A brief recap: Since arriving at Ocean Villas Luz in August 2020, our resident writer David Lugg has been experiencing all aspects of Luz Life. This is his July 2022 review:
When I rule the world (I’m working on it slowly), there are a few widespread changes that I would like to make. Firstly, I would fine any supermarket that makes you queue for longer than five minutes (see previous blogs for relevance). Secondly, I would fine any train that is delayed by more than fifteen minutes (take note Algarve Rail). Finally, and most importantly, I would ensure that people take more holidays to Portugal – it transpires that there is far more to this latter statement than meets the eye.
Last month, an Australian university proposed that tourism is not only a recreational experience, but an industry that can provide substantial health benefits. ‘Travel therapy’ can assist with anything from release of stress to having a positive impact on those with mental health conditions such as dementia. The Algarve could be the ideal candidate – let’s take a look at the credentials.
With 300 days of sunshine per year, there can be few better places than the Algarve for topping up your levels of vitamin D. This is vital to our immune system and plays a key role in maintaining healthy bones, teeth and muscles. We’re off to a good start.
Fresh air, notes lead researcher Dr Jun Wen, can lead to increased serotonin levels and is critical in treating anxiety and depression. If there’s one thing the Algarve has in abundance, it’s fresh air. The region is blessed with national parks and nature reserves as well as the Serra de Monchique mountain range. Why not head up to the highest point at Fóia and take in a deep breath at an altitude of 902 metres?
Exercise, Dr Wen asserts, is another key feature of travel therapy and is linked to a positive mental wellbeing. This one is another Algarve no-brainer. There are a multitude of magnificent walking paths, both on the coast and inland. If you’re feeling particularly exuberant, you could even undertake some (or all) of the ‘Camino’ pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. The paths start in Lagos, Faro and Tavira, though it’s probably worth noting that the entire journey will take around 35 days.
I’m beginning to think that Dr Wen has composed this list specifically for the Algarve as next on his list is ‘sensory stimulation’. The Algarve is a veritable celebration of the senses – a kaleidoscopic collage of azure waters and golden beaches, lapping waves and excited voices. Then there is the lure of sardines on the BBQ, the music in the bars and the buzz of the cafes. All these factors contribute to a general improvement of mood and self-esteem.
After we add in a surf lesson, a yoga session and perhaps even a dash of skydiving, we have all the ingredients for the perfect cognitive stimulation. You might even be surprised by the therapeutic qualities of eating an ice cream whilst gazing at the sea or building a sand castle. Whether you have devotion for the ocean or a weakness for the waves, the Algarve offers a special mix of joy and adventure that is a tonic for the soul.
In life, we often state that we ‘need’ something when in reality we just crave or want it – for example, I need a cup of tea. However, it appears that travel therapy is something that all of us genuinely need. Travelling is not only about a taking break with your friends or family, it is undeniably good for your health. If your circumstances allow it, then a visit to Praia da Luz is just what the doctor ordered. Okay, that’s all for now – I’m going to put the kettle on as I need a cup of tea.
More news next month.
(All photo images owned by David Lugg)
Previous blogs can be viewed HERE