Glimpses of our Daily Life in Portugal: October 2017

The months of September and October have flown by. We are finding ourselves much busier than we have in a long time. We are getting out and around, discovering new (to us) areas, meeting new people and learning more about our new home.

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Fried “little squid” were delicious

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Sunset in our back yard

Our biggest news is that on October 17th we received our Temporary Residence Permits (Ótimo – Portuguese for Great!). Earlier posts have described the process and in our last post we explained why we didn’t get them in September. So with our Criminal Record Checks in hand we arrived at SEF (Immigration) in the morning and after a relatively easy process we are now residents of Portugal for the next year. In addition to our visas and criminal checks we had to provide proof of address, financial means, health insurance and our newly acquired fiscal numbers.

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Lagos Court House where we obtained our criminal record checks

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The train runs several times a day between Faro and Lagos

Much more detail on the whole process and costs incurred for obtaining the Residency Permits can be found on our timeline page. The cost for a one year permit was €159.70 each.

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Lagos has plenty of little courtyards and alleys

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Boat landing at Burgau

Even after 2 months we continually marvel over the wonderful weather here. Until October 18th there was no rain and only minimal cloud since the day we arrived back in August. As great as that is however, rain is essential for the parched landscape and low reservoirs which could use many days of precipitation.

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Lagos from across the street from home

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The nearby landscape is very dry

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Barragem Bravura provides water for many Western Algarve towns and is very low

The extended hot dry weather contributed to many new forest fires in the north of the country and they have had deadly and devastating effects. Our thoughts go out to the families who have lost loved ones and to the bombeiros who valiantly combat the fires.

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Lagos Fire Station

Our day to day life starts out with coffee on our patio, watching the day come alive with the sun. Birds call out in the orchard and overhead, and the bells from the goats and nearby church provide pleasant background sounds.

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Part of the local goat and sheep herd that passes our house every day

Apart from our boat trip from Sagres we haven’t been doing a lot of serious birding. We are however, getting to know the regular visitors in our orchard and around the trees in our yard. Every morning we have blackbirds, house sparrows, magpies, tits, egrets, gulls, collared doves and some occasional visitors like buzzards, chiffchaff and ravens. The flamboyant hoopoes are still with us and most days we spot a couple flying through the yard.

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Hoopoe

Now that we have a car we have begun exploring a little farther afield. We have tried to cover many of our day trips in our Exploring Portugal pages, and there are more to write up. Of course with a car come extra expenses. We were very pleased with insurance, as for just under €200 a year we have full comprehensive coverage. On the flip side of that gas is very expensive, running at around €1.40 a litre. Our little car has a tiny engine and manual transmission so it gives great mileage, just not much power on the hills.

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Windmill in Budens

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On the road to Aljezur

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Picnic day at Arifanna

Checking out the local flea markets and the charity shops for those bargains that we can’t do without continues to be a fun pastime. We don’t buy a lot, but recently purchased a great mini barbeque and a large beach umbrella for €2 each.

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Great cappuccinos at this little cafe in Lagos

We couldn’t resist going to the Hippie Market again on the last Sunday in September. As in our first visit it was a sensory delight and overflowing with great food, interesting people and a true smorgasbord of things for sale. Other than the great pakoras we didn’t buy anything this time around but had a lot of fun.

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Exercise bikes to retro art and most everything in between can be found

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The pakoras are excellent topped with sweet mango chutney

We really love our new apartment and have been having fun setting it up to work for us. We have bought a few things to make our life more comfortable and are preparing for the cooler and damper weather ahead. In addition to heaters and a dehumidifier, of course we needed a wine rack to store the wonderful wines that we get on sale every week at the supermarkets.

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You can get a wide assortment of very nice wines at great prices

There is no shortage of activities in the area and we are beginning to figure out which ones will work for us. To care for our bodies we have joined the municipal facility Lagos en Forma. This is a modern facility operated by the Municipality of Lagos which opened 10 years ago. It has a modern and well equipped gym, three pools, an indoor court and many other amenities. At a cost of €31 per month it is great value.

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“Lagos en Forma”. The municipal recreation facility.

For mental exercise, as well as to better integrate into our new home we have enrolled in a “Portuguese for Beginners” course at the Centro de Línguas Cultura e Comunicação in the nearby town of Portimão. It is a 50 hour course that runs until mid-January. We started on October 23rd and will provide an update on our progress in the next monthly post. We’re looking forward to it but are a little nervous as this is our first formal language training in many many years.

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Relaxing with a coffee before class

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Used for collecting stones, carrying wood and all sorts of other jobs

One Sunday we took in the Better Living in Portugal trade show in Portimão. It was organized by “Afpop” an expat support organization, and was intended to introduce expats (mostly) to services available in the Algarve. It was an informative and fun afternoon with everything from health and financial services, home improvement, funeral planning, language training, travel assistance and many food and wine producers on hand.

