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

movingtoportugal



The Road We Didn’t Take 6

Posted on May 29, 2013 by Ben Algarve
Meravista

Hi, Ben here, looking suitably shame-faced as to the amount of time it has taken to write this update post. It’s been so long since I wrote a personal update that some kind readers have even been in touch to check all is well with us, which is very touching. So, today, it’s time to catch everyone up with what’s been happening.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that we planned to move house. Well, to put things quite simply – we didn’t. But, I’m going to take the time to explain what went on.

Earlier in the year, as regular readers will know, we took a trip to the USA, our first “proper” holiday since we moved to Portugal nearly four years ago.

Our New York Holiday Unsettled Us!

Our New York Holiday Unsettled Us!

On our return we felt rather unsettled, and struggled to get back into our regular routine. This wasn’t helped by the fact my wife went freelance at the start of the year, which meant our routine bore no resemblance to the one we were used to anyway.

Time in New York and Florida reopened our eyes to various things: culture, the theatre, a huge array of dining options and, above all, the size of the world outside our tiny Algarve village.

In some way, our brains rebelled, and we became convinced it was time for a change, so we decided, quite impulsively, that we wanted to move to Lagos before the start of the summer. Lagos is a sizeable town/city in the west of the Algarve, which is rather more varied and cosmopolitan than where we live now.

So, we set off on some viewing trips and came very close to moving, but the fates conspired to convince us that a move West wasn’t meant to be.

Lagos - Not Meant To Be!

Lagos – Not Meant To Be!

First, we found an apartment we loved, and arranged a day to collect the keys, only to find on “move day” that the owner has decided to sell it instead of rent it out.

Deflated, we zoomed around several estate agents and found another apartment, put down a deposit, and returned a couple of weeks later to collect the keys.

Well, it turned out this wasn’t meant to be either. From the moment we entered the property, everything felt wrong. Then we met the next-door neighbour, who was a bit of an oddball and someone who, it transpired, had a key to the apartment that he was reluctant to relinquish. This was just one of several boring issues that combined to give us the desire to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

Thankfully, we hadn’t burned any bridges in the East Algarve, and we were able to return home and remove the estate agent’s signs.

With summer approaching, we’ve now resigned ourselves to staying put, and somehow it feels right – not just a resigned, giving-in kind of right, but REALLY right.

Since the day we got back, we’ve spent great times with friends and visitors, met lots of great people and made real progress with our Portuguese. Right now, it feels almost strange that we felt compelled to have a change, when there’s really nowhere we’d rather be than here.

This will do for now :-)

This will do for now :-)

So, for now at least, the East Algarve is where we plan to stay – and if we do move in the future, I have to say it’s unlikely that it will be to Lagos. We’ve come to associate the place with being stressed, and spending far more time than anyone really wants to in estate agents’ offices. We’ve also discovered that “that end” of the Algarve is windy almost all the time and considerably cooler than the sheltered area we’ve become used to.

What we have learned from the whole experience, however, is that we need to spend more time exploring the country we now call home. One of the key reasons behind our wanting to move was to vary our routine and stop living a “small town” life in the same shops, bars and restaurants. We’re determined to spend our free time doing more so we avoid having another identical summer. Hopefully, that will give me plenty to discuss here on this blog. I’ll try my best not to leave it so long before my next update.

Wondering about moving abroad yourself, or want to hear more about our experiences? Please consider buying a copy of our book:

Moving to Portugal: How a young couple started a new life in the sun – and how you could do the same

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Holiday Weekend in Portugal 4

Posted on August 28, 2012 by Ben Algarve
Meravista

Those outside the UK may not be aware that this past weekend was a bank holiday. As my wife works for an English company, we observe UK bank holidays and not Portuguese ones. While this is a shame in that Portugal has far more than the UK, it meant we just got to enjoy a three-day weekend.

Our only objective was to have the kind of weekend that makes you feel sad when it’s over. We succeeded, and managed to fit plenty in, including the exploration of a couple of places we hadn’t been before.

