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  • Tony

Living in Portugal - December 2023

Happy 2024!


The holidays take on such a different tone here than we are used to in the US. It's hard to describe but the pace of life, deadlines, shopping, events, etc. just don't have the same sense of hectic urgency as we experienced in the states. Maybe it's because Thanksgiving doesn't happen here, maybe because we are retired, I'm not sure exactly what it is. There just doesn't seem to be the same Christmas crunch! With the exception of gifts for the kids, family's focus more on spending time together than giving gifts. The office parties are rare replaced by Church activities, family outings to Christmas festivals, and mostly activities focused around the kids. I imagine its what Christmas was like before mass commercialization happened.


The weather here was varied throughout the month, quite a bit of rain, some cool nights, but an equal amount of sunshine.


Mary and I were both sick this month, I imagine from the travel in November and December where we felt like several people on the flights were sick, coughing and sneezing and spreading whatever they had. Note to self, when traveling in the winter wear a mask on the plane! I did see in the news that both here in Europe and in the US there seems to be a high level of respiratory illnesses floating around.



A few other highlights from the month...


Our Wine Society dinner this month was held at the Laranjal restaurant at the Octant Vila Monte Resort in the countryside just North of Tavira. The setting was magical, the food fantastic and the wine supplied by Lima Mayer wines from the Alentejo, was also good.


Since the dinner was about an hour drive from our home we opted to spend the night at the Octant. Our first time hearing about the resort, a definite hidden gem in the Algarve


We passed through Tavira on the way home and walked through the Tavira Castle and its gardens


Our house is all decked out for Christmas. It was nice to see more of our neighbors participate with lights and decor this year as last year we were one of the few. One of the nearby Condo's went all our with a very festive light display.


A warm December walk through Alvor


What has become an annual event for us, the Porches Christmas Market was another hit this year.


We finally found really good mexican food in Portimao. Ay Wey is run by two young men, one from Columbia, and the Chef from Veracruz Mexico. The Birria tacos, the Totopos Puercos, and the Ay Wey Cocktail made with Tequila, lime, orange, and grapefruit were all fantastic.


A few images of festive decor in our area


For Christmas day we were invited to dinner at the home of new friends and fellow expats Larbi, Gloria and their dog Jake that live near us. Recent arrivals and new friends Ken and Jen were invited too. Gloria put together a nice evening filled with great food and fun. It was nice to spend Christmas with a fun group who have also made the leap to Portugal


Since we were both under the weather for NY Eve, we didn't get out to experience any of the festivities around us. I borrowed a few photos from others so you could see what its like here.


Portimao along the Arade river


A few shots from Lagos


Video from our friends in Madeira of the famous New Years fireworks in Funchal Madeira



Barney and Sonny enjoying the festivities of Christmas...


We wish you all a prosperous, healthy, and happy new year. It's our hope that your plans for this year include a trip to Portugal to visit us.


As always we hope everyone is doing well, healthy, happy, and thriving. We miss you and love you all...A lot!




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