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Apologies for my absence last week – it was a rather unsettled week that threw a few curve-balls in our direction!

First of all we both came down with a nasty flu-bug – I guess we were due an illness of some kind, having been very lucky on our travels between London and Portugal so far.

Being ill forced upon me a life-change that had been long overdue: I decided it was time to give up smoking – something I knew I had to do before the low cost of cigarettes in Portugal

Lifesaver - the electronic cigarette
Lifesaver - the electronic cigarette

turned me into a lifetime chain smoker. I now have behind me eight days of really rather horrific “cold turkey” and am in possession of an “electronic cigarette” to give me a blast of nicotine in an emergency.

So, between flu and cold turkey, blogging moved rather far down my list of priorities last week!

Another reason for a slightly grumpy temperament last week was the Algarve in August. We had never been here in August before and I may even go far as saying I would rather not be this time next year. It was pretty horrendous.

Restaurants that are usually a pleasure to dine in became shambolic. Supermarkets were like Christmas Eve in London and we spent time in traffic queues for the first time since we moved to Portugal.

We had been told to expect it but we weren’t really prepared for it – it was a lot busier than July. If the first time we had visited the Algarve had been in August I would say there is a good chance we never would have returned!

And then, almost as quick as we had noticed all of these people, they all disappeared. This weekend they all, collectively, buggered off again – restoring the calm and serenity of our little town. I am looking forward to again swimming in the pool without having to dive underneath a film of sun-cream, and being able to buy prawns without having to queue for half an hour. Listen to me, the grumpy new “local.”

When we originally moved to Portugal, now ten months ago, our plan was to spend a year in the Algarve and then a year a bit nearer Lisbon to decide which lifestyle we preferred. At various points we have become convinced that the Algarve is right for us, making a Lisbon experiment unnecessary. After an Algarve August we are back to considering trying out somewhere a bit nearer the city next year.

The best advice we read while preparing for this move was to rent for the first couple of years – it gives us the flexibility to change our minds and experiment – and isn’t that what life should be all about?

I’ll be back next week, hopefully as a longer term non-smoker and slightly less grumpy with it!

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  1. My wife and I have also just moved to the Algarve.
    We have owned an apartment near Albufeira for just over 3 years and during that period we have visited it during almost all the months of the year. But each visit has been for 1 – 2 weeks.
    So we believe we know what it would be like to spend all year here. But now starts the test. We have been here for 6 weeks now.
    We have also suffered the crowds of August and the dirty pools and cigarette strewn beaches.

    Why do smokers think that the world is their ash tray?
    Why do they think it is acceptable to stub their cigarettes in the sand or the poolside and then expect that nature will hide their stubs?

    No, it is us non-smokers who have to tidy up after them.
    It is great to see smokers carrying their own portable ashtrays and fag disposers, but that is an all too seldom sight.

    So, I too am grumpy about smoking, but for a different reason and I am also happy to be here.

    I am just glad the crowds are going home now.

    Regards Trevor

  2. Hi good to have you back and sorry to hear you have both been ill. I expect you caught it on the flight! Good luck with the non smoking. I gave up a few years ago and must admit I still do the occasional social smoking – usually in Tavira with our new mates! I am OK when sober, but as soon as the Vinho Verde sets in . . .

    We have never been over in July and August, we always rent out to the unsuspecting tourists who have to holiday during school holidays, but do know from various forums that it can be a complete nightmare. We are coming at the end of September, so should be nice and quiet then.

    Hope you feel better soon. Saz

  3. Hi Saz,

    If you haven’t been here in July and August I would suggest leaving it that way – don’t spoil your image of the Algarve 😉

    I know what you mean about “as soon as the Vinho Verde sets in…” We have had to almost completely stop drinking whilst trying to give up smoking – it weakens the resolve too much!

    Best wishes and enjoy your trip this month.


  4. Hi Trevor,

    Welcome to the blog.

    Try to to “tar” (pardon the pun) all smokers with the same brush. Some of us always use the ashtrays they provide on most Algarve beaches and are just as bothered by those who litter as the non-smokers are.

    Sadly, idiots form part of lots of different demographics….

    Best wishes


  5. one more thing to make you appreciate your new life.

    24 hour tube strikes . . . .

    we rest our case 🙂


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