Yesterday, All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away

October 17, 2005
Wishing you a very happy birthday Lydia!
I arrived in Gatwick this morning at about 6:30 and didn't even have to change terminals for my flight to Faro in the Algarve. I quickly dashed into the British airways lounge to send Markus a quick email to let him know that I was going to make my connecting flight (I only had an hour to connect). By the time I sent the email, my flight was boarding. It appeared as if we were going to leave on time, but once the flight was fully boarded, the pilot announced that all flights had been grounded due to heavy fog. Our push-back was delayed for 45 minutes and then we spent another 30 minutes in the queue to take off. We also had a fairly strong head wind so in the end, we were an hour and 20 minutes late arriving in Faro. And, naturally, my bag was nearly the last one off! I collected it as quickly as I could and then got stopped briefly coming through customs. Bags that are checked in for EU flights have a green stripe on the luggage tag - since I checked my bag in Orlando, the tag did not have a green stripe. Once I told the customs officer that I originated in Florida in the USA and that I was in Portugal on holiday, she let me through. Finally, I emerged to find Markus. I had missed him so much and was so excited to be back with him.

Welcome to the AlgarveWe took a taxi from the airport to the condo. Initially, the driver misunderstood the destination - he thought we wanted Armacao de Faro. Luckily, after about 5 minutes, Markus realized that we were going the wrong way. He got the driver back on track and about 30 minutes later, we arrived at Clube Nautical. Markus went out for a few groceries and I had a quick shower. We had some lunch and sat around talking for a couple of hours. At about 3:00, I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and I had to lay down for a nap. I got up around 5:00 and we went out for a walk into town. It was pretty cloudy all day, but it had cleared quite a bit by the evening and the sunset was glorious. It seemed a lovely welcome to Portugal.

October 18, 2005
Happy Birthday to my Markus, my soul mate - I will love you always.
View from CondoEast View from CondoI was completely wiped out by my travels and slept until 11:00 this morning. When I finally woke though, the day was just perfect - blue skies with wispy white clouds. We sat outside just about all day. Kerstin Hausermann, the owner of the condo came by and we chatted with her for a while. She and her husband own 4 units here at Clube Nautical - they are here for a month basically closing up the condos for the winter season.

We walked down to the beach for a short stroll. There were a few people that were brave enough to get in the water (mostly kids), but I put my feet in once and it was absolutely icy! Once was enough for me.

Mark wanted a home cooked meal for his birthday, so we walked into town for ingredients. I made a Mexican chicken with pasta - we sat outside on the patio to eat and enjoyed the stunning sunset.

Just 20 steps from our patioBeach and Cliff ViewOctober 19, 2005 and October 20, 2005
Another two nearly perfect days (just a tiny bit of clouds and rain on Thursday) spent much the same way - sitting outside, walking the beach, reading, relaxing, etc. Our patio is really just a perfect spot as we can watch the boats on the sea and we can hear the surf rolling in and out. It's so calming.

We have now started to think about the next stop on our trip, which will be Spain, so we have also walked to the internet cafe a couple of times for research and to make hotel and flight reservations. Also, from the Internet cafe, I was able to get in touch with LRG today and I am very upset to say that I am on Odyssey Re's witness list for the arbitration hearing. So, it is looking like I will be back in beautiful Stamford, Connecticut for a week in November. I would have found this dilemma a bit more palatable if LRG were requesting my testimony, but to have our adventure interrupted yet again at the bequest of the opponent is what truly upsets me. But, enough about that.

Fishing by the CliffsA glorious end of dayOctober 21, 2005
Today was our last full day in the Algarve and it didn't start out very nicely from a weather perspective. So, I did quite a bit of work for LRG and by the time I was finished in late afternoon, the sky had cleared and the sun was shining.

We went back to the internet cafe to do some more research on getting from Portugal to Italy, which is next on our agenda. Unfortunately, we still haven't come up with any good options so we reserved a car from Avis and booked a hotel in Marbella, Spain on the Costa del Sol for a couple of nights. We'll get something sorted out soon, I'm sure!

After our walk into town, we came back to the condo and enjoyed another gorgeous sunset. We have both really enjoyed Portugal and will be sorry to leave tomorrow. The Portuguese are so calm and laid back - it really is a joy to be among them.