Next Adventure: Building in Lagoa de Albufeira

When in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico we used to have a place to the north of the city, situated next to the beach, where we could go on weekends with the kids to enjoy the ocean. As everyone in the family loved the water, we all enjoyed surfing, waterskiing, paddle boarding and swimming.

Since we’ve moved to Portugal we’ve missed that as the ocean is at least 40 minutes away. For a couple of years we’ve been going to the beach of Lagoa de Albufeira, a saltwater estuary to the south of Lisbon that looks very much like a lake, but it situated right next to the ocean. Because it is shallow and somewhat protected from winds, the water is quite a bit warmer than the ocean. Last year we decided to start looking for a lot on which we could build a small lake house, to give us something like we had back in Mexico. We found one, bought it and then started working with an architect to develop a plan that we thought would work best for us. This past week we submitted our plans for final approval with the municipality and hopefully in a couple of months we’ll have that, and if we can find a contractor, we can start building.

The estuary/lake meets up with a long, wide sandy beach that stretches for 35 km from Caparica at one end to where the beach narrows, steep rocky cliffs protrude until you reach the point of Caba Espichel. Only a narrow strip of beach separates the estuary from the ocean.

Cabo Espichel

Most of the area is not developed, except as you get close to Caparica. Fortunately the government has allowed little development so you can walk for miles on the beach and see no signs of civilization except far in the distance. There are access roads leading down to the beach where there’ll be rustic beach restaurants and surf schools, but that’s about it.

Lighthouse at the end of Cabo Espichel
Nossa Senhora Sanctuary at Cabo Espichel, which once provided housing for pilgrims

Lagoa de Albufeira is situated at the far end of this beach, just as the land begins to climb and the terrain turns from sand to rock cliffs.

Looking from Lagoa de Albufeira towards Cabo Espichel
Lagoa sand cliffs with Caparica, and the end of the beach, in the far distance.

Our property is not alongside the lake as no building is allowed, as is the case for much of the lakes, rivers and oceanfront in Portugal. It is all protected, and the only property that you’ll find there has been there a long time and grandfathered in, but often with stipulations that they can’t modify or increase the size of the structure, just renovate it. But we are only located a block up from the lake and a couple blocks from the ocean. Running alongside the ocean and separating our subdivision from the beach is a protected pine forest park.

The estuary/lake is very popular with kite surfers and wing foilers because the sandbar that separates it from the sea protects the water from winds that usually originate in this direction, providing relatively flat water but still strong winds for the kite. Plus, the water is rather shallow, making it easier for beginners to learn and to walk their kite back if they have problems.

We hope to start building this year and it should take about a year to build.

Cruising the Cyclades – Santorini

I had no expectations going into Santorini, and perhaps that’s the best way to first get to know it. I had done very little reading about it prior or during our trip, just knew it was our last stop before flying back to Portugal. My education on Santorini began when Hariz, who we rented our car from, picked us up at the ferry port and brought us to his office, a few blocks from our beachfront hotel. On the way he told us about Thera, the volcano, and what we should see and do in Santorini.

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Cruising the Cyclades Islands on Prosecco III

In the Spring of 2015 we cruised the eastern seaboard of the United States, from Florida to Washington, on board the yacht Sockeye Blue with our good friends John & Tina Philippson. Their 80-foot Nordhavn was a beautiful ship, and we enjoyed three fun-filled weeks exploring this coastline. They would eventually sell Sockeye Blue, but in 2021, eager to get another Nordhavn and this time to explore the Mediterranean and the rivers and canals of Europe, they bought Prosecco III, a 41-footer fresh off the production line in Turkey. Prosecco was purchased purposely smaller, so it could fit inside the locks and canals.

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The Dao Region of Portugal – Biking & Boarding

In the north of Portugal, just above Coimbra but below Porto and a little east towards the Spanish border, lies a region known as the Dao. Through it the river Dao and alongside it were once tracks for a train that ran between the towns of Santa Comba Dao and Viseu from the 1890s to the 1980s. It is about 50 kilometers in length and back then it provided transportation for locals and delivered them supplies. When it was discontinued a “Rails-to-Trails” was put in its place. This is the process of converting abandoned rail lines (“Rails”) into bike paths (“Trails”), and it has become very common in both Europe and North America. In Portugal these bike paths are known as “Ecopistas.”

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Madeira, Portugal

We’d been wanting to visit Madeira ever since our first visit Portugal some five years ago and learned that the island group was also part of Portugal (along with the Azores). Covid caused us to cancel our planned trip last year, but in March we decided to try again as Madeira was open to Portuguese residents only as long as you’d recently had a Covid test done. Our flight from Lisbon was just a little over two hours and we arrived to wonderful weather, about 20º (the average temperature throughout the year) with bright, clear blue skies. Madeira’s weather is similar to parts of thew Med with a mild and moderate subtropical climate. It varies dramatically, however from north to south and east to west creating small microclimates. The northwest is much wetter whereas the southwest is arid and dry. 

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Flojohn Travels Magazine 2020 Edition

At the start of this year I didn’t think we’d be able to generate enough content for another issue of Flojohn magazine with travel being so limited because of the Covid-19 crisis. But we did manage to get in quite a few trips, especially by car, which is a lot easier during this type of a crisis. Matter of fact we ended up with enough content to increase the size of the magazine to 80 pages.

In this issue we visit Northern Portugal, Costa Verde, Spain, Noirmoutier, France, The Algarve in Portugal and Marrakesh in Morocco.

For this edition I decided to take advantage of the interactive features of InDesign, the software I used to create the publications. This allows me to make the page design more dynamic, and to embed videos that can be played right inside the document.

Click here to see the 2019 version of Flojohn Magazine.

Covid Videos

After being stuck inside for awhile during Covid we started getting a little antsy, bored, in need of something to keep us occupied. So we began making videos to entertain ourselves, our friends and family members. And we learned a few things about making videos along the way.

Week Five of Covid Confinement
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