Some people don’t understand why I enjoy going on holiday with my parents. Perhaps they find the idea strange, this 27-year-old excitedly packing for a week in the sunshine. Maybe it is a bit odd that I look forward to 11am beers by the pool with my Dad, enjoying piri-piri chicken overlooking the sea with sister’s choice of sangria or sipping cocktails in a bar with my Mam. There is a familiarity about it, especially with Portugal. I remember aged seven being excited for my first proper holiday abroad, with new clothes to wear and a Barbie magazine to read on the plane. While I may have swapped matching dresses with my sister for bardot dresses and the Barbie magazine for Glamour, that excitement never goes away on a family holiday. The rush of the plane as it’s lifts you away from regular life into one where it is perfectly acceptable to drink cava for breakfast and snooze in the afternoon sun will always be magical.
I am under no illusion that I’m a lucky girl, my relationship with my parents and sister couldn’t be better and to still be able to travel with them in my late twenties is a dream. The way we gathered each evening for supermarket wine and nibbles on my parents balcony, pink and blue skies awash overhead made me so deliriously happy. Your family are your people, those that understand you the most – whether it’s my incessant need to document everything for my holiday video or my sister’s steely determination to work on Spanish translation when the sea was calling. I know my Dad will always choose the chocolate ice cream, that my Mam will need to hold a menu at arms length and my sister will be delighted by tiny jugs of sangria. Sometimes a week just isn’t enough time to reconnect together when we live such busy lives these days.
Alvor is a special place for us. It’s where we first travelled to as family twenty(!) years ago on a plane, my sister and I playing in a rubber dingy in the pool and singing karaoke in the village bar. As we wandered the cobbled streets, we noted the changes and the restaurants that stay the same. That beautiful sea in all hues of blue and the rock formations are reassuringly familiar and the piri piri chicken in the restaurant overlooking the beach is always delightfully the same. While I love to travel and explore new countries and hear new languages, there is an argument for relaxing in what can often feel like a home from home.
For the reason that this was a holiday to celebrate my father’s birthday (note the pink flamingo float gift), we mostly sunbathed, ate, swam, wandered into town, ate some more and drank a fair bit. We did do yoga on the beach one morning and tackled the gym, my parents both braving early morning runs on the deck, but for the most part we simply relaxed. And therefore there’s not much to entice you to travel there with restaurant recommendations and sights in this post, but trust me this is one pretty fishing village in the Algarve that is worth switching off in. And if that happens to be with your family, even better. I know my holiday wouldn’t have been made without mine.