After getting ahead and doing our grocery shopping in Spain on Friday night, we were ready for a day of exploration on Saturday. We set off in the car in the direction of Alcoutim, a small riverside town facing Spain over the border.

Alcoutim River Beach

Alcoutim River Beach

Our intended destination was the Praia Fluvial, a picturesque river beach we had seen in a tourist guide.

The drive itself was a great surprise, being on a modern road cut into the mountains and featuring some stunning views. Upon arrival at Alcoutim, we spotted some signs to an archeological site, so decided to go and find the monolith in question before heading for the river beach.

The signs led us up a treacherous mountain road and then onto a gravel path that got narrower and bumpier as we progressed. We eventually found the monolith.

Now, perhaps there’s just no historical romance in my soul, but I must confess to being….underwhelmed by the fenced off bits of rock we drove all that way to. Perhaps my naming it the “shitolith” was a tad harsh, but it wasn’t exactly the highlight of my weekend.

The Shitolith

The Shitolith

The river beach, however, met all of our expectations. Small but relatively undiscovered, it was peaceful even on an August Saturday. We were surprised to see that it had been awarded a blue flag for clean water as we didn’t realise they applied to river beaches. The flag gave us extra reassurance when we took to the water, which was clear and surprisingly warm.

Praia Fluvial Alcoutim

Praia Fluvial Alcoutim

Saturday evening was spent at the medieval fair in Castro Marim. Having already visited the fair in Silves, we were interested to compare the two and surprised that all present agreed that the Castro Marim fair was far superior to the more well known event in Silves. The stalls seemed to offer far more authentic and unique items and the place just felt “more medieval,” however subjective that may sound! On the down side, if was frantically busy, so not the place for those who dislike crowds and/or waiting for food and drink.

Castro Marim Medieval Fair

Castro Marim Medieval Fair

Plans for a swim and a barbecue with relatives on Sunday were scuppered early in the morning by the discovery of a flat tire, probably picked up during our dirt-track journey to the shitolith. As it turned out, we had an unexpectedly enjoyable day, ending up with friends having a fish feast at a beachfront restaurant, followed by some time paddling on the beach and (unsuccessfully) flying a kite.

Unfortunate flat tire

Unfortunate flat tire

The weekend was rounded off nicely by an impromptu Monday trip to Praia da Rocha, one of our favourite beaches, and an enjoyable meal at Casa Algarvia in Cabanas.

We certainly made the best of our weekend and felt suitably melancholy about returning to work today. We could do with cheering up, so, if you’d like to help, please take a look at our new Moving to Portugal book on Amazon and consider buying a copy!

Moving to Portugal: How a young couple started a new life in the sun – and how you could do the same

Until next week ☺

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Moving to Portugal – A Year On 2

Posted on November 09, 2010 by Ben Algarve
Meravista

It is now just over a year since we waved goodbye to Old London Town, and got on the plane to Portugal, leaving our old life behind.

Needless to say, the year has been one of the most eventful of our lives, and I’m finding it surprisingly difficult to work out how to summarise our first year in a blog post.

When you move abroad, especially to somewhere you have fallen in love with on holidays, it is surprising when, after a few months, you realise that you haven’t at any point felt that

Boats at Olhao - Moving to Portugal

Boats at Olhao - Moving to Portugal

undiluted happy holiday feeling.

If holidaying somewhere you adore could be likened to the electric, lustful feelings of the start of a relationship, going to live there is rather more akin to the deep rooted contentment gained through a happy marriage.

This is no bad thing, and there have been plenty of wonderful moments along the way that have lived up our initial hopes.

One day a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were both frantically busy with work and within seconds of closing our laptops were both leaning over the kitchen sink – I was shelling prawns while she scaled sardines, ready for some guests coming over for a midweek dinner. We were both stressed. It wasn’t until I remembered we were preparing cheap and fresh seafood within seconds of finishing work, rather than fighting through the crowds on the way to a tube station, that it occurred to me that we were in fact living the dream we waited for.

