Letter From the Algarve

The Algarve, as they call this southern part of Portugal, is surprisingly different from Andalucia in southern Spain. In contrast to the former’s stark, whitewashed villages, Portuguese houses are mostly painted in multi-hued pastels along with brightly colored shutters and woodwork. Bright green fields interspersed with patches of red earth, too, are a pleasant change from the rigorous austerity of Andalucia. And now, after all the fine beaches we have been camping on as of late, we have finally managed to work our way down the southwest coast of the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Cape San Vicente, the southwest tip of the European continent.

How incredibly fortunate we are, Zerky, to have the time and money to make such a wonderful trip, and oh how we wish you were old enough to remember all of it. These letters and photographs should help.

Our trip is going marvelously. We keep asking ourselves where and when will it end?

Tonight we are staying in a campground on the outskirts of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This campground just south of Lisbon is as elaborate as it is immense. It is virtually a town of its own that can accommodate more than a thousand campers. It has its own restaurant, bar, store, laundry, barbershop, swimming pool, and even a post office. We spent our first hour here just driving around the campground, looking for a secluded spot with a little privacy. We finally found a place up on a hill in the far corner of the campground. Our camp spot is heavily wooded and is just a few minutes’ walk from the nearest toilet. Why is it that people in camp grounds cluster around toilets like bees around honey?

—Excerpted from “Letters to Zerky.”


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