The first days in Portugal

December 2014

Gorgoes is situated in between Loule, Sau Bras de Aportal and St. Barbara de Nexe. Especially in those other three places, many foreigners are living. My first days in Portugal were mainly focused on getting to know the surroundings and making a list of all the places I want to see in the month ahead.

Sau Bras the Aportal was an easy drive from Gorgoes and although the small town is nothing special, it has some nice restaurants, some good supermarkets and even a beautiful situated outdoor swimmingpool. In the “old” centre I found an tourist/information office with a very helpful Flemish lady, who gave me lots of brochures and information, not only about places of interest, but also about general living and touring in Portugal. She also tells me that the prices of houses are lower in the Eastern Algarve, especially if you go a little further into the country side. I hear about the Golden Triangle, a little bit to the West, where prices are way up as many celebraties seem to have a house there (actors, sheikhs, soccer players etc). She also tells me about the Christmas market, which is today running in the old Cork museum (now a Costume museum; museo do Trajo). The museum is just around the corner and the Christmas Bazaar is held in the courtyard. I am impressed to see so many different stalls and so many different nationalities. The atmosfere on this beautiful sunny day is uplifting and soon I have an interesting chat with a Dutch lady, who also tells me about a Dutch website for house sitters, I never heard about. I also hear that the “Friends of the Museum” organizes Jazz and Fado evenings in the museum, Yoga and Zumba mornings, Portuguese lessons, etc. There is a library with books in all kind of languages and there is a computer guy coming on Tuesday mornings. It had been a very informative day!

entrance of the market hall
entrance of the market hall

One of the other places I visit in the first days is the indoor market
of Loule. During the week, the indoor market is open every day, though on Monday there is not a lot of fish, as most don’t fish on Sunday. On Saturdays the market is also a tourist attraction, as all the little back streets are also covered with market stalls and Loule turns into a vibrant place! I am glad my first visit is during the week, as I can combine the market hall with visiting the historical centre and having a nice lunch with sardines outside and later do some shopping in the town centre. I like Loule; it is very lively! The market hall itself is full with fish stalls, lots of veggies and fruits, but also bread, sausages, cheeses, olives and many other local products.DSC00053DSC00173


House sitting in the Algarve, Portugal

The 3rd of December, 2014

Arriving in the morning at Faro airport, on a beautiful sunny day, early December. The owner of the house collected me from the airport and we first didn’t recognize each other, as we only saw one another over Skype. Of course I was terrified for a moment that nobody would be there, but after everybody was gone, we were the only two left over! It was a short half an hour drive up in the hills to Gorgoes, close to St. Barbara de Nexe, Loule and Sau Bras de Aportal. A nice house with a typical Mediterrenean garden around and a view over the hills. I felt immediately at home, after having lived for ten years in Greece! The dog and I were friends in no time and she turned out to be a real companion in the weeks to follow.DSC00008

This first day I was overloaded with information regarding the house, the dog, shopping and sightseeing and the next day I drove the owners of the house to Faro airport for their trip to England. I followed their suggestion to visit the beach side, about 10 min. drive from the airport. It was a gorgous morning with a clear and sunny sky and I decided to have a stroll and enjoy the view from the “Praia de Faro” over the city, the hills at the far end and the coming and going of the planes. I also enjoyed my first espresso on Portuguese grounds, outside on one of the many terraces. Later, I drove back to Gorgoes and although this was my first time driving in Portugal, I found the house back without any problems. Pasha, the dog, was happy to see me and we went for our first walk together in the hills and I admired the beautiful views from higher up.DSC00201

In the evening I studied the map and made plans for my first shopping to the local markets and supermarket, banks and all the interesting places I have to visit for sightseeing. There are a lot!!! I am grateful the owners left me their car, so I don’t have to rent one. You need a car here, as there is no public transportation. I am happy to be here for a month, as there is a lot to explore and I will need my time to get to know a bit about Portugal.DSC00071