Our hotel's breakfast started at 7 a.m. so we were all washed and combed and ready to eat by the time they were ready to serve. We walked across the lovely little courtyard to the breakfast room.
|Family with fountain|
|The fountain didn't run but it was swimming with fish|
The breakfast was the typical continental breakfast: rolls, cold cuts, slices of cheese, a couple of cereals, coffee, tea, juice. The juice was exceptional because it was fresh-squeezed (or so the containers said) and the choice was orange juice or passion fruit juice. I've never seen passion fruit juice offered anywhere, let alone fresh squeezed for breakfast.
We had a leisurely meal. The kids ran around but that was fine because no other guests had come in yet. We chatted about plans for the day. Our primary objective was to find peanut butter and see some sights.
The front desk told us where a large grocery store was. A playground was near to it which was a plus for the kids. The walk was about thee-quarters of a mile, not too far for the kids under normal conditions. Unfortunately, Lucy was fighting a cold which meant she didn't want to walk. We eventually made it all the way. The playground came before the shopping center, so we stopped there first.
|Approaching the happiest of all possible tourist destinations|
|Short climb to a quick slide|
|Lucy plays restaurant|
Across the street was Forum Algarve, where the promised grocery was located. It looked like it would be a big store.
|Even the mall has a bell tower!|
|This is a sign for a supermarket, not a zoo|
Walking over we discovered a large, elaborate water fountain that was not running and a lesser playground.
|We saw "no climbing" signs on this...work of art? We did see spouts.|
|Pretty disappointing after what they had across the street|
After a little fun, we headed into the store, which was indeed jumbo as the sign outside indicated. We found peanut butter and bought some other snacks and food for a picnic lunch. Also, a friend asked us to buy a bottle of white port (a dessert wine) which is only available in Portugal. We bought that too. Little did we know the doom that was to come to the bottle.
Outside, we found a more traditional and much larger water fountain and had a snack there. A couple of coffee shops dotted the perimeter. I walked to one to get a hot and tasty drink. Not being a coffee drinker, that left basically two options: tea and hot chocolate. I was feeling a little adventurous and asked for what looked like hot chocolate on the menu. The guy gave me a mug. Then he took a bottle of chocolate milk, took the lid off, and stuck that stick baristas use to steam milk into it. He took it off soon and handed me the bottle. You'd think that would be a bad idea, but the bottle was barely warm enough to notice. I went back to where my wife and children were enjoying their snack and shared my drink with my wife. I also shared an apology. It was lukewarm and not very chocolaty.
The kids decided to explore, so we tried out the outdoor escalators that went up to the second floor. More exciting were the escalators that went down to the garage. We took some pictures from above of explorers down below:
|A lovely and relaxing spot with plenty of sunshine|
|Lucy, Daddy, and Jacob underwater (sort of)|
Now that we were tired out and had a bunch of heavy groceries to shlep back to the hotel, we splurged on a cab to take us back for a picnic lunch by the hotel's fountain and nap time in our room. Nap time meant time for me to explore after lunch on my own, and I did see quite a few things and do a little geocaching, which we'll describe in the next blog.