As we approach the end of July, here's the latest update from us as we continue to settle into our new home in the Algarve, Portugal.
Summer has definitely arrived. It's been a warm July so far all across Europe with temperatures exceeding the norm in most places. London reported a record 40+ Celcius (104+ Fahrenheit) for the first time ever.
Temperatures near us have been very warm for the area, 35c (95f) at the peak. July and August are typically the hottest months which is what all the tourists come here for. Hard to complain when that's the extreme high, but I guess when you are used to normal summer temps that don't exceed 30c (86f) that is a bit warm. Our proximity to the sea tends to keep things on the mild side here, although a bit tropical with humidity around 40%. The rest of the month is projected to be a bit more normal for the season with temperatures in the mid-'20's (about 80 f). That's more like the weather we moved here for!
As the US media has most likely sensationalized, there are a few fires that have been burning in Northern Portugal, Western Spain and throughout the EU (Starting to sound a bit like California). In the Algarve, only a few small fires have broken out near Faro, about 45 minutes east of us. Our area so far has avoided fires and smoke, as has most of the Southern part of Portugal.
A few projects around the house, mainly around the garden. We've been helping Teresa a little bit with her garden since Luis her husband has been back in France for a few weeks. weeding, trimming, harvesting, etc... The tomatoes have been prolific with the heat!
Mary has also started putting her green thumb to work, adding beautiful flower pots and color. We brought a few seeds with us to grow things we haven't seen here. Jalapeno, Big Jim (Hatch Chili), Tomatillos, and Anaheim Chili.
We've attached a couple of traditional ceramic Sparrows (Andorinhas) to the outside wall of our house. You'll find them attached to homes and buildings in Portugal symbolizing family, love, fidelity, luck, and prosperity.
I was happy to save some euros when I learned how inexpensive our package for Cell phones, TV, and Wifi is here. All three services with two cell phones and a landline at home are less than we paid for internet service alone in the US. A bit too soon to celebrate though as our local Wifi coverage is sporadic at best. Most of Portugal, especially around larger population centers has Fiber connected to homes providing very fast speeds for Wifi and Television (packages over Fiber cost the same as the services that we have). Since we are a bit rural, Fiber hasn't quite reached us so we are stuck with TV over Satellite and Wifi over 4g. The TV and cell service are fine but since everyone in our area connects to the same 4g tower for wifi, internet speeds were averaging 5Mbps or less. Needless to say no streaming at those speeds.
Looking at our options I decided to go with Starlink, Elon Musks Global Satellite service. Granted it's a bit more like US prices for Internet, but the speeds have been amazing reaching 250+ Mbps! The best thing is we can take it with us practically anywhere we move.
On July 2nd we spent the morning in the small village of Olhao. Another small coastal fishing village is about 50 minutes east of us. Famous for its small boat fishing marina, the Mercado, and especially the fresh fish. On Saturdays, the Mercado expands from its two indoor spaces to the entire waterfront surrounding them. The market stalls inside feature several stalls where local fishermen, farmers, butchers, and cheese producers present their products for sale. Outside you will find more local produce and farm-to-market products along with clothing, plants, and live animals for sale!
Our 4th of July in Portugal was a bit subdued, with no fireworks, and a few small ex-pat gatherings but otherwise just another day in Paradise. We chose to celebrate on our own with our first BBQ at home in Portugal featuring a few items that we picked up from the Mercado in Olhao. BBQ chicken (Frango), Turkey (Peru) burgers, Portuguese Black Pork sausage, and Mary's Potato salad. Needless to say, we had leftovers for the next few days.
On the 17th we spent the evening at Mercado de Culturas...a luz das velas. This was one of the top "festivals" we've attended so far located in the town of Lagoa about 15 minutes east of us. This unique cultural event highlighted the 6 cultures or geographic areas of the world that influenced the Algarve: Islamic, Jewish-Sephardic, Celtic, Silk Road, Africa, and the Mediterranean. Winding through the small cobblestone streets each cultural section of the village featured artisan crafts, foods, and music of the culture. Symbols drawn with candles provided representations of religions, traditions, gastronomy, and mythology of the 6 cultures
On July 14th headed to Ceramica Paraiso in the small town of Raposeira about 40 minutes west of us. A large artisan factory that makes a large assortment of pottery and provides many of the local restaurants. This retail location has some amazing works and sells items to the public. We bought a handmade set of dishes for the house, 40 pieces plus a few other items for 160 euros!
Found this at a local market
Exploring our area on the 20th we ended up at A Rocha Delicada, a beautiful estuary that fronts the Odiaxere river across from Alvor. Our friend Tony told us about an oyster farm in the area that imports the seed oysters from France, raise them in the estuary waters, and sell them to the local restaurants. We found the place but didn't appear to be open for retail at the moment so we continued to explore. farther down the road, we ran into a large flock of Storks and Flamingos feeding in the tidal waters. The Flamingos are white this time of year because they are not feeding on the shrimp that changes their color.
On our morning walk on the 21st, we went to the beach at Porto de Mos in Lagos. You can tell it's peak summer season by how packed the beach is at 11:00 am.
By truck from Carpinteria to LA, and New Jersey. By ship from NJ to Rotterdam, then trucked to Madrid and our Home in Portugal. Our container of goods finally arrived at our house today July 22nd. It left our home in Carp on May 11th so right on schedule as quoted. In hindsight, we may have packed a few different items that are more difficult to find here and left a lot of clothing behind that is easily replaced here. Excited to have our Golf Clubs, Art & Photos, Camera equipment, and Drone. We unpacked the crate into our storage room next to the house and have begun the slow process of unpacking and finding a place for a few needed items in the house.
That same night we headed to Portimao and the Lota Cool Market, another festival. We walked the small festival and the riverfront of Portimao passing a few of the popular restaurants in the old town area.
Another beach walk along Praia de Alvor. Just can't get enough of this, hard to believe this is where we live!
It looks like I am all caught up with posts finally. Hopefully after reading these you will feel like you are here with us.
More exploring, festivals and beautiful scenery coming soon. With the arrival of our camera equipment and the Drone we'll be documenting and sharing more of the wonders that are nearby.