A digital nomad review of Praia da Luz (July 2021)

A brief recap: Since arriving at Ocean Villas Luz in August 2020, our resident blogger/writer David Lugg has been experiencing all aspects of Luz Life. This is his July review:

There is a certain amount of romanticism about stepping barefoot onto a sandy beach. It is something that we loved as children and continue to do so as adults.  We associate the beach with family holidays and warm sunshine and refreshing dips in the ocean, where Dads drop BBQ sausages in the sand and kids build castles to fend off the incoming tide.  A beach reminds us of summer sunsets and of wild, wintry walks.  It is the face of a million postcards and paintings.  It is, in effect, our happy place and it can offer us a strong sense of nostalgia.

The term nostalgia comes from the Greek nostos meaning homecoming and algos meaning pain.  It is both an unusual word and unusual experience, yet it almost always offers us an opportunity for contemplation – a sentimental moment to reflect upon our happy memories.

The view of Ocean Villas Luz private gardens down to the Atlantic Ocean.
The peaceful scene in our private gardens

Across the world, some cultures have additional interpretations.  The Portuguese have a word called Saudade that takes nostalgia to a deeper level.  Saudade is a bittersweet balance between happiness and melancholy like a heavyhearted yearning.   The Cornish word Hireth has a similar meaning as does the German word Sehnsucht.  There are plenty of other examples but let us remove the bitter from the bittersweet and concentrate on the positive. 

The point I am attempting to make is that it is very difficult to have nostalgia without positive experience.  For most of us, the past eighteen months have been memorable but not exactly nostalgic, so perhaps now is the time that we must seize the day and seek out new adventures.  

Armed with this positive mindset, I decided to visit an area of the Algarve that has long since been on my ‘must do’ list – The Ria Formosa natural park.  Covering over 170 km², the park is essentially a tidal lagoon comprised of islands, canals and salt marshes and has been a vitally important ecosystem for thousands of years.  The marshes play a vital role in providing organic matter to the marine life food chain and becomes a breeding ground for an extraordinary selection of animals

The Ria Formosa Natural park with its creamy sands and gentle, lapping blue waters. Boat is the only way of arriving.
The calm, clear waters of the Ria Formosa lagoon

Among other wonderful creatures, the Ria Formosa is home to seahorses, chameleons, herons, spoonbills and flamingos.  In fact, over 200 species of bird have been identified.  The lagoon also offers perfect conditions for harvesting shellfish and up to 85% of the nation’s oysters are farmed here. A fascinating fact about oysters is that they are natural water filters; it is estimated that a single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day.

Another remarkable feature of the natural park is its series of picture-postcard islands.  There is a simplicity and tranquillity here that is unrivalled across the entire Algarve. The water gently laps against the fine, creamy sand, whilst small fishing boats bob along to a near-silent aquatic melody.  Time has seemingly passed slowly since the days of Treasure Island.

Spoonbills fly across the Ria Formosa, Algarve as the sun begins to set over the marshes,
Spoonbills on the Ria Formosa

Contented parents watch children build sandcastles and laugh as Dad drops another BBQ sausage into the sand.  It is the perfect place to create happy memories and, in time, to create nostalgia.  It is magical – the panacea to the stresses of the past 18 months.  It makes a wonderful day trip from Ocean Villas Luz and one day a wonderful day trip down memory lane.

Day trips (with a guide) on the Ria Formosa are operated by www.iseacharter.com and can be booked through Ocean Villas Luz.

More news next month.

David Lugg

Digital (ish) Nomad

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