Moving to Portugal – 20 Questions

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A bit of fun this week. Alyson, the author of another expat blog, , approached me to do a short interview about the Moving to Portugal blog and my life here in the Algarve. You will find my interview by visiting this link. I enjoyed answering the questions so much that I suggested we do it as a joint feature, so she agreed to answer the questions herself too, so read on for her interview!

1 Why did you start to write your blog?

I was inspired by Ben’s Moving to Portugal blog as I found this such a useful resource as we planned our own move to live here in the Algarve – it was great to find someone who had already ‘been there and done it’ and it inspired me to start my own blog. It was also a great way to keep in touch with friends, and to answer the same question we kept being asked ‘How’s it going?’ (We’re still asked that one now – and also ‘How’s the weather out there?’)

Alyson's Algarve Blog
Alyson's Algarve Blog

2 Why did you choose Portugal to live?

We fell in love with the sleepy fishing village of Ferragudo about eight years ago after a last-minute unplanned holiday to the area; and five years ago we managed to finalise our plans to sell up in the UK and buy our house out here. It then took another 4  1/2 years of planning and plotting to actually move out here.

3 What do you love most about where you live?

I love the people, our neighbours are all Portuguese and so friendly, helpful and gentle. The weather, obviously, but also the peace, slower pace of life, fantastic light for photography and painting, and the great simple food.

4 Is there anything you miss about the UK?

We have friends and family there and we obviously miss them – although the diary is filling up with visitors! Sometimes I miss the range of shops we had, how easy it was to get just about anything you might need, and some food items are hard to find here. But there’s a MUCH longer list of things I don’t miss!

5 Quick choice:

Mac or PC? – PC – I love the sleek design of a Mac but have not been tempted yet!

Starter or dessert? – Dessert every time!

Early morning or late night? – Erm, neither! I’m so not a morning person, but I also like going to bed and reading too!

Air con or log fire? – We don’t have either here – but a log fire would win for me – crackling and welcoming

XFactor or Strictly Come Dancing? – Strictly every time! I love Brucie!

6 What book(s) are you reading now?

Oh I’m a very shallow reader sometimes – I love soppy romantic fiction, so my Danielle Steel books are all being devoured again having been in the loft for so long. Also loving ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield.

7 Do you have a role model or someone who has inspired you?

As a teenager growing up it was Cliff Richard! I have just started a new blog and I have posted about the artists that have inspired me – The People Who Encouraged me to Paint

8 What blogs and web-sites do you read regularly?

Jeff GoinsMr Inspiring!

Tamara Out Loudlove her quirky take on life.

Robert Brault –  love his quotes!

9 For people new to your blog, where should they start?

Just dive in there and see what catches your eye – and maybe check out the About Us page too!

10 What is your favourite meal to order in a restaurant?

I’d have to travel for this one, I’d have Salada do Polvo (octopus salad) for a starter from the little restaurant near the beach in Burgau; rabbit stew from a little restaurant we love in Odeceixe, and then mousse de caramel from Toc Toc’s in Ferragudo.. with a nice red wine (Monte Velho is good!)

The Beach at Ferragudo
The Beach at Ferragudo

11 What were your best subjects at school, and do they relate to your work now?

P.E. English and Art – So I took a degree in sport, a teaching qualification PGCE in PE and English, and then joined the Police, working my way out and into senior education roles! Finally I am now able to concentrate on my painting and art, and I am loving every minute.

12 Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about starting their own blog?

Go for it – but have a ‘theme’ and a purpose – and consider something like WordPress as an easy way of hosting and designing a site.

13 Where else can we find you on the web or in print – any books, articles, Facebook or Twitter account?

Just started a new blog, thethoughtpalette, as I wanted somewhere that I could write more generally – I would often hear or see something and think ‘oh I want to blog about that’ but I didn’t fit the Algarve Blog theme. You can see our art and photography on our web-site A3 Art.

14 Can you share one thing about yourself that we would never know about you from reading your blog?

I’m a huge fan of John Barrowman!

15 For people considering a move to live abroad, what would you recommend they do first?

Visit the place lots of times first – at different times of the year, not just during the ‘holiday times’ – i.e. see what it’s like in Winter! Ask lots of people lots of questions, and maybe plan to rent first, if you can, to see if you like it enough to want to live there.

16 Can you name three favourite places you would recommend people visit if they are on holiday here in the Algarve?

Ferragudo, Silves and the West Coast.

Silves, Algarve, Portugal
Silves, Algarve, Portugal

17 Do you have any tips or tricks for anyone who has just arrived to live here in Portugal? And is there anything you wish you had found out or discovered sooner about living out here?

Learn to slow down! Eat where the locals eat and shop where they shop. Take time to settle and don’t rush things.

And I wish I had realised how slowly the wheels of organisations can actually turn – we are still trying to get our address at the bank updated and sort out our on-line banking!

18 How’s your Portuguese and  what would you recommend for people wanting to learn the language?

Oh I wish it was better! We are not frightened to ‘have a go’ now and we have found the Portuguese are very friendly and will always try to help you – usually by speaking English which doesn’t help us learn the language! We have found the Michel Thomas CDs very good as a starting point.

19 What is your favourite:

Film? – ‘What dreams may come’ – a little known Robin Williams film

Book? – ‘Wind in the Willows’ – Kenneth Grahame

Album/Music? – Sugarland, John Mayer, Tricia Yearwood – there’s a long list!

Gadget? – Before I left my last job I was a real gadget girl with all the latest toys, but now I would have to say it is my camera.

20 And finally, where do you think you will be in five years’ time, and what will you be doing?

Hopefully still living here in the Algarve; I would love to be known as a professional artist, with regular exhibitions shared jointly with Dave and his photographs, and maybe to have finally written that book that is lurking inside!

Don’t forget to check out my own interview over at the Algarve Blog.

Readers interested in the Portuguese language course recommended by Alyson can find it at the link below:

Total Portuguese with the Michel Thomas Method (Michel Thomas Series)

Image Credits: joaoa, timo_w2s

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3 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Loved to see you’re reading Enid Blyton in Portuguese – I have a few, and can also recommend the Academia dos Caça Dragões (by Kate McMullan) series. I’ve been learning Portuguese for some years, and we are trying to sell our house in England to move out there permanently. A friend and I meet weekly to try and improve our knowledge of the language – we are currently reading Sense & Sensibility; quite challenging, but at least we have an English copy too! Previously we read Terry Pratchett’s Mort – interesting in Portuguese with Mort and Morte!
    Just love your blog – so many useful tips, links and general interest. Thanks Ben.

  2. Hi Ben, just read your interview – fascinated about you being a child actor ! You obviously decided that acting wasnt your thing as you got older 🙂

    Great interviews.


  3. Thank you both for your kind comments 🙂

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