treatment 3 step cleanse to clear my skin, aftersun for my burns and salt water rinse for my healing wisdom-toothless gums. Tomorrow is another day. I actually can't wait! 
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