This does go some way to illustrating my point. When you go to live somewhere, real life moves there with you. When you are on holiday, real life is put into a state of suspended animation until you get home and pick up the big pile of bills on the doormat. We ARE living our dream, but those bills still arrive on a daily basis, and wherever you live you can have weeks that suck and leave you thinking you need a HOLIDAY – even if the beach is ten minutes away.

Our one year Portugal anniversary has caused us to look back at the last year, and we do feel we have made substantial progress in integrating here, even if sometimes this progress happens so slowly you don’t notice it at the time.

Speaking Portuguese is an example of this. Now when we go into shops, restaurants, garages, we speak Portuguese without it occurring to us that we ARE speaking Portuguese. We didn’t actually realise this until some relatives pointed it out after observing us in a supermarket, and it was a very rewarding feeling. Even more pleasing was when I picked up a Portuguese cooking magazine the other day and realised that there were entire paragraphs I could understand. Compared to my wife I thought I had been decidedly slack when it came to learning the language, so I am encouraged by how much does seem to go in without you noticing.

Sunset over the Algarve near Barrill Beach

Sunset over the Algarve near Barrill Beach

Another pleasing change which started to occur after about six months was that we stopped having those wobbly days or weeks when we questioned our decision to move. These are now few and far between and affirm our decision.

I figured the best way to look retrospectively over our first year would be to list five of the year’s high points, and five corresponding lows…stay tuned for my review of the first year, coming on Friday.

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A Weekend of Discovery Part 1 2

Posted on February 09, 2010 by Ben Algarve
Meravista

Last week was a week of really loving being in Portugal, without a single wobbly “what have we done?” moment. The process of settling in has continued, helped by some beautiful weather especially over last weekend.

As we currently have a car, we took advantage of our mobility, and the sunshine, and went on one of our exploration weekends.

We headed west, initially in the direction of Albufeira – a holiday playground or hell-hole, depending on your point of view. The first

Saturday lunchtime, February

Saturday lunchtime, February

beach we stopped at was Santa Eulaila. This seemed a popular spot, with the trademark orange cliffs and a good mix of locals and tourists. We enjoyed a drink in the sun (overpriced – double what we are used to in the Eastern Algarve) and then went for a walk along the beach, climbing over rocks through sparkly rock-pools to get to quiet coves further east. This beach was a joy, and some people (more determined than us) were even braving the February water.

Continuing our tour, we had a huge selection of other beaches in the area to choose from. We went for Olhos De Agua, as I had seen a recommendation online somewhere. This was, to us, a disappointment. We really aren’t fans of the “Little Britains” that exist all over this part of the Algarve, and this was one of them. Menus entirely in English, lots of English bars and the depressing sight of people sitting in a darkened bar watching English football on the first truly beautiful day of the year. They could have saved their flight money and gone to Blackpool…

Moving swiftly on, as we did on the day, hunger led us to stop in the concrete jungle in the middle of Albufeira for a quick snack. Once again, we lamented the fact that a lot of our fellow Brits come all the way to Portugal and then opt to eat in McDonalds and KFC. This, coupled with encountering one too many of our fellow countrymen ordering food and drink without even attempting a “Bom Dia,” “se faz favor,” or “obrigada,” led us to escape this area and hit the road again, with a fresh understanding of why several Portuguese people have been surly towards us until it becomes clear we are attempting to learn the language. I really don’t blame them.

Heading further west, we made a beeline for a beach called Praia Dos Tres Irmaos, between the busy resorts of Praia Da Rocha and Alvor. We had found this fairy-tale beach over five years ago when we first visited Portugal, during a long cliff top walk. We had walked for a few miles from Praia Da Rocha, and found a lift built into a cliff which took us down to a small bar/restaurant built into the rocks, looking out onto a gorgeous sunny cove. The whole place has a real air of “secret beach,” and I have fond memories of body-surfing in the waves with a couple of other tourists of unknown nationality, united by our enjoyment of the sea and sun.

