Portuguese Residents: Almost!

It has been just over a month since we arrived in Lagos and we have been busy. In addition to catching up with friends (and making some new ones) we now have our own accommodation, bank account, health insurance and car. We had hoped to have our Temporary Residence Permits but the stars didn’t quite align themselves for that to happen this month.

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Our new home in the morning light. We rent the lower portion.

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Our “new” wheels

Our scheduled appointment was on September 14 at the SEF (Immigration) office in Portimão. We arrived early and took our place in the queue. After a half hour wait we sat down in front of the Immigration Officer only to be told that the servers required to run the routine criminal record check were down and they didn’t know when they would be back online. SEF routinely runs a current check every time you visit to ensure that you haven’t been up to any illegal activity in Portugal.

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SEF Regional Office in Portimao

So we left with a new appointment booked for October 17, a little disappointed but reassured that everything was in order. They suggested we go to the local Tribunal Judicial da Comarca (court house) and obtain a clearance from them as they are good for 90 days, and bring it with us for our October appointment just in case there were computer problems on that day.

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Lagos harbour from the Old Town

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Anne and Anita enjoying the warm Atlantic

Our first month was a combination of relaxation and putting together all of the pieces for our meeting with SEF. In addition to the information and documents required it is necessary to have a Fiscal Number and a bone fide address in Portugal. For us this was the most challenging aspect as we don’t have a registered lease as we are renting from friends. Our previous post explains how to work through this process.

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The former Lagos jail now houses an arts cooperative

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View across the cell block

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This was the former outdoor activity area

Before we got our car we didn’t have the opportunity to begin exploring very far afield, but we had a lot of fun poking around Lagos itself, trying new restaurants and cafes and discovering new streets and alleyways.

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Ruins are common in the areas surrounding town

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Murals and street art are common in Lagos

Now that we have our own place, we do need a few practical and decorative items. We have always enjoyed local flea markets, yard sales and second hand shops and there are markets of almost every description here. It has been a lot of fun spending time at the hippie market, boot sales and charity shops as well as the more traditional markets.

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One of many caravans at the hippie market

The last Sunday of every month is the not quite officially sanctioned “hippie market”. Located 15 minutes outside of Lagos, this is a treat for the senses and regardless of your background it is certain to bring back memories of the sixties and seventies. Combine the following ingredients: flea market, organic farmers market, alternative lifestyle showcase, converted caravans, street food, craft show and add in some Portuguese flavor and you will have the basis for this lively and colourful market experience. The following pictures should give you an idea of what to expect.

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The monthly boot sale in Lagos is another popular event although on a more sedate level. Located within the town limits, this market features a few vendors selling from the trunks of their cars (boot) but mostly from portable stalls and tables. As with most sales of this type there are lots of used goods that you’re better off without but invariably you can find some hidden gems.

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Monthly boot sale in Lagos

The Saturday morning farmer’s market is a traditional favorite. Located in two large buildings downtown, the market can be very busy and hard to navigate in the summer months, but when we visited last fall it was less crowded. The vendors are cheerful and anxious for you to try their produce.

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Saturday morning farmer’s market

Another year round shopping experience that you should try is the daily (except Sunday) fresh fish and seafood market. Located on the main avenue there are about 30 vendors who sell every species imaginable that is available in the surrounding waters.

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Daily fish market

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Plenty of fresh choices

One afternoon we thoroughly enjoyed an excellent meal of fresh grilled sardines at Restaurant Escondidinho with local friends. We were there over lunch time and the owner scrambled from table to table with racks of sardines and other fish fresh off the charcoal grills in the back. It is an all you can eat affair and he keeps bringing them out until you signal for no more! We had sardines and horse mackerel as well as a wonderful tuna steak accompanied by fresh salad and potatoes. Washing it down with white wine cut with sparkling water is refreshing with the salty sardines. As a bonus – if you can eat 43 sardines your meal is free – none of us made it!

