Salted ocean air breezed through my hair as I admired the scenic view of Algarve, whilst trying to finish my slice of pizza. My sisters and a group of friends were having lunch in a beach front restaurant. We were stuffed and couldn’t have another bite of our lunch even if we tried, so we asked the waiter to pack it away so that it could suffice for our dinner. Minus the leftover pizza, I was excited being part of a friend’s hen party. Being on holiday at the same time, it all felt like a dream. Little did I know it was soon going to turn into my worst nightmare – a journey filled with adventure and anguish!
The next agenda on the list was to relax on the beach. That seemed easy enough. As we were started our journey at Praia Dos Aveiros, we realised we had taken the wrong entrance to the beach, as we were high up on the cliff looking down at the beach. The view was breath-taking – bright clear blue waters surrounding a soft sand beach. The sun’s rays danced in tune with the rhythm of the waves. In the distance, you could see people swimming, laying on the sand and having the time of their lives. Before we left, my sisters and I were taking pictures of each other against the spectacular backdrop. Two minutes later, we turned around and realised we were on our own. We could see the rest of our friends in the far distance also taking pictures. Wondering why they walked so far ahead, we laughed and assumed they were probably distracted by the upcoming events planned for the evening. Though, after helplessly waving our hands trying to tell them to turn around (so we could get to the proper entrance of the beach), they disappeared further out of sight. “We’ll just have to catch up to them and let them know we are in the wrong entrance”, my sister said as we walked further ahead ignoring the signs that said “danger” (this should have been a warning sign enough)!
The further we walked up, the narrower and rockier the ground of the cliff became. We were clearly not prepared for rock climbing as our footwear consisted of flip flops rather than trainers. There was no way to turn back as queues of people formed behind us and it was not possible to go around them and go back as the space was tight. Clearly they were tourists too who assumed we were going towards the proper entrance of the beach and followed us. Oops! Putting on a brave face, I ensured not to look down due to my fear of heights. After walking on for what seemed like forever, I eventually caved and looked down at the bottomless pit of jagged rocks and froze. I just couldn’t walk any longer for it kept getting steeper. This is not what I signed up for when I thought we were going on a beach holiday! Suddenly just like a scene out of a movie, three handsome locals squeezed past the tourists behind me and put their hand out to lift me over past the boulder ahead. They reassured me that there would be another beach up ahead and it wouldn’t be much longer. However, they said that this path is dangerous for tourists as the locals are used to climbing around this way.
Shortly after, in the distance my sisters and I heard the familiar waves of ocean and heard people chatting away. We made it! However, looking around there wasn’t a way to get down. Then we heard our friends shouting “you guys have to jump!” from below. “You’re actually kidding me, right?” was what I was thinking. We had to look for a more gradual sloping edge of the cliff and slowly slide down from there. We put our foot on a rock and repeated these steps until it was possible for us to jump. Where were those handsome locals when we needed them again?! Hesitantly, I grabbed one of the girl’s hands and leapt down. Never had I been so grateful to be back on ground level! Despite what had happened, my annoyance faded away as we would not have stumbled upon this stunning isolated beach if we didn’t trek through those rocks. An hour or so after finally relaxing on the beach, one thing came to our minds – how were we going to head back? We asked the locals at the beach and they said there was a way out but pointed up at the cliff and said we had to climb back up the rocks and continue past the beach next to this one. Clearly that wasn’t an option for us so we all decided to go tread through the ocean and get to Oura beach from there. The locals warned us not to as under the shallow parts of the water, there were sharp rocks. The only way was to go through the deep water. The problem was that none of us except for my sisters knew how to swim. We ignored the looks of disapprovals from the locals and all linked arms hoping that our cumulative weight will act as a deterrent from being aggressively thrown onto the rocks (probably looking hilariously ridiculous). We treaded quickly as the water level was rising and miraculously made it to the other beach, where we could finally go exit and go back to the hotel!
After all that excitement, I didn’t even realise we were holding on to the takeaway pizza the entire time. Since the pizza was now drenched in sea water, we chucked it away and ended up ordering Chinese for dinner. I secretly didn’t want leftover pizza for dinner anyway, this adventure ended up being a win-win for all of us. (Kind of!) The events that happened later that night is a story for another day for it was filled with even more mishaps. Although it was scary at the time, I laugh about it now and I wouldn’t change that holiday for anything. If it wasn’t for the crazy cliff climbing, we wouldn’t have found that isolated beach. That’s why I believe (no matter how crazy a situation is) everything happens for a reason.