We had always said one day we would go back again. Our TomTom satnav proved next to useless and we had a couple of occasions of driving into tourist complexes we were pretty sure were out of bounds to us. After a while it seemed the beach was not accessible by car, so we ended up reluctantly parking at Alvor, determined to get the last couple of hours of sun on a beach, even if it wasn’t the one we intended.

At Alvor, we looked left and were pretty sure that we recognised where we were and that a determined walk would get us to the beach we had originally intended. We set off, walking through thick sand, so determined on our destination that at times we almost forgot to take in and appreciate the sparkling sea next to us.

Sun down in Alvor

Sun down in Alvor

After climbing some rocks to get over a cove, our excitement built as we approached the place that we had been looking for. We found the lift, or at least a wooden panel where we were sure it had been. We assumed the place must be closed, it being winter. We then found a gap in the cliff where we were able to peer down, and there it was….what was left of the restaurant. Whether by falling rocks, or bad weather, the place was destroyed. All that was left was a shell. It was rather sad after waiting years to find the place again. Having said that, we were still delighted to have found the beach we remembered so fondly, even if, due to the lack of the lift and the tide being in, we couldn’t actually set foot on it.

After a drink at a couple of friendly bars on Alvor beach, we headed back to the car, by now feeling the usual craving for seafood that a day on the beach brings on in us. We headed into Portimao and to one of our first Algarve discoveries and favourite restaurants, that has thankfully stayed put in the years since we discovered it: Dona Barca. You will find a review over on my Food and Wine blog www.foodandwineportugal.com

The weekend was only half way through and there was still more to discover…it follows in Part 2, which will be posted in the next couple of days.

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Here comes the sun / rain again…. 2

Posted on January 11, 2010 by Ben Algarve
Meravista

When people come to visit us in Portugal it always gives us a chance to re-evaluate our decision – it encourages us to view the place through their eyes and is a good chance to take stock. After a slightly complicated Christmas (see previous post,) and torrential rain, we were most grateful that our relatives brought some sunshine with them!

Praia De Rocha - Early January

Praia De Rocha - Early January

We have spent a fantastic four days re-exploring our town and other parts of the Algarve, as well as sampling plenty of food and wine (for some new Tavira restaurant reviews see my new post at www.foodandwineportugal.com)

Although the weather was only 13/14 deg C, the sun was blazing and on a day visit to Praia De Rocha we were able to sit outside (when shielded from the wind) and even fitted in some paddling!

As always, it was sad to see them go home – it always makes the house feel strangely empty when visitors leave, and gives us the same kind of “end of the holiday” feeling we used to get when leaving Portugal as visitors. Shortly after they left I looked out of the window, saw white houses and palm trees and almost had to pinch myself when I remembered that I don’t have to go “home” and that I still live here. It was a great feeling!

Unfortunately, it seems our visitors took the sunshine away again when they left as Sunday was another day of torrential rain, leaky window frames, and new patches of mould on the walls, but I am very happy that our guests were able to see the Algarve in the sun…


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Fine food, flood and fire! 6

Posted on January 05, 2010 by Ben Algarve
Meravista

Apologies for my prolonged absence! Our first festive season in Portugal has been mixed, to say the least – so here follows a bit of an update. Much as I am a “glass-half-full” kind of person, there have been some negatives in the past few weeks, so in the interests of being fully representative of our time here, I shall tell you of the bad bits as well as the good!

Snow in London

Snow in London

Shortly after my last post we took a trip back to London to see some family, do some shopping and do some work. We were lucky to see some snow while we were there – snow, which I am sure you know, still shows no sign of abating three weeks on. A few days was quite enough for us! Our trip back was something of a high point – we wondered if we would yearn to be back in London again, but it was, in fact, quite the opposite. The same old things that annoyed the hell out of us still annoyed the hell out of us, and we were counting down the minutes until our return to Portugal before we got through Gatwick airport.

We were amazed that, after just 2 months in Portugal, we had already got used to a life without there being four more people in each square metre than there is really room for, found the sheer amount of “do this….do that….don’t do this” signage and accompanying announcements maddening and, despite having lived in the big city for over a decade, found the whole place SO fast and SO busy. It’s incredible how quickly different becomes normal.

