top of page
  • Tony

Living in Portugal - March 2024

A quiet start of the month for us allowing plenty of time to relax and enjoy the Algarve. A mix of much-needed rain and welcome sunshine has fueled the spring flower bloom. Wildflowers, flowers on the fruit trees, and grape vines in the region fill the air with their fragrant perfume. We are so blessed to live in not only an abundant garden of our neighbor, but in a region that is home to expansive groves of citrus, almond, fig, avocado, carob, peach, and other tree fruits and vineyards. It is so refreshing to see and smell everything coming to life in the early spring.

Not only are the plants and flowers coming alive in the spring but so is the activity of tourism. Many of the shops and restaurants that took advantage of the slow season for a holiday break are back, the beach concessions are setting up for a busy season, and the streets are filling with the accented voices of visitors from around the world.

Toward the end of the month, we experienced some crazy weather providing a brief interruption on our steady progress into spring. Starting with a phenomenon that occurs about once per year; A Saharan dust storm traveling a thousand miles or more blanketing the Iberian Peninsula with fine particles of sand dust. These dust storms can travel from Northern Africa as far north as Paris. This month's dust storm happened to also collide with a cold rain storm from the North creating "Mud Rain" leaving the streets, cars, and buildings covered in a thin layer of fine mud. Luckily the rain system was strong enough to push the Saharan dust storm back to Africa and after a few days of heavy rain washed most of the Sharan mud away. Following the mud rain a week of heavy rain, high wind and big surf greeted the Algarve and provided additional needed relief to our drought situation.

The gardens around us seem to love the mix of weather. The California Poppy seeds that we brought with us have taken hold and are taking over providing an array of bright orange blooms. The citrus trees are beginning to bloom even though they still have winter fruit still on the branches. Teresa has been busy planting tomatoes, beans, bell peppers, and zucchini while the Favas, potatoes, and others planted previously continue to grow. while the herbs seem to be unstoppable here the parsley, sage, lavender, thyme, and chives are growing year-round and spreading throughout the gardens.

We'll have more to share in April

  • A Trip to the South of France

  • A special Wine Society Dinner in Faro featuring the Spanish Bodega Pago de Vallegarcia. The "Pago" designation (only 21 winery designations in the country), represents the highest appellation status in Spain, denoting wines produced from Spain's finest vineyards.

  • A weekend trip to Lisbon to see our new boat featured in the Lisbon Boat Show

  • Finally the Christening and launch of our new boat!

  • Portugal's 50th Celebration of the Carnation Revolution to mark the country's transition away from autocratic rule April 25, 1974

  • And a close friend visiting from America

A few photos from the month...

Group hike along the Alvor River and estuary

Dinner with friends celebrating Elena's birthday

We were invited by our neighbors to the Grand opening of Mandala, a bar and restaurant above the beach at Praia de Rocha in Portimao. Our neighbor's son who also happens to be blessed with the great name Tony, is the manager of the new and improved Mandala. With spectacular views, a great-looking menu, and of course great management this place should do great.

Celebrating our friend Larby's birthday at Restaurante Pôr Do Sol

Group Hike in Carrapateira along the Costa Vicentina on the western coast of the Algarve. The coast here reminds me of the rustic shores of northern California

Our friend Elena is Columbian and made us some delicious Colombian empanadas

We seem to be gaining more and more ethnic restaurant options in the Algarve recently. This is from K-Bob a small casual Korean joint in Alvor. Decent Korean Fried chicken and Japchae.

A Sunny day with some spectacular clouds surrounding us made for a beautiful beach walk along Alvor beach

A foggy day kike with friends along the cliffs between Burgau and Luz. We rarely see fog here and when we do it reminds us of living in Carpinteria. Fog is more likely to happen along the Western end of the Algarve from Luz West but almost non-existent where we live in Alvor

St Patrick's Day in Alvor. The Village has several Irish bars that cater to tourists and of course, the Irish visitors were out in force representing the green. We, on the other hand, decided to have Mexican food on St Patrick's Day just across the small street from a very festive Irish bar.

A warm but overcast day for a walk on Alvor beach. The water was a bit warmer today and a light turquoise color due to the current shift bringing waters from the Mediterranean

Spring is here! Baby Goats, Lamb, and Storks are popping up everywhere. These two were eating everything in sight around a house near us. Who needs a lawn mower when you have these in your arsenal

Aperitif and Sunset on a cool March evening at the Cloque sitting on the cliff above the Atlantic

This month's wine club event is at Veneza Restaurant and Garrafeira. Not only is the food great here, but we also get to dine in the cellar containing one of Portugal's largest collections of wine and spirits.

Our ship has come in! (thought that I would make the joke before anyone else could). On a trailer across Europe in less than a week from Poland to Vilamoura in Portugal. It's all wrapped up for transport unloaded and ready for inspection and preparation next week. Between our travel schedule, the bureaucracy of registering it in Portugal, and its appearance in the Lisbon Boat show, it looks like we won't be on the water for a few weeks. Anticipation!

While we were visiting our boat in Vilamoura, a stop for Mexican food was in order.

Páscoa – Easter in Portugal and Holy week (Semana Santa) are very important periods here due to the vast majority of the population being Catholic. Religious services, processions, and observances are held in every village and parish. Many festivities are designed for family and activities for children are everywhere.

We invited a few friends over to celebrate Easter with lots of good food and some great conversation. We prepared roast leg of Lamb and barbequed Algarvian Shrimp, Lamb chops, and Merguez sausage. Mary whipped up Au Gratin Potatoes and Asparagus, Elena made Buñuelos, and Gloria prepared a beautiful flan cake for dessert. We broke out a few wines that we have collected from various wine events and a nice 2017 Port that we picked up on our last trip to Porto. Apparently, we were too engaged in eating, drinking, and talking and had very few photos to share from the day's festivities.

Barney and Sonny living the dream in the Algarve. Our neighbor's new puppy has adopted us as his aunt and uncle as his owner says. He can see us pulling into our driveway when he's out on his patio and gets all excited begging us to come by and pet him and play. He is especially fond of Mary.

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