Spring has just arrived and compared to other parts of the world we have spent the winter in, this has been pretty nice. The last few weeks have been the wettest and windiest we have seen in Portugal, but in spite of this you can enjoy outdoor activities year round. For North Americans seeking swimming weather at the beaches and tropical temperatures in January and February you had better stick to the Caribbean however.
There have been a series of low pressure systems develop in the Eastern Atlantic and this has been causing significant wind and precipitation not only in Portugal but throughout Europe. There has been some damage along the coastline of the Algarve, particularly in the Faro area where small tornadoes were generated. The following pictures give a sense of the ferocity of the wind and waves in the Portimão area.
We have upped our game a little at the gym and have been following a training regimen recommended by the great trainers at the Ginasio Amaryllis where we go 2-4 times a week. We love that they also have tennis courts and an indoor spa which is included in the monthly price. A swim in the heated pool followed by a sauna or Turkish steam room feels really good.
Unfortunately however our Portuguese learning has slacked off as we are waiting for summer to enroll in the second level classes. We continue to practice whenever possible at the grocery stores, restaurants and markets, which helps in the maintenance of the basics but we need to be pushed harder. Watching Portuguese subtitles at the movies, on television and on the radio also helps. All of our services and accounts are in Portuguese.
We are still getting through all of the paperwork, even though most of the heavy lifting is done. We turned in our Canadian Driver’s Licences back in January and were given temporary ones until March 13. They didn’t arrive so we returned to Faro and after a relatively simple process were given extensions until mid-September. Hopefully they will be here by then! The same thing happened with the change of address on our vehicle registration. So we were given another month extension on that as well.
The final piece is the changing of address on our Residencia card. After a wait of three months our appointment with SEF was on March 19 and that was a relatively easy process to get a new one. Another €40 euro fee however.
We have just filed our taxes for the first time as Canadian Non-residents. The Non-Resident section of CRA has actually been very helpful in navigating the emigration process. We think we have it figured out and the next few weeks will tell the story. With the Tax Treaty between Canada and Portugal, and the Portuguese Non Habitual Resident (NHR) program it actually works to our financial advantage filing from here.
We haven’t been able to get outside exploring as much as we’d like over the past month, but have managed a few short trips in the vicinity. Friends from Nova Scotia were in town for a week so we enjoyed having a chance to share some of the great views, good food and local experiences. Unfortunately most of the time was very windy, but we did try a couple of new restaurants and a couple old favorites.
We are looking forward to starting some day hikes, doing more birding and spending more time outdoors in the next couple of weeks. We hope to head farther north as well and beginning to expand our knowledge of the rest of the country. In the mean time we continue to enjoy our small corner of the Algarve and the the little things that make it home.
Nesting storks, arrivals of spring birds from Africa, wildflowers, rivers with water and lush green grounds are all new to us as we enter our first Spring season. Bring it on!