We had a great time seeing our friends and family, felt smug that a city the size of London couldn’t manage to produce civic Christmas decorations that came close to those in Tavira, and had a lucky escape out of Gatwick, despite the weather, to return home for Christmas.

My wife had to work from home right up until the end of Christmas Eve, on the first year in five that I had a decent, long break. Perhaps next year we will manage to co-ordinate our diaries a little better and finally both have a long Christmas holiday! As a result, Christmas itself, though wonderful, was all over a little too quick. We managed to construct a full English-style Christmas lunch, including frozen sprouts – we were sadly unable to find any parsnips – perhaps next year we will drive to Spain, where apparently they are available!

While the UK had the snow, we got the rain – and not just a little – they say when it rains, it pours. “They” are correct. With only a small respite on boxing day, we got used to the water crashing down, both outside, and at some points, through gaps in our window frames. Here began our issues. With the rain came the damp, and with the damp came the mould. Day after day, we kept discovering more walls in the house dripping with water, and mould appearing in more colours and varieties than on a top-class Christmas cheese-board. We were aware houses in the Algarve are prone to damp but local people have informed us that the quantity of rain, and the amount of accompanying damp is truly unusual, the same as the extreme cold has been in the UK this year. We are currently engaged in a running battle involving air conditioning, dehumidifiers, towels, bleach sprays etc. It is not fun, and the atmosphere in the house has made us ill, but we will win this war!

Tavira Fireworks

Tavira Fireworks

New Year’s Eve came around, and as we were both quite unwell, both with mould-related issues and the after effects of over-indulgence in rich food and wine, we had a quiet night in and watched Tavira’s fireworks display from the roof terrace. The Portuguese certainly know how to put on a show – it was a truly breathtaking display – lasting about 15 minutes, set to music, and genuinely far more impressive than anything I have ever seen in the UK. It made us very proud of our little town.

The following evening though, things swung the other way. We took a wander into Tavira to watch a band playing in a temporary arena on our town square. We were enjoying a drink and really rather impressed with the rock cover-versions on offer! We spoke about how agreeable the atmosphere was and how “they could never do this in London without a load of police and security.”

Five minutes after this remark there was a huge explosion about three feet behind us. A yob had thrown a firework directly at us. Had it landed any closer, it would have done us serious harm. We were truly shaken – it was a big enough explosion to cause the band to stop playing and many people scattered, appearing to look for the perpetrators.

This incident marked the beginning of the biggest crisis of confidence we had experienced since our arrival in Portugal. The helplessness of not knowing enough of the language to say “who the f*%k did that, did you see anything?” along with feeling ill, and having a mouldy house, led to our first serious doubts since our arrival.

I am very pleased to say this only lasted a couple of days. Some chance encounters with typically friendly Portuguese people in the following days, a bit of sunshine, and the incredible service from the estate agent in helping with our mould problems quickly restored our faith. We love it again now – but as I said at the start of the post, it has certainly been a mixed few weeks!

Apologies again for the gap between posts, I won’t let it happen again :-)


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Christmas lights and cove beaches 7

Posted on December 14, 2009 by Ben Algarve
Meravista
Tavira's Christmas angel

Tavira's Christmas angel

We had an eventful weekend in the Algarve. It started off with a wonderful walk around Tavira looking at the Christmas lights. When you think about some of the awful “too cool to actually be any good” displays that have adorned London’s Regent Street is recent years it is fantastic to see Christmas done right. As I mentioned in a previous post (http://www.movingtoportugal.org/?p=175) they really go for Christmas in a big way here in Portugal and the lights in Tavira, along with a natural setting that is already pretty stunning, makes for the kind of Christmas display dreams are made of. To add to the atmosphere, outdoor speakers have been placed strategically around the town piping Christmas music out as you walk around the pretty streets. (Although hearing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” when it’s 18 degrees Celsius and sunny is rather surreal!)

