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Living in Portugal - June 2024

Summer has arrived in the Algarve! For the few days between our travels, we have enjoyed summer conditions with warm days and tropical nights. The weather has been fantastic.


We had a few days to enjoy the weather between our trip to Africa and California. We're looking forward to a few months at home here without significant travel. I know it is hard to feel sorry for us. We've taken some fantastic trips this year and don't regret one, but we're feeling a little travel-weary and ready to enjoy this beautiful area we call home.


For a garden update, our neighbors Teresa and Luis (pictured below) have been busy in June, with the garden flourishing in the warm weather. Flowers are holding their own in the heat, but the vegetables and fruit trees love the long, warm, sunny days. Teresa has already delivered some of the harvest: Pimentao (Bell peppers), Pepino (Cucumbers), Batata (Potato), Vagens (Green beans), Cebola (Onions), Beringela (Egg Plant), and Nectarinas (nectarines). The Tomate (tomatoes) are nearly 6' tall, reaching for the sun, and ready to harvest soon. Meanwhile, the Figos (fig) trees are full of green fruit ready in the next few weeks, The Silves Laranja (oranges) produce so much fruit we can't give it away to friends fast enough, and the rest of the citrus trees, Maca (apples), Pessego (peach), Abacate (avocado), are in fruit waiting to further ripen in the summer sun


Finally, we're getting a few days to enjoy our boat on the beautiful Atlantic coast. It's always a good time out on the boat, whether it's with great friends or just the two of us. I'm looking forward to many more boat days to come.


It's a whole new world of new perspectives from the water. Beautiful seaside villages, rock cliffs, caves, and the colors of the sea are amazing.


This month's wine club dinner featured wines from Quinta Madre de Água in the Dao wine region near Gouveira in northeast Portugal. The wines were good and very reasonably priced. They have impressive facilities ranging from the Winery and three distinct vineyards, an excellent restaurant, a Lusitano stud farm, a large flock of sheep they keep for cheese making, and a rescue kennel for about 100 dogs. Check them out here; we're looking forward to a visit there in the spring. https://quintamadredeagua.pt/en/


This menu board is outside a popular local restaurant in Montes de Alvor, Taberna Mula Cheia. I just wanted to share with those unfamiliar with Portugal that this is a typical offering and price at a traditional Portuguese restaurant that caters to locals, not necessarily tourists. The food and service are good, not excellent but enjoyable for a casual rural restaurant.


Mary and I took the boat out on a beautiful, calm day on the Atlantic. We motored west from Portimao, passing Lagos, Luz, Burgau, and Salema. We found a quiet, deserted cove near Praia das Furnas and anchored for a bit, enjoying a peaceful lunch on the boat.


To begin our trip to the US, we decided to spend the night in Lisbon before our morning flight. Last time we were in Lisbon, we explored the Parque das Nações area along the Tagus River, a 10-minute ride east of the Airport. It is a great area to explore with fewer tourists, and it has an excellent aquarium, shopping, and restaurants lining the riverfront. We saw a houseboat rental business in the Marina and decided to stay here instead of a stuffy hotel room. Great choice; the houseboats are smaller but perfect for a short stay, or choose a larger one with up to three bedrooms. We had some time available in the afternoon, so we visited the Aquarium.


Our first few days in California were spent with Family and friends. We had fantastic experiences in the city, paying tribute to Willie Mays outside the stadium and enjoying Baseball again with the VIP treatment from Anna Marie.


We happened to be in the City during Pride weekend, so we decided to make the best of it, mostly thanks to our friend AM. A drag show at Feinstein's at the Nikko, Walking Market street at night under the rainbow laser (one of our gay friends said, "Do you think that it's a coincidence that the Laser light show starts at the Ferry building?") and a brunch above the Parade preparation at Anna Marie's house.


We experienced our first ride in a driverless car around the city. When pedestrians realized no one was in the driver's seat, we received many looks. Several of these Wamo cars were zipping around the city. We also visited the Ferry terminal and enjoyed the Farmers market on Saturday. We couldn't pass up the iconic Porchetta sandwich!


We were scheduled for an early morning flight to Phoenix and drive to Flagstaff on Monday to visit Mom. When we woke up to head to the airport, we got a message that our flight was canceled and the next available flight would be Tuesday evening. We adjusted our hotels and rental cars after hours online and on the phone. Since our flight to Phoenix is now 24+ hours away, we decided to head to Santa Rosa and see the Bondi's for dinner. The Palomino's dropped us at the rental car center and off we went to Santa Rosa.


We were both feeling fatigued and nearly falling asleep on the drive north, so we decided to rest after checking into the hotel. With us both feeling under the weather, Mary more so than I, I decided to get Mary some medication and a couple of home COVID tests just to be sure before we came in contact with anyone. Sure enough, Mary tested Positive for Covid, so we canceled our plans with the Bondis that night and for the next few days, including our trip to Flagstaff to see Mom.& Gary.


The next day, following an online Doctor visit, we were in search of Paxlovid, the latest Covid symptom cure. The Pharmacist called to inform us that the Paxlovid would cost about $2,000 USD without insurance! After a few calls and emails with our travel insurance, we quickly determined that reimbursement for such an absurd drug expense was probably not in the cards. Fortunately, after speaking with the Pharmacist, he provided us with a website that would help the uninsured get a better price on the drug. Better price indeed; it ended up costing nothing! $0.00! From the first dose of Paxlovid, Mary could already feel the effect and started feeling much better right away. Since she was still testing positive, it was best for us to quarantine and not risk spreading to our families. Masked up, we managed to get out and enjoy the area a little, socially distant, of course.


Finally testing negative on Friday, we were able to enjoy dinner out with the Bondis (all decked out in their Giants "Beat LA" shirts that we brought for them) and again for breakfast the next day before we departed for the airport and home to Portugal. It's always great to spend time with family, but difficult to be so close but so far away.


Sadly, we didn't get to visit Mom and Gary in Flagstaff. Our initial flight there was canceled, and with the Covid surprise, it was nearly impossible to get out there and see them during our time in the US. We'll just need to try again soon.


As if all the travel woes already incurred weren't enough, Our scheduled flight home on Saturday was canceled. Quite an ordeal after being delayed, we finally boarded, then waited on the plane, then off the plane, and more delays; our 7:20 pm flight was finally canceled around 11:00 pm. TAP, the Portuguese airline, was so disorganized after asking us to re-claim our luggage and more waiting, we were told they had nothing for us: no Hotel rooms or Vouchers, No meal vouchers, No transportation, and no re-booking information. We were basically on our own, all 250 passengers. Fortunately, we found a room at the Airport Hyatt, and after a long on-hold time with customer support, we decided to get some rest.


The next morning, we received a re-booking for the next flight, spent some time at the airport museum, and then checked in, only to be delayed again by over two hours. Fortunately, we finally took off, heading home to Portugal!


After all of that, it's good to be home!


Barney and Sonny were well-behaved for the most part during our absence. The pet sitters send daily videos showing what they are up to. They are still living the dream in the Algarve.


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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