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Excellent grilled fresh fish

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Good food and good company

About 15 minutes away is the traditional fishing village of Burgau. We’re checking out the sports club there and took the opportunity to walk the narrow streets to the beach. It was a stunning afternoon and we enjoyed a cold drink overlooking the sparkling water.

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Praia do Burgau

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Boat landing at Burgau

After we got our car we started learning the roundabouts and directions. We drove a friend to the airport in Faro and to our SEF appointment in Portimão. We’ve done well and the only mistake so far has been ending up in the narrow maze of one way streets in the old town. Fortunately after 10 minutes of winding through this maze we popped out on one of the wider streets.

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One of the many narrow one way streets of Old Town Lagos

As we now have a lot of the initial work done we have more time for local exploration by walking the road behind our villa, equipping our home (buying stuff) and learning elementary Portuguese from our friendly gardener Jose.

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Street side of our villa looking inland towards Monchique

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A great walking road behind our villa

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Northern Wheatear

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Part of a small herd of goats and sheep in the fields next to our villa

We are looking forward to the coming months and will regularly provide updates on our integration into life here in the Algarve. Tchau!

About Tim & Anne Hall

We sold almost all of our belongings and left our home in Nova Scotia in April 2016 to experience as much of the world as we could. We spent over a year slow traveling in Latin America and Europe, and are now living happily in the Portuguese Algarve, Portimao to be specific. We are gradually chnging the focus of our site to feature images of Portugal. Stay tuned - its a work in progress.
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12 Responses to Portuguese Residents: Almost!

  1. Joe says:

    It is good to see that you are settling in. You should be able to cover a lot of territory in your spiffy car, and it looks like you will be eating a lot of fresh fish and produce.

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Hi Joe. Our past few weeks have been much quieter than the dramatic and unfortunate events you have experienced in Mexico City. We are thoroughly enjoying the peaceful life here, the friendly people and having our own car now makes things much more accessible. And yes, we are eating very well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gilda Baxter says:

    Wow sounds like you are settling in very well indeed. Loved that Market looked such a lot of fun. Have you started learning Portuguese?

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Hi Gilda. The hippie market was a lot of fun, and we went again yesterday. We are starting to feel even more comfortable here now and love the weather, the people, great food and the peacefulness of our new home. Portuguese is a very difficult language but we are trying. We have the greetings, numbers, days of the week and some of the basic food items down. Getting our mail and emails from the bank and NOS (telecom company) in Portuguese also provides practice. Probably the hardest part though is the pronunciation – both in listening to Portuguese and speaking it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the photos. It’s amazing to think of all that you’ve accomplished since you’ve come to Lagos in addition to the many hours spent simply enjoying good food, conversation and much laughter. Looking forward to spending a lot more days poking around flea markets and fairs, sharing meals and exploring new places with you. Isn’t it awesome to find a home and place in the world that makes you happy and content? Anita

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Thanks Anita, and thanks again to you and Dick for hosting us and helping us get started here. It is a wonderful place to call home and there are some great times ahead. We’re looking forward to it all and we’re sure that we will have many adventures and good times together.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. kemkem says:

    Great pictures. Love the one of you and Anita in the ocean and the one of you with the hat. Very nice. So cool that you’re settling in nicely. Your car looks so cute too :-). See you soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Thanks Kemkem. This is an easy place to settle into and it already feels like home. We were pleasantly surprised how how warm the water was at the beach. And even in the height of the tourist season there was still plenty of places on the beach that weren’t crowded. It has been wonderful having our own car as we can get out and visit so many places that we otherwise wouldn’t see. See you in a week!

      Like

  5. Well you have certainly found your “other” home! The pics are always great and I enjoy them!
    The Hippie Market is for me …. in fact any type of market is for me (except the STOCK!!!).
    Take good care of each other and chat soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Glimpses of our Daily Life in Portugal: October 2017 | A New Latitude

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