Well, we had a fantastic vacation. I've posted some of the digital pics on my Picasa page--I tried to pick just the highlights out of the 220 + that we took. Eventually, I'll get around to developing the Lomo and fisheye films and I'll post those, too, assuming that they come out OK. Fingers crossed!
This was a real, honest to goodness vacation, possibly the longest I've ever taken. Seven full days of lounging in the sun, horseplay in the pool, driving on crazy Portuguese country roads, castles, beaches, fortresses, and salted cod. After spending time in Silves, Lagos, Portimao, Albufiera and Armacao de Pera, we decided that we liked Praia da Rocha best. It was one of the first resort towns in the Algarve, back in the 1930's, and retains a definite air of fancy old time-yness that's only slightly detracted by all of the pasty Irish and English tourists in their flip flops and vacation hats. At first, I scoffed at the coffee bar set in the old ruins of a fortress, but it really was quite awesome. The Portuguese were very friendly and accommodating, and they were very helpful when we tried to find something on the menu besides grilled sardines and twelve varieties of pork.
The sun was quite intense, and when there were clouds in the sky, they were the huge, cottony, towering kind that we never see in San Francisco. (I'm not sure what kind of clouds we see in Dublin because it's too hard to differentiate the clouds from the grey sky behind them.) The ocean water on the beaches was cool and refreshing, an obvious draw for the hundreds of sun bathers. Nearly every little beach had a bead bar, too--a great place to watch the waves and enjoy a tall, cold Super Bock, the national beer of Portugal.
Being able to go to places like Portugal was a big draw when we talked about moving to Dublin. The whole time we were there, I never stopped thinking about how amazing this whole experience is and how dang lucky we are to be here for this time. I'm so glad we're taking advantage of our location--in the next 6 weeks, we'll be going to Italy, London and Brussels for long weekends. Sure, it's no Disneyland, but you won't catch me complaining anytime soon. Not even about the weather. Really.