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Better Living in Portugal (BLIP) exposition in Portimao

Amongst all of these activities and our day trips we spent 5 days in Valencia, Spain at the home of friends Kemi and Feda. Along with Dick & Anita we traveled 12 hours each way by bus and train. It was an excellent visit and we will have a separate post about that in the near future.

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Plaza de Ayuntamiento, Valencia

Now that we have our Residency Permits in hand we can relax a bit and begin to establish more of a daily routine. We have little things like supermarket customer cards, our own doctor and gym memberships to make us feel like we are at home and we are starting to find favorite restaurants, walks and cafes. We can understand most of the labels at the grocery stores, menus at restaurants and how to operate the gas pumps. Once we can talk with people in Portuguese we will be even more comfortable.

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Post Office in Pedralva

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Anne and Kiki enjoying the sunshine, coffee and spectacular views at Arifanna

Every day we realize what a good choice Lagos, and Portugal was for us and we are grateful for having the opportunity to call it home for at least another year.

Até o mês que vem!

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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14 Responses to Glimpses of our Daily Life in Portugal: October 2017

  1. Pauline Boudreau says:

    We are having so much fun following your articles, and seeing the gorgeous photos as you explore your new normal.

    It’s 24 degrees here, and has been this mild for days now. We do have a rainstorm moving in overnight, but all in all, the Autumn has been tremendous. By Nova Scotian standards at least:)

    Continue to explore and enjoy.

    Cheers, Paul and Pauline

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Thanks guys. We are really enjoying ourselves here, it is a great place that we find really suits us well. The great weather doesn’t hurt either. It sounds like you’ve had a very good fall there as well. Just remember that you always have a place to crash if you get over for a visit. Cheers and take care, Tim & Anne

      Like

  2. A huge congratulations to you guys on successfully attaining your first residency visas! I know what a mix of feelings can accompany a visit to the SEF (maybe like a job interview?) and the feeling of euphoria after. You’ve integrated seamlessly into Lagos life (and ours as well) and I’m looking forward to many more happy adventures! Anita

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Thanks Anita. We were very relieved to get our approval, although we are still waiting for our cards to arrive. Lagos certainly does have a lot to offer and the challenge is deciding what to do. There are certainly plenty of opportunities for more adventures awaiting.

      Like

  3. Joe says:

    It is so nice to see you guys getting settled in and having so much fun. It is also very exciting to learn how relatively inexpensive life in the Algarve, Portugal can be (except for the gas). Congratulations on establishing such a wonderful life in a really beautiful place!

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Thanks a lot Joe. We are certainly enjoying ourselves here and have found more than enough to keep us busy. Gas and cars in general are expensive but it is really nice to be able to explore at our own pace. Long term housing can be challenging here as well (unless you buy) as in this part of the country owners all want to rent for the summer tourist season when they can get high prices. Other than that it is a very reasonably priced country.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joe says:

        Thanks for the interesting information. Es and I are hoping to travel to the Algarve in the next year or two. Given how the towns and coastal attractions are spread out, it seems that a car is really a necessity for exploration of the area. For housing, we will try to avoid the summer months. Lagos seems like an excellent, centrally-located home base. Can you recommend any other convenient and beach-accessible locations along the Algarve that might work well for a one month stay?

        Liked by 1 person

      • timannehall says:

        Hi Joe. Without a car it is important to stay in a location that has plenty of access to facilities within walking range so a larger community such as Lagos, Albufeira or Tavira would give you that. With a car it isn’t as important. Ferragudo is also a nice small town. Also there is a train that runs several times a day between Lagos and Faro which provides good access. Feel free to send us a message with any questions. Cheers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joe says:

        Thank you so much for the valuable insights and recommendations. This gives me a place to start my research into our future hoped-for trip to southern Portugal.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Mary Jane says:

    Coming to Lagos for three months and reading your blog to become familiar with the area. We are from Shelburne NS. Your aunt, a fellow rug hooker, gave us the link to your blog. We arrive Jan 15 so hopefully we can connect. Mary Jane

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Hi Mary Jane. You have certainly made a good choice for a location to spend the winter. It is fairly quiet here that time of year but quite a few of the restaurants etc. stay open. The beaches are quiet and great for walking. We’ll send you a message with more details and yes, we will definitely have to connect. Tim & Anne

      Like

  5. BeckyB says:

    Sounds like you are settling in brilliantly . . .such a fabulous place to live. We’re part time residents as only pop across for a few months every year, not quite ready to take the step you have!

    Liked by 1 person

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