Accessible Algarve

Riding the Crazy Train

 First Published by Constance on September 23rd 2016

Sardine Train

One day the Sardine Train (officially the comboio turístico) was free to the public.  No one had to pay a large amount of Euros to tour the high points of Lagos while riding on the carriage of benches pulled by what looked like an old fashioned steam engine.

The Citizen and I were thrilled about the prospect of actually riding the cheesy thing.  We see it constantly, it’s our unofficial monitor on how to tell how crowded it is in town that day.  That and the number of the huge tour busses belching out clumps of people who are herded about by a someone with a flag.  These people are from the cruise ship docked in Portimáo.

We prepared for riding the Sardine train with a nice bottle of wine decanted into water bottles . The train does a loop of the beaches, it takes about an hour and people can get on and off at the designated stops.  Where should we hop on the train?  It had be the Marina.

The Portuguese Lessons

First Published October 3rd 2010 by Constance 

Portuguese lessons

The Portuguese class is made up of a mixed platter of people from all over Europe, plus two Americans besides us.

We have enough English for a scrum, the Citizen among them (I am throwing the Scot and the Welsh in the mix). Then an adorable older couple from France, she must have been quite the beauty in her day, she is so lovely and so charming while playing at learning Portuguese while her husband feeds her the answers.

Then, this week, the Eastern bloc appeared. Two Vladimirs and a Svetlana from Russia, a woman from Moldavia, Marianna from Hungary, a scattering of Ukraines. Everyone in the Eastern bloc all seem to drive nice cars.

Ah, a wonderful U.N. of learning, all of us in little chairs, sitting at little tables at the Escola D. Joao II, without the tension of the U.N.....thankfully.  Three nights a week, Tuesday (Terca), Wednesday (Quarta) and Thursday (Quinta). Each lesson one and a half hours a week and lasts until June. The class is free and bonus, we just found out we are being paid two and a half Euros per class to attend, what a country!

Backstage With Metallica

 First Published June 1st 2012 by  Constance.

 Our friend, Claudia Pastorius and her 9 year old daughter Hannah dropped by Salir do Porto for a few days on their way to Spain.  During lots of grilled fish and other Portuguese fun she said she had all access tickets for Metallica asked us to go. 

Hannah’s bass player dad is friends with the bass player Robert Trujillo, Hell, yes, even a blues fan like me knows a musical legend when she sees one.  Earplugs in my pocket, Hannah had her doll she wanted to have signed by the band, we hopped the bus to Lisboa ready for the headliners at the Rock in Rio.

Don’t Call Them Gypsies


First Published March 17, 2013 by Constance

The life of a group of Gypsies looks very hard, something out of the past. We have been living a stone’s throw from three large tents with real Gypsies.  They have been camped in the field in back with their horses, carts and family.  We watch them, amazed that their life lived from the back of a horse cart, traveling from place to place, still exists today.   Just a few steps from the solidly middle class homes of our neighborhood.

They are, to be culturally correct, called Romanys. The Romani people and have lived in Portugal since the 2ndhalf of the 15th Century, there are 30,000 to 50,000 in the country.  These are the most hated people in Europe. I was amazed when I went to Google to see some sites on them; people post advice that goes way beyond “don’t let your daughters near them”.  When they pull their horse and cart up to the supermarket, store security goes into high alert.

A Simple Life in Salir do Porto

First published by Constance Houck, May 2012.

Salir do Porto

Living in the tiny Portuguese village of Salir do Porto for two-plus years has taught me important things that I forgot while living in the U.S.

A visiting friend described it as, “living in a postcard”. Multicolored cliffs rise from the water of the only natural bay on the Iberian Peninsular.  Ruins line the beach, the best pool art I have ever swam with. 

Adventures Abroad Returns!

Kevin and I packed up our lives in the States and moved to Portugal in 2010.  We traveled, hiked the countryside and greedily gobbled up everything our new little country had to offer.  Enjoying fresh produce from the farmer's market, fresh bread and fish delivered to our doorstep by trucks that came to the village every day.  Picking blackberries and figs in the fields by our house, walking down the hill for a swim then stopping off for a beer and chat with the locals. 

 We had great stories and adventures so I built a website and named it An Adventure Abroad to share the wonderful experiences, also the silly mistakes that expats make.  The more I wrote, people began to notice.  The website became recognized by travel blog associations, I was getting invitations to write for online magazines and even International Living asked me to submit paid articles. While I thought my blog was a fun hobby it was becoming successful and I was becoming recognized as a "real" writer!  Meanwhile, I had tripped and fallen, walking and climbing steps was becoming more and more painful.  Doctors at the emergency room said it was just siatica so I kept hiking and dancing, living my best life. 

Constance in Burgau
Constance with locals at Burgau bus stop.

Off Season, Burgau Portugal

First Published November 22nd 2013 by Constance

Clinging to the side of a hill, far from the bright lights of Lagos, is the small fishing village of Burgau. White houses with blue trim are layered down the hill along the crooked narrow streets like a crazy baker’s wedding cake, colorful wood boats lie in rows on the beach. Piles of crab traps and octopus pots tucked away in a corner.


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