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  • Tony

Living in Portugal - September 2023

It was a busy month with two trips to Lisbon, two weeks with guests visiting, and a ten-day trip to the US.

September started with a threat of rain, but as usual, only a few sprinkles found their way to us. Thankfully, the weather was perfect for our visitors, who got to enjoy a few of the highlights of the Algarve. Low 80s (27-29 C) was the average theme for the month, although we did hear there were a few days of actual rain while we were in the US. Except for a few days with scattered clouds and when it was raining, the humidity remained low, around 40-50% during the day. Fantastic Autumn weather in the Algarve, perfect for the peak season for Golf tourism from September through early November.

Since the weather here provides so many opportunities for outdoor recreation, we're considering buying a boat to enjoy the Atlantic's coastal waters, especially the Algarve and into Southern Spain. A boating license is required in Portugal, so I took the course in August and secured the permit to "skipper" a boat up to 10 meters (just over 32 feet). The hunt for our first boat has begun. I've always avoided boat ownership as I couldn't justify the cost of owning one based on the limited time and options we had to use it. It is different here with the vast number of opportunities to visit beautiful coastlines, Marinas, and small coastal villages. The lower cost of maintenance and upkeep in the Algarve makes it easier to justify at least giving it a try. I figure the RV thing worked out well, allowing us a new way to experience travel and exploration, so boating might be the thing to try here.

Little is happening in the garden besides a few herbs, potatoes, squash, and the abundant trees full of ripening fruits. The Persimmons primarily provided fruit for the birds to eat before anyone could harvest them. I guess that's the offering/sacrifice we make to enjoy everything else. Pomegranates are just about ready, and Mary's flowers continue to provide a beautiful backdrop of color.

Our neighborhood's Heritage (abandoned) properties are full of wild pomegranate, fig, and almond trees interlaced within centuries-old ruins and walls. I assume what used to be someone's farm now provides many residents with tasty fruits from unmanaged trees.

The wild Storks are everywhere around here. I found some more domesticated ones hanging out in the grocery store.

This months activities and photos.

Mary and I headed to Lisbon for the weekend to see the Tall Ships on display in the harbor. We drove the slower coastal route up to Lisbon along the Southwest Alentejo Vicentine Coast and stopped at Vila Nova de Milfontes and Comporta along the way.

The Tall Ships Races 2023 stopped in 3 European countries, including the UK, down the coast to A Coruna, Spain, Lisbon, Portugal, and Cadiz, Spain, before coming to a close back in Norway.

Over 11 tall ships participated more for show and fundraising than a race, although they sail these amazing ships along the route. They were all beautiful and impressive engineering works, although our favorite was the Cuauhtemoc from Mexico.

More visitors this week: our friends Dan & Lynn and Scott & Clare from Scottsdale stopped by for a few days following their trip to Amsterdam and a cruise through the north. We appreciate guests taking time out of their travels to stop in and say hello. More fun times experiencing a few things that the Algarve has to offer

  • We drove along the southwestern coast from Comporta through Aljezur, stopping at Cervejaria da Comporta for lunch, Praia da Comporta and A Choupana @ Praia do Farol in Vila Nova de Milfontes.

  • Visited Lagos, walked through the village, had happy hour & Tapas @ Avanti overlooking the Lagos Marina, and Dinner @ A Ribeira Alvor.

  • Walked along the beach @ Praia dos tres Irmaos in Alvor, Wine tasting with an ocean view @ Falesia Winery, Walked through Praia da Luz, Dinner @ Al Dente in Alvor

  • Walked the 8th century Moorish Castle walls in Silves, visited the 12th century Gothic Cathedral built over a Mosque, picnic lunch @ Parque Municipal do Sitio das Fontes, Cocktails later that evening @ Mourisco Cocktail bar in the Village of Alvor celebrating Scott & Clare's 32 anniversary

  • Breakfast @ Mel & Canella, one of our area's largest Patisseries. Afternoon in Sagres visiting the 12th century Sagres Fortress and Farol do Cabo de São Vicente. Lunch @ Agua Salgada. Dinner later that night at Restinga on the beach in Alvor

The Algarve Wine Society is back in action following the summer hiatus. This month's event was a lunch tasting at O Barradas restaurant, with wines provided by Quinta do Pinto from the Lisbon Wine Region.

Under the shade of the trees at Restaurant O Barradas near Silves, Rita Cardoso Pinto presented some of her family's wines, having escaped the chaos of harvest time at home.

A night in Lisbon before our flight out to California. We stayed in Parque das Nações, outside the tourist area on the north end of Lisbon adjacent to the airport. A redeveloped area on the Tagus River with Green spaces, public art, contemporary buildings, and the vast Lisbon Oceanarium. Plenty of trendy waterfront restaurants, Centro Vasco da Gama, shops and cinemas, expansive views of the Vasco de Gama bridge, and the very touristy Telecabine Lisboa cable car offering sweeping views. We will stay here again on another trip to Lisbon to explore the offerings of this area.

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!

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