Living in Portugal - July 2023
Updated: Aug 1
Staycations can be just as good as traveling, especially when you are avoiding the crush of travelers who seem to have descended on Europe this the summer. I understand the pent up need to travel and experience new things post pandemic but with so many reports of sold out tourist attractions, bad behavior, and damage being done to historic monuments it's nice to be able to stay home for a few months and soak in the surroundings that the Algarve has to offer.
Like so many other popular european destinations the Algarve has experienced its summer crush too with record breaking visitor counts up nearly 20% from pre-pandemic years, and Portuguese airport passenger traffic up 29% from last year!
One of the benefits of being a resident here we're learning the locals secrets of where to hang out and where to avoid during the peak holiday periods. Luckily there are many off the beaten path beaches, villages, restaurants, and activities that are amazing respites from the large crowds. It's not all about avoidance though, sometimes it's fun to join in with the crowds too and experience the Algarve like a tourist. Fortunately July and August are filled with plenty of entertainment options both large and small. Concerts, festivals and fairs throughout the country to keep everyone entertained, both residents and visitors alike.
As with a large amount of Europe, US and other nations, we have experienced a very hot first half of July. Although we certainly can't complain about high temperatures in the mid 90´s when others are experience much hotter temperatures than that, it is still a bit warm for us. Luckily we can also escape the heat by heading west toward the San Vicente coast or by simply heading to the beach down the street for a refreshing dip in the Atlantic. More normal temperatures arrived for the back half of the month with temperatures in the low to mid 80´s.
The gardens continue to provide plenty of fruits and vegetables while Mary's flowers continue to add color and beauty to the area. Teresa´s Garden continues to provide us and those around the small farm with plenty of fresh produce. The tomatoes arrived in buckets but have just about finished their cycle. We learned from last years bounty to freeze/preserve them so we can enjoy them year round. Now its Figs and Peaches, we've managed to keep up with the early volume but are quickly becoming overwhelmed from the four large heritage fig trees on the property. While the peaches are manageable, well try to dry some of the figs this year to enjoy later.
Were putting the finishing touches on a small outdoor BBQ and dining space with bamboo strips providing additional shade, a gravel base, and plants for decor.
This months activities and photos.
Sorry, most are cell phone photos and not from the Nikon this month so the quality may not be the best.
One of the early festivals in the Algarve, Lota Cool market in Portimao is a small festival at the old Portimão fish market along the river with a few eco-friendly craft vendors and local artisans, with a stage for music and a few food trucks.
One of our favorites from last year the ‘Mercado de Culturas à Luz das Velas’ in nearby Lagoa. A market of cultures filled with candlelight designs laid out on the streets throughout the upper village. This years main focus was latin cultures with great music spread throughout the village in four different stages. Mexican, Cuban and Argentinian bands performed on the night that we were there, The Cuban was or favorite. The artisans/vendors are always high quality and unique products but the food stands were overwhelmed by this years crowds.
We took a break from the heat of early July and headed to the beach of Montes de Clerigos along the Vicentine Coast in Southwest portugal. Always a beautiful less crowded area with temperatures about 10-15 degrees cooler. Nice location for lunch too...
Another beach day to beat the heat in favorite small village of Salema. We first fell in love with Salema and the Algarve during an early vacation and visit here.
The town of Lagos generally does a great job with their festivals and events and this one didn't disappoint. The 8th edition of the Lagos Street Food fest, one of the largest festivals of its kind in the Algarve was mainly focused on unique food trucks from throughout the country. The event also featured live and DJ music from well known european artists.
In the foothills above Portimao, Silves was home to its annual Beer Fest this month.
featuring over 70 types of beer from some of Portugal’s main brands to several craft/artisan producers. Of course there were food trucks, handicraft stalls and live entertainment. Fortunately the heat started to subside this week making this cool evening a welcome relief. Portugal has not quite caught up to the craft beer level of California but are rapidly catching up with several great beers represented here.
Our first full fledged professional Football match this month, The Troueu do Algarve (Algarve Cup) took place in Faro to a sold out crowd of around 30,000 fans. We were fortunate to get tickets for the highly anticipated return of Cristiano Ronaldo with his new Saudi League team Al-Nassr. The matches are all friendly games but the fact that Portugal's King of Soccer Ronaldo was to play against the beloved team of Benfica, one of Portugal's best and most most loved league champions. Not quite as rowdy as a match in the UK but in the style of Portugal mostly a family affair but the vast majority sporting jerseys of Benfica. Benfica won the match 4-1.
Portimao Wine Fest set in the ruins of Fortaleza de Santa Catarina providing for spectacular views overlooking Praia de Rocha, The Arade River and Ferragudo. A nice cool evening with wineries from the Portimao region, a few food options and entertainment. We ran into a few friends that we have met through the local expats group.
Barney and Sonny living the dream...On the advice of our Vet and Pet-Sitter both boys are experiencing a change in food, both for weight control, general health and Sonny for some issues with crystal accumulation in his bladder. Both are not thrilled with the change but dealing with it. Sonny´s crystals are improving and Barney has shed a pound or two. Our neighbor cat loves to eat cucumbers, zucchini, and other vegetables so we thought that we would try with our boys too... At first Barney loved the cooked carrots and zucchini but lately as you can see in the photo/expression he's not thrilled with his vegetable plate.
As always we hope everyone is doing well, healthy, happy, and thriving. We miss you and love you all...A lot!