It was a strange confluence of events that led me to having a dinner in Faro, Portugal at the beginning of July. I was wrapping up a vacation in Iceland and set to be in England the following week for the Farnborough Airshow but nothing really planned for the intervening days. So when a great sale popped up for British Airways Club Europe flights ex-Gatwick (where I was arriving from Keflavik anyways), I jumped on the deal. A weekend jaunt to anywhere was my plan given the cheap airfare and expectation that nearly any of the options would be cheaper than staying in the London area for the weekend. In fact, so haphazard was my flight search that I actually didn’t know where Faro was when I booked the flight. I chose Faro based on flight times. There was an afternoon departure and a return on Sunday in time for me to get over to Farnborough. And I’d figure the rest of it out along the way.
When you book a crazy deal before figuring out where the airports actually are. Yeah, I've got problems.
— Seth Miller (@WandrMe) May 19, 2016
The outbound was a typical Club Europe experience on British Airways. Blocked middle seat, marginal legroom, an afternoon tea service and other passengers concerned about my use of a GoPro to record the takeoff and landing sequences of the flight. Fortunately the flight attendant was very understanding and agreed that it was no problem for me to be making the recording.
The trip was supposed to involve two nights in Faro, a proper weekend excursion. At one point I planned a drive to Gibraltar. At another point I was just going to bum around the waterfront and explore the city center. I would not be out at the beaches, mostly because I had no desire to sit still like that for the weekend but also because they are somewhat isolated and more expensive having been booked solid for holiday-makers from England. Instead it turned out I would be returning to London a day early so that I could be in Farnborough on Sunday in time for a flight on the Bombardier CSeries CS100. As such I truly was in town just long enough for dinner and then back to the airport. Explaining this at immigration in Gatwick and then at Faro and then at Southend (more on that in a moment) was rather interesting. I grabbed a room at the Hotel Sol Algarve via Hotels.com for 75 euro and set out to explore.
This was also the first night I’d seen the sun set in two weeks so I was slightly disoriented as I walked around town looking for a dinner option.
A recommendation had me at Faz Gostos not long after and I enjoyed the meal, though in retrospect I probably would have preferred an outdoor dining experience over the slightly stuff dining room it offered. Food was delicious and service was stellar so no valid complaints to be made.
From there it was back to the hotel, albeit with a bit of meandering through the old city and the narrow streets lined with cafes and bars. Buskers were out, as were tourists and locals alike. I can see how the city would be considered a vibrant summer holiday destination. I was off the next morning, back to London so I could be on time for work. And flying on arguably the worse of the two tickets I had at my disposal, though I still swear it was the correct choice.
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