A brief recap: Since arriving at Ocean Villas Luz in August 2020, resident writer David Lugg has been experiencing all aspects of Luz Life. This is his March 2023 review:
Whoever decided to move the clocks forward in spring obviously didn’t have young children. Or if they did, the decision was made in Autumn when they had sixty extra minutes of slumber. Either way, as I reluctantly forced my body out of bed in the morning, my baby daughter offered me a brief look of guilt that she had woken Daddy up several times in the night. A morning cuddle and a (very) strong coffee later, all was well with the world…mostly.
I say ‘mostly’, as I could have got a lot done in that lost hour. Or at least I used to think so. When I was working in central London, an hour was precious. Time used to fly back as I was always so busy. There weren’t enough hours in a day. But now my circumstances have changed and sometimes it can take an hour just to get out of the door with the baby, pushchair, milk, toys, clothes, nappies and other paraphernalia that goes with being a parent.
Add into the mix that an hour in Portugal can be spent doing nothing at all. I have said many times how lovely and kind the Portuguese are, but I still can’t quite fathom the desire for long queues. Supermarkets, pharmacies, kiosks, cafes and bakeries are just some of the many establishments that are prone to this inertia. I would go as far as to say that queueing is a national pastime. A secret, guilty pleasure. If queuing was prohibited, you almost feel that there would be a queue of people protesting against it.
Having said all of that, when you are holiday in Praia da Luz, time is of little consequence. It tends to take around 48 hours to switch off, but after that, adopting the local pace of life is part of the holiday experience. There is no need to rush around and do your daily chores as, well, there aren’t many (if any) chores to do. That is unless you count the quandary of whether to have a second cup of coffee on the terrace as a chore (which it isn’t).
With the clocks going forward an hour, spring welcomed us with a warm embrace – and with it came a noticeable increase in the number of tourists. However, one of the joys of Praia da Luz is that it never feels over-crowded (even in the peak of summer). There are no high-rise buildings and no big resort hotels, meaning that there are a limited number of beds for people to sleep. In effect, this helps to create a community that never gets caught up in mass tourism. Lower numbers of people combined with higher levels of quality is not a secret recipe, but it’s certainly a welcome one.
Not only does spring bring out the best of the Algarve, it also brings the best out of the people. An Algarve winter is far from unpleasant, but the sanguine sensations of spring are clear to see. Exotic, tropical flowers bloom with wild abandon, ubiquitous in their explosion of colour. Trees bear unusual, pungent fruits like nespera (loquats), which are high in antioxidants and great for your immune system. The air is filled with the joyous sound of an extraordinary array of excitable birds. This exuberant scene is reflected in the faces and hearts of those that live or visit the region.
As if we have awoken from our winter languor, spring offers us a chance for a fresh start. As Vladimir Nabokov wrote, spring is “nostalgia in reverse; the longing for yet another strange land”. Come and join us in our own strange land this April. It’ll put a spring in your step. Either that or you can catch up on some sleep.
More news next month.
(All photo images owned by David Lugg)
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