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


Winter Life in Portugal – Rainy Days and Mondays 0

Posted on March 07, 2013 by Ben Algarve

Life in Portugal doesn’t always involve sitting on the beach and drinking cocktails, although of course I do try to do that as often as possible (it’s Lou here today, by the way). This week, with high winds and torrential rain, we have hibernated indoors with the heating on full blast.

The miserable weather has given me a chance to spend some time furthering my studies of the Portuguese language, to watch a few movies and to spend some time in the kitchen, the results of which can be seen on our sister blog, Food and Wine Portugal. It has been a chance to regroup and relax in our lovely home.

So much rain, even the plants are suffering

So much rain, even the plants are suffering

However, a full week of this weather has led me to reflect on a fact often overlooked by holidaymakers and those considering moving to Portugal – there is really very little to do here when the weather is bad.

Once you have exhausted the shopping centres and worked your way through the cinema listings, the Algarve quickly runs out of bad-weather attractions. Strolling around pretty little towns, lazing on the beach and sitting outside a café for a coffee are all activities that quickly lose their appeal when it’s pouring with rain. The result has been – in our village at least – that locals have either stayed indoors or flocked to the village’s bars, seemingly content to simply sit and drink until the sun comes out.

Winter life in Portugal - the beach isn't so inviting in the rain

Winter life in Portugal – the beach isn’t so inviting in the rain

Thankfully we both work fulltime, so the bad weather hasn’t had the chance to lead to too much boredom. Once you add in the usual domestic chores, which sadly don’t go away when you move to another country, the day fills up pretty quickly. So for the moment it’s a case of battening down the hatches, working hard and saving up for the dreaded annual Portuguese tax bill. Still, it will all be worth it once the sun finally comes out again and we can begin to enjoy all the wonderful activities that summer life in Portugal has to offer.

Image credits: Wikimedia

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The weather outside is frightful…. 7

Posted on January 19, 2010 by Ben Algarve

Anyone who has been reading the blog for a while will know that I pride myself on being a “Glass half full” kind of person. Unfortunately the last week or so has done its best to test my usual resolve.

Rain rain go away...

Rain rain go away...

Firstly, the weather….the Algarve is reported to average around 300 days of sunshine annually. That being the case, by my reckoning the sun should come out at the end of the week and stay out until next Christmas!  I wasn’t under any illusions that we wouldn’t get a winter here at all but, according to locals, this winter has been unusually wet and dull.

My wife and I never realised how much we would yearn for central heating. As mentioned in a previous post, damp is a huge problem in traditional Algarve houses. Before we moved here, we couldn’t understand why the Portuguese seemed to favour more modern properties. Now we know. Despite a team of cleaners de-moulding our house, investment in dehumidifiers and other steps, we are still fighting a losing battle against mould in our house which seems intent on destroying our clothes and possessions. There are so many different varieties of mildew appearing that I am sure groundbreaking medical discoveries could be made here if only we knew what to look for!

In all seriousness though, it is well documented that it simply isn’t healthy to live in this environment (especially with asthma!) My wife and I are taking it in turns to be unwell, and spending far too much of our free time keeping on top of mould. It isn’t funny anymore. We have had to step up our hunt for our next property, which is sad because this house is perfect in every other way.

The other small problem this damp issue is causing is that it is near impossible to get any clothes or towels dry. It’s amazing how much you take for granted the ability to dry undergarments on a radiator if required…Even though the rain has slowed, it does seem to know exactly when to return in order to drench the almost-dry clothes on the line!

Knowing we have to move again, having to rotate bedrooms relentlessly to avoid mould, feeling ill and/or “seasonally affected” half the time, and rarely having any clean pants, just doesn’t really feel like the dream that we spent several years building up to! It isn’t causing us to have doubts as-such. Although we have occasional home-sickness feelings, not helped by the issues listed above, we would still rather be here than in the UK. We have been very unlucky with the house we chose and just have to stick it out until the weather improves and we can get moved to somewhere more appropriate (and more modern!)

Apologies for starting the week on a negative note, but I do have a responsibility to people reading this blog who may be planning to make a move here, to not always present a rose-tinted view of things. It has all been a little bit bittersweet of late….

To conclude, some tips for anyone planning to move to the Algarve, based on our recent experiences:

  1. There is a clear reason why a lot of locals prefer to live in modern properties – if you fancy a traditional house, go and have a look at it after three days of rain and have a REALLY good look at the walls!
  2. Get central heating, or budget a small-fortune to keep your air conditioning on 24/7!
  3. Get a tumble dryer or a lot more pants than you would ever expect to need!
  4. Don’t be fooled into thinking there isn’t a real winter.
  5. Keep smiling!

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