On Sunday we went for a drive west to visit some cove beaches around the Carvoeiro area. All of the guidebooks advise you to steer well clear of these areas during high season as they get absolutely mobbed with tourists, leading to perfectly justified comments that these areas have been “spoiled” by tourism. Out of season though, you get to appreciate the incredible natural beauty that led to these places becoming over-run in the first place. To start with we visited Benagil – a small cove beach with the trademark stunning cliffs behind it. Despite being mid-December there were a couple of hardy souls sunbathing and, protected from the wind by the cliffs, and in the direct sun it was actually pretty warm.

We stopped for a quick drink but were unfortunately served by a young lady for whom the term “moody little cow” would be quite flattering. Having encountered plenty of nightmare Brits who don’t even attempt a “Bom Dia,” I can understand a bit of negativity but we do try our best with Portuguese and were, as always, very polite. The locals in the cafe were getting friendly smiles from the same person, so the grumpy behaviour was reserved for us. A shame. Still, if she ever fancies moving to the UK I’m sure she has a great career waiting for her in the call-centre industry.

We then headed to Praia Da Marinha. A stunning spot with amazing cliffs and rock formations. We went for a short walk east along the cliff-tops, and again, once warmed up from scrambling down the rocks, could easily have been fooled into thinking it was a warm spring day, despite it being nearly Christmas. As with many places in Portugal, it is hard to describe in words the beauty of some of these cove beaches, and we never seem to take a photo that does them justice. There is, however, one below that should give the general idea.

Cove at Praia Da Marinha

Cove at Praia Da Marinha

After our walk, we decided to check out Algarve Shopping, a huge shopping centre in Guia, near Albufeira. It was at this point that the weekend got less pleasant. A couple of posts back I was extolling the virtues of shopping centres here in Portugal and how they make a good day out destination. Well, this place for me was the exception. It was frantically busy, not surprising with it being nearly Christmas, but the whole atmosphere of the place just wasn’t the same as Tavira Gran Plaza or Algarve Forum in Faro. This really did feel like “spoiled touristy Portugal,” and I imagine it being equally unpleasant for all of the Summer season. It felt like being back in London, and we couldn’t wait to get away. To top it all, as we were leaving, I had to face my biggest fear – a large black rodent running across the car-park. We won’t be going back to Algarve Shopping! The only saving grace for this part of the day was the sunset as we left (see photo below.)

Now, with only a couple of weeks until Christmas, we have to take a quick trip back to the UK. I think it is a good sign of how we are settling in that, other that being excited about seeing friends and family, it is truly the last thing we want to do. It is strange to start yearning to be back here before we have even left. Having said that, when we get back it will be the first time we will have “come back home” to Portugal.  That feels exciting.

I will leave you with a trio of other photos of Christmas, Algarve style. Boas Festas!

View from the Roman Bridge Tavir

View from the Roman Bridge Tavira

Beach at Benagil

Beach at Benagil, mid December

Sunset over Algarve Shopping, Guia

Sunset over Algarve Shopping, Guia

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Exploring the coast –Part 1 – Santa Luzia and Praia Do Barril 0

Posted on November 23, 2009 by movingtoportugal
Meravista

For the next few days, we spent our time exploring our local coast. Our first stop, just to the west of Tavira, was a beach called Praia Do Barril. As with the majority of beaches along the Eastern Algarve, the beach is on a sand-spit island. Several of the beaches require you to take a very short ferry ride or water-taxi to reach the sands.

Praia do BarrilPraia Do Barril is slightly different in that you can take a tiny narrow-gauge train to the beach from a very pretty white-washed resort called Pedras Del Rei, or alternatively take a wonderful 15 minute walk beside the tracks – across the marshes and lagoons and through fragrant woods.

When you arrive at Barril, which forms part of the Isla De Tavira, you can quickly see why the Isla was listed in a recent survey of the top ten beaches in the world. The sands are an almost Caribbean white and soft like fine sugar and the sand and sea stretches as far as the eye can see in both directions. Being off-season, there was hardly anybody around – however there are a couple of cafes present to provide some somewhat overpriced sustenance, or, in our case, a small icy glass of Sagres beer.

