It is a strange sensation being in Portugal. I visited Portugal 5 years ago when I was back packing around Europe with my twin sister and her husband. We only stopped for a few nights in Lagos and I remember loving the place, the character, and the feel of the area. Life in Albufeira was different. I did not get any positive feelings from being in this man made, purpose built holiday resort. There was no atmosphere, no sense of culture and there was nothing at all except British tourists. I spent the week doing all our excursions and was beginning to lose hope that there were 'natural' parts of this country. Yesterday, on a cruise down the river that divides Spain and Portugal my faith was restored and I saw a beautiful little town with not one sign of tourist invasion.
I realised how lucky we are in Italy. I always thought Taormina was over run by tourists, and it was but the big difference being that the town was always the same, it had not been changed or modernised for the tourists. From what I have seen of Portugal and Albufeira in particular, nothing of the old Portugal is left. High rise after high rise spoil the landscape and it is a real shame. I understand that it is good for the country, bringing in a lot of money etc... but all can I ask is at what price?
Thankfully I'm now based in the west, which is touristy, but already after getting lost on my stroll, I feel that I will enjoy my few months here.