Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rent a Car?

Olhao Water Taxi
 When we research places to stay on these month long trip to Europe, one of the criteria we use is that the place has to be advertised as “Car Not Necessary”. Having to rent a car for a month, would make the wonderfully affordable apartments we find, not such a bargain. Now Regis also has a swimming pool and an outdoor grill on her criteria, and we have never had those. . . . . Being able to walk to get most of the necessities, is nice. You get your daily exercise and you really get to know the neighbourhood. After a week here, we were giving advice to other tourists and filling in information that the Tourist Information Offices didn't know.

No having wheels however does limit the amount that you can do and see. You get to know the area around you very well, but there are things out of range of your 'hikers' that you do not get to see. This is OK with me; I really do not care if some “Must See” does not get seen, but Regis works under the “You can't come all this way . . . .” strategy.

Faro Train Station
As a compromise we pick a time and rent a car for a couple of days. This did not prove so easy here in Olhão. You cannot rent a car in the town at all. It is not a tourist town, it is a fishing town; it is harder to get a regular taxi here than it is to get a water-taxi to the islands. I could probably rent a boat no problem, but a car - not going to happen. There is one big new hotel in town, and we heard that they might be able to 'arrange' a car, but a walk down to the hotel produced the same result – they 'might' be able to find a rent-a-car. Most of their clients drive in as a stop on a Algarve tour, so renting a car is a service they only 'sort-of' provide. We finally determined that we would probably have to take the train to Faro, and then a bus to the airport to even talk to someone about a car.
Loading the Water Taxi

Then when Regis and I went to visit Faro for the day trip on the train, I noticed outside the train station a sign; “Car to Go”, and a little green booth that rented bikes, computers and apparently cars, although only bicycles were present. After trying unsuccessfully to contact the rental places at the Faro Airport via e-mail or phone call, we decided to just go and try our luck at this place.

So all four of us took the train to Faro and visited the little green booth. Indeed, they could get us a car – they actually operate from the airport, but the car would be delivered to us here. Of course the “Economy” one was unavailable, but they would give us the standard model for the price of the second cheapest. This was perfect, we got four doors, diesel engine and a station wagon for the price of the a two door Fiat. Three days was the same price as two, so it appears I will be doing more 'Road Trip' than I wanted, since a passport and a driver's licence was required and I was the only one so equipped. We only had to wait two hours for it to be delivered, but that just means there is not hurry to return it. And Pete and Linda get to tour Faro with two experience guides while we wait, since they were too travel-weary as they came through three weeks ago to even notice the city.

I should have rented that boat. . . . . . . .

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