To read the last few posts on this blog, one might think we were having second thoughts about our decision to move overseas. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Indeed, once we actually got to Lisbon, and once we were finally able to start living the life we’d planned, we found ourselves in a very, very good place.
Moving to Europe, and specifically Portugal, was not our original goal.
Our original goal was to live in a city that met certain requirements – good weather, near the ocean, good public transportation, lots to see and do, etc. It was only when I realized Lisbon checked these boxes, and that the Portuguese government was offering long term residency visas, that it became the focus of our search for a home base.
But the most important thing for us was we wanted to live in a city.
I know we are in the minority here, certainly amongst current and former fulltime RVers, but we have always been city people at heart, happy to soak up the energy, the grit, and yes, the noise, of a big bustling metropolis.
In practice, that means every morning, I awaken to the sounds of the
obnoxious charming church bells that ring just down the street from our apartment. And, about that same time, I start hearing voices and footsteps. That’s right… Twenty years after the last time we lived in an apartment building, we are, once again, sharing walls, ceilings, and floors with strangers. And when you live in a very old building, you hear all kinds of noise.
Honestly, our place really isn’t bad – our neighbors are very quiet and respectful. In truth, it is us who have to be careful not to annoy them. Which brings me to one of my absolute favorite features of our trusty sidekick, Thor.
When Thor hears police, fire, or ambulance sirens, he thinks it’s the ‘call of his people’ and he howls in return.
It is hilarious.
It is so hilarious that, for years now, I have encouraged his howling. Hell, half the time I howled right along with him!
Thor’s howling is a riot and sooooo entertaining…
…right up to the moment you find yourself living in an apartment building with a bunch of confused Portuguese people who are wondering what the hell is making that godawful noise upstairs???
So, yeah… it’s been a project trying to convince Thor that Mom’s previous advice was terrible and the firefighters don’t actually need his help.
Life on Two Feet
We have no car.
After six years of living in an oversized car, we don’t want a car.
Honestly, neither of us has ever liked driving all that much and after all these years on the road, we were more than ready to toss the car keys once and for all. (Well, maybe not forever, but for a while.)
Anyway, here in Lisbon, our life is spent on foot (with the occasional assist from a rideshare.) We love it.
No more rage-inducing traffic, no more driving in circles searching for parking, no more car related expenses – no fuel, no maintenance, no insurance, no inspections, no taxes, no parking fees.
NONE. All done. Not our problem anymore.
It’s such an awesome and enjoyable part of city living.
Of course, not having a car factors into the rest of our daily lives. It means we walk to the grocery store and, like our Portuguese neighbors, only buy a handful of things at a time. Here, refrigerators are modest, grocery carts are small, and people buy only what they can carry.
While prices have gone up markedly over the last few months, we still find our grocery costs to be very, very reasonable when compared to what we paid in the U.S. I’ll write more about costs in a future post, but to give you some idea, here’s a recent haul and the associated receipt.
We also quickly concluded that rumors of tasty, fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables were true.
Remember when you were a kid and fruit might not look perfect, but it tasted great? Remember when tomatoes and peaches and watermelon actually had flavor? Remember when fruit rotted within days rather than mysteriously surviving forever and ever? The fruit in Europe is still like that.
This stuff isn’t picked before it’s even ripe and then shipped from 4 time zones away. It’s not bred to be perfect and colorful – yet flavorless. It’s picked when it’s ready, you buy it soon after, and if you don’t consume it quickly, it goes bad. (Here’s an interesting article about the differences between produce in Europe and the U.S.)
So, multiple times each week, we go to our little fruit and vegetable market, see what’s there and what looks good, and buy accordingly. You won’t find any peaches or plums in January, but whatever you DO find is guaranteed to be delicious.
With this level of grocery expenditure and the amount of walking we do – correction: with the amount of uphill walking we do…
we can now stuff food in our faces with complete abandon. In fact, since we arrived, Kevin has dropped like 20 pounds. And it feels like all we do is eat.
Ready, set… Food porn!
Each of the above meals cost between €8 and €12 except for the pasteis which typically cost about €1.10 each.
A substantial portion of my day is spent on language learning…. or perhaps it would be more accurate to say: attemped language learning.
I am 100% committed to at least becoming semi-competent in Portuguese, but good god, is it hard. Again, a topic for another post, but for purposes of this article, I will just say that I spend several hours each week working on an online platform, listening to Portuguese language television shows, and/or working with a tutor.
What has all this effort gotten me? Well, some days I feel like I’m making progress – especially on reading and listening comprehension, while others – most – I feel like I could be at this for another ten years and never feel comfortable speaking to anyone about anything.
But I keep banging away because what other option is there? Plus – it’s good for the ole noggin.
For Kevin’s part, he spends a lot of time identifying problems which he then solves. The problems and solutions usually start out small – “These overhead lights are pretty dim. I think I’m going to swap out the bulbs…” which then get bigger and bigger, until I find myself living in an apartment with an entire motion activated lighting system that can be controlled from space.
“Kevin, why doesn’t this light switch work?”
“Oh, because I switched it out and haven’t put the app on your phone yet.”
“I need an app to turn on a light?
“No, well…you can, but you don’t need to. I’m going to put a different switch there. I just need to order it.
3 days later…
“OK, I installed the new switch. If you want to turn the dining room light on, press the left side once, if you want to turn the living room light on, tap the right side once, if you want to turn both on, tap the left side twice, or if you want to turn everything off, tap either side 3 times.”
“Great. I’ve always wanted to learn Morse Code.”
