A Year In Portugal (nearly)

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It’s hard to believe that in just ten days time we will have been living in Portugal for a year. The time has flown past in a wonderful whirlwind of barbecues, wine and seemingly endless Easyjet flights to and from the UK for work trips.

A year on, I can genuinely say we have no regrets about making the move. It certainly hasn’t all been plain sailing, and although we have now experienced first-hand all the different seasons, we still have plenty of “firsts” to come…..our first tax returns and our first Portuguese car purchase being just two that make me shudder a little bit.

Recently though, we have started to realise how far we have come. Arriving back from working in London last week was the first time I didn’t experience a few unsettled days on our return to Portugal. Here is undoubtedly home now, and the homesick “what have we done?” moments that used to be quite frequent seem to be a thing of the past.

Salad on Altura beach in late October
Salad on Altura beach in late October

Some more family members have completed their move over here in the last couple of weeks as well, and knowing the answers to some of their questions as new arrivals makes us realise we have actually learned rather a lot, even though along the way it hasn’t always felt like we were learning that much!

The same applies to our Portuguese. We have been far more slack than we intended, but can now catch the jist of the odd news story on the radio and understand a tiny bit of conversations—again, progress we have made without really noticing we were making it.

So, all in all we have little to complain about at the moment. The weather has been perfect since our return from the UK. When summer finishes in the Algarve, what you get next is far more like another spring than an autumn, which makes this seasonally-affected blogger a very happy man 🙂

Readers of Food and Wine Portugal will know that we decided last week to have a go at Weightwatchers, and I am proud to say that I have managed to lose 4 pounds of the weight gained by excessive consumption of clams, wine and custard tarts over the summer. A very positive result, although I have to confess that the sight of someone slurping a plate of fresh cockles, swimming in olive oil and butter, was almost heart breaking as we headed to the sands of Altura on Saturday with our packed lunch of salad (with a carefully calorie-counted portion of croutons.)

Even so, we intend to stick with it for a little while, if only to leave some room for some planned overindulgence as we approach our first big family Christmas in the Algarve. Rest assured though, that I didn’t move to the Algarve in order to ABSTAIN from eating cockles and clams!

That’s about it for now. Stay tuned over the next few days for the second in my series of articles exploring the costs of living here in Portugal-this time focussing on the work situation. Have a great week.

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4 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Happy forthcoming Taviranniversary!:}

    Glad to see you are still ‘Happy in Tavira’.

    I am interested to hear how you are getting on with cycling, and whether the purchase of Supermarket bikes was worth it? Thinking of it too to cut the hire car costs for our visits.



  2. Good to see you back – I thought for one minute you were so entranced with Southampton you had stayed on. We were in Milford on Sea at the weekend – at the inlaws- and went to watch Saints muller Oldham – a happy day indeed.

    Good luck with the car purchase and indeed with weight watchers. At least you are in the right place for lots of grilled fish . . .

    Cant believe its been a year!

    Saz 1

  3. Congratulations!!!

    To celebrate you have to try Bacalhau.

    Learning to appreciate this tradional dishe, specially the Bacalhau cozido is your final test as a Portuguese learner.

    Fico muito feliz, por ver que o meu País ainda é capaz de proporcionar bons moemntos a gente boa. Felicidades!

  4. @ A&L – Thank you for your good wishes. Still enjoying cycling, although we have a car now which promotes laziness.

    The cheap bikes? Hmmm….not a disaster, but both have needed repairs. Handlebars worked loose on mine and the thread went on the pedal crank on my wife’s. Next time I will aim to spend more than €50 I think 😉

    @Saz – Thank you for your message, glad to say I am back and didn’t decide to remain in Southampton. Wight watchers going well – have lost over half a stone, it is however getting harder and harder to resist clams dripping in oil!

    @CcoR – You have given me the push I needed. I need to buy some bacalhau, learn to do the soaking and everything etc. so I will do so as soon as I am off weightwatchers and allowed Bacalhau a Bras again, which I amagine is a little too calorific for my current regime!

    Best wishes


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