This month marks the one year anniversary of our arrival as full time residents in Portugal. A decision that we celebrate and adore more and more each day.
It feels more and more like home everyday as we find comfort in accomplishing even the most mundane tasks. Finding our way around the streets of the local towns and villages is becoming more commonplace. That says a lot since the streets and alleyways are not built on a grid as is common in the US. It took great exploration and courage, thanks in part to Google Maps (Which at times doesnt know its way either) to find our way around. More and more comfort in finding replacement items and brands, the right store or market to find the things we need. Communicating as non-Portuguese speaking residents relying on the little we've learned so far and the willingness and patience of those around us to find a common communication ground. Relying on our Portuguese friends suggestions and recommendations for products, services and where to find them. Yes we have so much more to learn about our new home but that's part of the fun of learning a new way of life. I have to say this one is pretty good!
The weather in May has been pretty good! A little bit of Spring, Summer and Winter. Starting off with warm sunny days in the high 70´s with low humidity (20-30%) and cool nights in the low 60´s. Late in the month a few days with clouds/thunderstorms and brief periods of heavy rain. Then back to high 70´s this time with more summer like humidity (50-60%).
Portugal's economy continues to grow and remains stronger than most EU countries. Basic grocery items are easing off their highs with a few exceptions. The recent Government moratorium on grocery taxes is even more helpful the Portuguese. Gasoline prices have risen slightly up to 1,60€ per Litre (US equivalent of $6.39/Gallon). Electricity, and clothing seem to be on a slow continued decline in price.Housing seems to be slowing down a bit from the huge gains of the past few years thanks to new supply. There appears to be much more development and refurbishment happening that will add even more supply. Purchase and rental prices remain high and inflated in the popular areas like Lisbon, Porto, and along the beaches in the Algarve, but once you get out of those areas it seems to be returning to less inflated levels. With the new housing initiatives coming on line to reduce the number of homes that are solely short term rentals, and require owners to develop abandoned and ruin properties or risk losing them to the government. With all this happening I do I expect that housing prices will continue to decline from their "Bubble" to more reasonable prices that are in line with Portuguese workers income.
Interesting article in the Portugal News this month..."Portugal drinks the most wine in the world...Portugal is the country in the world that consumes the most wine per capita in the world and consumption has been increasing, according to the Deputy Director General of the Service for Intervention in Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies. “Older people consume more wine”, teenagers and young adults drink beer and younger people drink spirits (shots), said the public health doctor...He noted, however, that in Portugal, contrary to the rest of Europe, spirits are “consumed very little”, representing about 10%, while wine totals 60% and the rest is beer consumption. The gardens continue to flourish in the warm Algarvian spring. Mary's flowers and chilies are bursting to add color and flavor, Teresa´s Garden continues to provide us and those around the small farm with plenty of fresh produce.
This months activities and photos.
One of the better festivals that we have enjoyed since arriving here was the Festival dos Descobrimentos (Festival of the Discoveries) in Lagos. This years theme “D. Sebastião and the 450 years of the Elevation of Lagos to a City". The event celebrates the king, his kingdom, legends and myths, covering one of the most important periods in the history of Lagos and Portugal.
Our two new favorite beaches Praia do Vau and Praia do Alemão. Warm shallow sea, caves and rock formations, soft white sand, and amazing views
Just above Praia do Vau there is a great outdoor cocktail bar and restaurant, Green Heart@Cloque, that sits on the cliffs overlooking the beach and rocks below.
Our first Vietnamese restaurant in Portugal, Sen Tonkin in Ferragudo. In the US and in many other countries we become accustomed to the great variety of international foods that are readily available operated with great pride by immigrants that have settled in these areas. Portugal is lacking in this sense as food diversity, although evolving, is not yet as prevalent. Immigrants did not start showing up here until after the dictatorial regime of Estado Novo ended in a bloodless coup known as the Carnation Revolution April 25 1974. Immigration was slow due to the financial condition left behind. Not until recent times has the influx of tourism and an improved economy has the lure for immigrants become feasible. You will find many good Indian restaurants, and several Italian (although many are not very good), but very little other than that. We've searched diligently to uncover a few others like Thai, Chinese, Nepalese, Mexican, and now Vietnamese that quench the craving for food diversity.
There is a beach club located at the Marina in Portimao called No Solo Aqua, where you can rent lounges on the sand or at the pool for the day complete with food and beverage service. We spent one of the recent warm days there soaking in the sun and enjoying the view of the water and boats entering and departing from the harbor. Just like being at a resort!
Wine tasting afternoon with the Algarve Wine Society. We returned to Arvad, a new winery along the Arade river between Portimao and Silves. A beautiful setting, great weather and good wines made this another great event. We picked up a few bottles to add to our home collection, good wines that are already priced well @ 9.50€ were and additional 20% off during the event how could you not take a few home!
A nice Italian lunch at Pomo in Lagos, a little pricey for our area mainly due to its location in a touristic area but high quality imported Italian ingredients are worth the price.
A little perspective on food prices in the area. On the left is the bill from an Italian restaurant in a touristic area, on the right is a neighborhood restaurant in our village serving mostly locals and traditional portuguese food. Both very good but touristic area 14€ entrees and 5.50 beer vs. local area 8.80€ entree and 1.30€ beer! Both still very good options!
Another great restaurant find this time in Portimao @ the Urban Grill. Specializing in grilled meats that are served on large boards with accompaniments. Great food and a really nice atmosphere. Once again a little higher priced than most but provide high quality ingredients, great service and ambiance, and in true Portuguese tradition portion sizes that could easily be shared by two. We often share or bring home food for additional meals.
Were off to Italy Late May through early June visiting Milan and Palermo. Our flight from Faro connects in Milan so we decided to spend a few days there on our return trip. Were meeting Anna Marie in Palermo to hang out for a few days. She's in Rome for business and taking a few days of RnR in Palermo with us.
We have planned a return trip to Italy In mid June through the Emilia-Romagna region mostly for the food and wine...Think Parmigiano Reggiano, Parma ham, Balsamic vinegar, Tagliatelle and Tortellini pasta, Mortadella, Bolognese, Lambrusco etc... We'll Visit Bologna, Parma, Rimini, Ferrara, Ravenna, and Modena.
Barney and Sonny living the dream...
As always we hope everyone is doing well, healthy, happy, and thriving. We miss you and love you all...A lot!