Although windswept, the low dunes provide shelter from the wind and people were sunbathing happily, despite it being mid-November! Sadly, the very fun looking 6-seater pedaloes with a built in slide to splash into the sea were not for hire at this time of year, but I plan to be first in the queue when the next season begins!

On the way back to Tavira, we stopped in Santa Luzia, a rustic fishing villageSanta Luzia Village with a number of seafood restaurants. We deliberately chose the shabbiest place for a shellfish snack –determined to remain outside our comfort-zone and be forced to attempt to speak Portugese (it would be very easy to be lazy in the Algarve as anywhere even vaguely touristy-looking will assume you only speak English.) We had a plate of large prawns and in place of the clams, which were not available, we had cockles. I expected cockles to be the small chewy things in vinegar like you get in jars in the UK, but these were served in their shells, steaming hot and fresh, with wine, garlic and olive oil. They were a revelation, and I intend to slurp an awful lot more of these delicious morsels from their shells in weeks to come. Every last bit of the garlicky sauce was soaked up in the fresh bread and we left very happy.

Santa Luzia itself was a charming little place, a lot more “local” than many of the places in the Algarve, with the river shimmering at the bottom and small fishing boats bobbing around. During the Summer, it is apparently possible to take a boat across to the beach (Santa Luzia beach also forms part of the Isla De Tavira) but this didn’t appear to be running off season.

Tomorrow: Monte Gordo and Praia Verde

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Tavira….excited! 0

Posted on May 20, 2009 by movingtoportugal
Meravista

 

The source of much excitement

 

After much exploration, we have decided on Tavira to start with. We also intend to try the silver coast, renting in both areas to check all goes to plan and see which we prefer.  We have the deposit paid on a lovely town house and when not stressing about finalising things here in the UK we are getting extremely excited, mostly about the following things:

1. Shopping at the mercado for fish.

2. Learning to properly cook said fish – if there are 365 ways to cook Bacalhau I want to learn them!

3. Experimenting with sub-2 euro wine – see the food and drink forum at www.expatsportugal.com !

4. Roof terrace. BBQ. Roof terrace. BBQ.

5. Having friends to stay and impressing them with my top class sardine filleting skills (yet to be fully developed.)

I must confess to having slightly shocked myself that they are all largely food based things. I guess that solves the mystery of the expanding waist-line!

I know all of the wonderful bits will be mixed with a few unpleasent surprises and tangles with beaurocracy but I’m a glass-half-full kind of person and in truth I’m kind of looking forward to them too. At least they will hopefully provide some amusing content for this blog…

A couple of photos:

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My first ever post! 3

Posted on May 19, 2009 by movingtoportugal
Meravista

Hello world!

My blogging hobby starts here. My wife and I are six months away from swapping our hectic London life for a new one in Portugal and here I hope to keep a record of everything as it happens.

At worst, I hope to be able to refer back in years to come and have a record of the most daring thing I think I have undertaken. At best I may manage to provide some entertainment and information to some fellow internet folk along the way. Maybe we will even end up with a record to show the children we hope to start having in a couple of years how clever mummy and daddy were to make sure they were born in sunny Portugal and not rainy South London. You never know!

Before I start I must admit to my blogging being inspired by a couple of other people – The Anchored Nomad http://anchorednomad.blogspot.com/ whose Blog makes me laugh every time I read it whilst preparing me for some of the quirks of Portugese life, and Ellie Bowdery’s wonderful Algarve Shorts book which I believe also started out as a blog. http://www.goldstarbooks.co.uk/ellie_Bowdery.htm

 

 

So an early thank you to both of these people for cheering up my remaining days in London – a place I will always love, but one I sadly don’t like all that much any more.

I have to go and prepare dinner for the wife now, I’d better make sure she doesn’t become a “Blogging-widow” during typing my first post! I tend to talk a lot, and I think my next post will be a long one, as I think I need to give a bit of background on how we came to make the decision to “make the move.”

Until then….

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