Buddy’s Restaurant, Albufeira, Algarve, October 2017

Albufeira, the Skegness of the Algarve. As you approach the area, you come through lovely countryside, and some nice old buildings. This soon deteriorates as you get to a tribute version of any tacky English seaside town, somewhere where they sport “kiss me quick” hats etc.

Before tourism and package holidays exploded into life in the 1950s and 1960s, farmers who owned areas of land away from the coast where the people with the money in this area. Land by the coast wasn’t viable for farming, so wasn’t worth a lot. When holiday resorts and hotel complexes came knocking, the landowners by the coast were suddenly sitting on a goldmine, and they were the people with the money.

Goodbye characterful area, hello to identikit hotels with pools surrounded by sunbeds, and pubs serving a full English breakfast all day every day. That’s not really what I want when I’m going on holiday, I want something that is different to what I can find at home.

This is the dichotomy of Albufeira. Keep things like they were, and nowhere near as much tourist trade comes your way. Ruin your town, and your local economy produces enough money to support your population. A tough call.

A very philosophical start to a quick blog post about a club sandwich and some chips, in one of those aforementioned bars which doesn’t appear to have anything reflective of local culture. Maybe the token olive on a cocktail stick feels slightly local, but I don’t think the Portugese nation was built on chips, sliced white and club sandwiches.

This was essentially fodder for the rest of the day, nothing special, just enough to fill a hole.

If you’re coming to the Algarve, don’t come to Albufeira.

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