Charting a couple's move from London to Portugal, tales, adventures and moving advice

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Not enough hours in the day…..

Posted on March 17, 2010 by Ben Algarve

Anyone planning a move to Portugal should not be inclined to kid themselves that they will suddenly have all the time in the world to paint, sunbathe, swim, cook, or any of the other things that form “the dream.” Life still gets in the way, even here in the Algarve where, at least at the moment, the sun DOES shine every day :-)

Since my last post, we have both had a nasty bout of food poisoning, conveniently within two days of unexpectedly moving house, and the day before we had to pop back to London to earn some money. How we went from a high fever and all manner of unspeakable symptoms to sitting on a plane back to Gatwick the following day I will never know, but we managed it, and spent a whirlwind six days back in “the smoke,” chasing pound notes and remembering what our old life was like.

Back in Portugal, the weather has finally arrived and it has been wonderful to finally start enjoying all of the things we looked forward to for so long – delicious food (though perhaps not quite as adventurous as before the food poisoning incident,) evenings on the terrace with a barbeque and walks in the sunshine. We are finally picking up a bit of a tan and it’s nice to know that next time we go back to England people won’t say,” I thought you lived in Portugal, you don’t have much of a tan?”

We spent a hectic weekend buying plants and bits and pieces for our new home, feeling far more settled knowing we will be here for at least a year. A few frustrations occurred: it was easy to buy the beautiful Weber barbeque I had lusted after for so long but a lot less easy to find the gas bottle, which involved touring most of the petrol stations along the length of the Algarve, a lot of waving arms, shaking heads and shrugging (three actions which anyone who lives in Portugal see a lot of when trying to achieve anything even slightly complicated.)

We also fell out of love with Continente, our largest local supermarket. We have now been in several times and not even been able to get the basics to construct a meal – I will refrain from ranting but I really don’t see the point in maintaining such long opening hours when half of the time you are sold out of the essentials…..and I can confidently say there wasn’t a Portugal-wide shortage of both peppers and potatoes, as Pingo Doce had plenty at the time. It is good in a way as we are now committed to shopping at the local market all the time instead of falling back on the lazy convenience of the supermarket – an English habit which we unwittingly brought here with us.

Sunshine over Praia De Gale

Sunshine over Praia De Gale

We did manage to fit in a quick drive along the Algarve and visited the beautiful west-facing beach of Praia De Gale, a great spot for sunsets. We were fiercely hungry and took a seat at Pedras Amarelas – a beachfront restaurant we had seen there before. The place is very overpriced and clearly aimed at the tourists, but we were desperate to eat and they had a table in the sun. We will not be visiting again as after 25 minutes they had not managed to give us a menu or even acknowledge our presence. This turned out rather well as we ended up in a far less pretentious beach cafe at the other end of the beach where we enjoyed a delicious light lunch of bread, olives, big fresh clams and vinho verde. A splendid afternoon.

Now we have moved house, done our last work trip for a little while and got our house in order, in all respects, we hope to establish a bit more of a routine – and that includes getting back to my regular blog updates. Hopefully the sun will keep shining and I can write more about food, wine and beaches and less of stress, mould and food poisoning. Only time will tell :-)

PS.A little note to the hundreds of silly people who waste their time posting spam comments on my blogs trying to sell Viagra, lead my readers to dodgy casinos or sell bootleg prescription medication. Amusing though it is to read your pitiful attempts to convince me you are commenting on my content when your web address is something like buyviagrafromme.ru, it is becoming a bit tiresome to have to sift through 200 spam comments to find the few genuine comments from those that wish to contribute. I know you won’t stop, so in order to make me feel better I would just like to state that all comments are moderated so will never see the light of day on the blog, and that those of you who clutter up the internet with this nonsense are a bunch of losers. I feel better now.

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3 to “Not enough hours in the day…..”

  1. saz1 says:

    Hi, so glad you are settling in OK. We are out next week for five days so have been looking at the 10 day weather forecast manically to see signs of better weather on the horizon.

    Totally agree about Continente. Even when they do have onions and potatoes you have to buy them in huge bags and unless you know the system, you go to the front desk to pay for them and get sent back to the veg section for them to be priced up. We didnt get fooled by it, but have seen some others fall into the trap.

    Market and Pingo for us. Saz1

  2. Alice says:

    ahhh, it sounds as if life is treating you well – bring on the continued sunshine!!! We too hate supermarket shopping and are determined to not get dragged back into it here once we’re settled. At least we have some farm shops and suchlike not too far so it’s all good :-) Enjoy topping up your tan – I can’t see us out on the deck anytime soon here 😉

  3. Tony says:

    Things look like they are picking up – apart from the food poisoning that is! Glad you are enjoying it!



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