October in Portugal
It's starting to feel like fall here with the weather varying from a few days of rain and thunderstorms to warm days filled with sunshine. It's been a real treat for us to see rain since so little fell in in California, but the mild warm sunny days still make up the majority here in the Algarve. Not much color change here except for the grape leaves in the vineyards perhaps the color will come later.
Hard to believe it's November already! Nearly six months since our arrival, time has raced by quickly. We've been so wrapped up in projects surrounding our residency and exploring our new location that we have yet to venture far from our new home. I finally finished the process of securing a Portuguese Drivers License, one of the last issues for me while we still wait for Mary's appointment in order to finalize her residency paperwork. This has been the slowest part of the process as SEF (The immigration authority) has been so overwhelmed (or mismanaged some would say) that simply getting through to them to set an appointment takes months and sometimes years! In any case we are starting to feel like we belong here.
Were planning a few upcoming trips in the next few months both within and outside of Portugal. Were looking forward to sharing those with you here.
Portugal continues to experience its share of economic pressures. While gas prices here continue to fall they remain the equivalent of about $6.90 per gallon (€1.82 per Litre). Overall inflation in Portugal has grown to 10.2% for October but is expected to taper off slightly. We are seeing significant increases in grocery prices which makes it extremely difficult for the Portugues. Energy prices were one of the things we were warned about before coming here but not what we have experiences. For example; Our electricity bill runs about €60 per month and that includes fairly moderate air conditioning uses during the summer months. In California we averaged about $80 without any air conditioning. Our water bill here is averaging about €65 compared to $85 in California.
On the farm... Pomegranates, Persimmons, Guava, Cherimoya, and Orange trees are producing ripe fruit while Teresa continues to deliver Beans, Lettuce, Cabbage (Mediterranean Kale) and the last of the bell peppers. Grapes were harvested all month and our neighbor Maria gathered the last buckets off the vines to make their own wine. Mary's Garden is providing an abundance of Tomatillos, Big Jim and Hatch Chilies and a few Jalapenos.
The harvest seems like It's never ending here and sometimes wild from the seeds dropped on the ground from prior harvests. Pumpkin vines have grown under the orange trees while Spinach continues to sprout and grow wildly around the farm. The soil must be really good here!
We've slowed our golf course visits but have managed to get out a few times this month. October through mid November is peak season for Golf tourism here so it's difficult to find times available. We've tried to get to know the area more through some of the tourist options like boat trips and visits to areas that were much too crowded in the summer.
With tourism slowing from the peak summer months it's been great to have our area back to normal. It's still busy just not inundated with visitors and the mix has changed dramatically from mostly Portuguese, Irish, and English families to a mix of Dutch, German, Spanish, French, and even some Americans. Far fewer families now, more couples and small groups that are more active with Golf, Biking, Hiking and general exploring. A large portion of the beach lounge concessions are being removed for the winter leaving only a handful of vendors left on the main beaches
We started volunteering at ReFood here, a service that coordinates and gathers food from Grocery stores and restaurants that would normally be discarded, and provides the food to soup kitchens and delivers bags of groceries to people in need. It's amazing the quality and quantity that these places will discard that are perfectly good but apparently not of high enough quality to sell. Bags full of day old breads and pastries, shopping carts full of fresh produce!
On to some photos of this months experiences. We miss you all and hope to see you in Portugal soon. I have moved our restaurant photos and reviews to the "Eat" section of this site. Click here to access them.
Octoberfest at the Biergarten...In Portugal!
Club Nautico Silves along the Rio Arade
Megalithic Monuments of Alcalar. A few kilometers from Portimão are the remains of Alcalar, a 5,000 year old prehistoric community that settled and lived here. Only a few visible remains of the village exist, walls, trenches, and foundations. The largest and most intact remains are the large megalithic tombs. Their relationship with death is evident in the construction of different types of tombs, from collective to those specially intended for chiefs and their families. Discovered at the end of the 19th century, Alcalar's megalithic monuments are classified as a National Monument. Two of these funerary monuments are open to the public and allow direct contact with the processes and materials used in their construction.
The estuary behind our house is often filled with birds. These Flamingos hang out there often and locals tell us they are spending winters here now instead of migrating south for the winter.
Boat trip along the coast east of Portimao to Benagil Caves
Praia de Luz
Hiking along the Ferragudo Coast looking back to Portimao
We hope everyone is doing well, healthy, happy, and thriving. We miss you and love you all...A lot!