Every time I turn around, he’s opening another box of electronic equipment, and an hour later I notice another sensor stuck to a wall. I’ve honestly given up trying to figure out what the hell he’s doing.
Simple Things Take Longer
When not walking, eating, learning Portuguese, and swearing at my husband for making everything complicated, we spend more time than ever doing things we thought nothing of before.
The standard advice for new expats is to only try to accomplish one thing each day. You need to deal with an issue with your bank – plan for a day. Need to buy something at a store you’ve never shopped at? Plan for a day. Have a doctor’s appointment? Plan for a day.
It’s true. When you move to a new country, you don’t know how anything works, you don’t know how to solve problems, and you don’t know how to communicate your needs, so everything is a puzzle to be solved.
Say you want to make a return at Ikea. Well, in Portugal, you don’t just go stand in line at the customer service desk. Here, you go to a little machine, get a ticket for the particular type of assistance you need, and then wait for your number to come up before you go to the appropriate counter.
This is how many businesses operate – from banks to doctor’s offices to even some coffee shops. You can be the only customer in the whole business, but if you haven’t got a ticket, no one is going to help you.
It’s not that you can’t do the things you want to do; it’s just that things work differently, so everything takes longer to accomplish.
So Much to See and Do
One of the reasons we love cities so much is because there is always, always something going on. In just the few months we’ve been here, we’ve attended numerous exhibits and shows. For example, I went to an exhibit of Steve McCurry’s photography…
“Never heard of him.”
“You know his work.”
“He’s the guy who took this photo:”
“Ohhhhhhh…I DO know him.”
“Yah, you do!”
Here are a few more of this National Geographic photographer’s extraordinary captures:
We went to an immersive exhibit of Frida Kahlo’s life and work. The exhibit contained a number of experiences – Kahlo’s artwork surrounded us in 3D form, through a virtual reality experience, and most impressively, projected onto the walls and ceilings of this 18th century water storage facility in the middle of Lisbon.
We went to a jazz concert featuring Portuguese-speaking musicians playing music you’d hear in the clubs of New Orleans:
We went to see Crystal, a Cirque de Soleil show
And coming up in the next couple months, we have tickets to see comedian Jim Jeffries, tickets to a music festival, tickets to see Ben Harper, and more.
And while you might think all of this costs a lot of money, a wondrous thing happens when you get out of the U.S. and into a country where Ticketmaster isn’t a thing. Suddenly, concerts and events are affordably priced with no absurd fees brought to you by the world’s most obvious monopoly that should have been broken up years ago.
Example: Those Jim Jeffries tickets we bought are for his show here on May 12. Here’s a screencap of the price for the cheapest available ticket:
Notice the price of the ticket compared to the total cost of the order. The “processing fee” is a whopping €1.92.
Three weeks after his show in Lisbon, Jefferies will be playing the Mirage in Vegas. If you go look at the price of those tickets, you’ll see that the cost for the cheapest available ticket is $61.91 which becomes $86.24 when you add the ridiculous Ticketmaster fees.
Same guy, same show, three weeks later = three times the price.
It’s like that for most everything here.
The Frida Kahlo show cost €13 per person, the McCurry exhibit cost €12, and the jazz club charged a €5 cover charge.
It is worth noting that, while these prices are very reasonable to us, that is not necessarily the case for the local population. Wages remain stubbornly low in Portugal and as the cost of living has risen over the past several years, it’s had a huge impact on our neighbors. We do our best to do what we were invited to do (spend money in the local economy) and not add to the problem (by bringing our own culture’s norms and expectations with us.) Again, a topic for a different post.
In addition to the shows, exhibits, and events that come to Lisbon, we also feel fortunate to live in a city with countless sites that attract tourists from around the world.
From recently excavated archeological ruins that date back 2,500 hundred years and include artifacts from the Iron Age, the Roman Era, the Islamic Era, and several centuries of Christian rule… all of which is located in the middle of Lisbon, right beneath a bank (seriously)…
…to a 12th century castle high on a hill overlooking the entire city…
…there are astounding things everywhere one looks.
We haven’t even scratched the surface of the various museums, historic sites, and fun things to do here in Lisbon, much less the rest of the country.
Finally, in addition to meeting numerous fellow expats, because we now live in a very popular tourist destination, we’ve also spent time with folks from the U.S. who’ve traveled here on vacation. This group includes old friends as well as several RV bloggers we never managed to meet while on the road, namely Amanda and Tim from Watsons Wander, Linda and Steven from The Chouters, and Kelly and Charlie from Rolling with KC.
So, seven months in, we find ourselves challenged – both physically and mentally, we find ourselves with an active social life – friends old and new, and we find ourselves with plenty to see, do, eat, and drink.
Has any of this been easy? No. Is Portugal perfect? No. Is an international move the right choice for everyone? Absolutely not. But does our life now resemble the one we had in mind when we put this plan in motion? Indeed, it does. And for that, we feel very, very fortunate.
That all looks amazing!! I can’t wait to try those pastries. It certainly is an adjustment and so much to learn, but looks like you are settling in and enjoying it, other than Kevin wiring your entire apartment to his iPhone which he probably world have done if you were both still in the states 😂😂 I am particularly jealous of the fresh fruits and veggies, and here that €40 grocery bill would just have had the eggs….
LOL…yeah, the grocery costs are definitely a shock when you’re used to American prices. Of course, some other things are much more expensive here than they are in the U.S., so it does balance out in certain respects. But we’ve got the Pasteis de nata, so…. 🙂
Yaaaasssss!! This is the update I have been waiting for. I’m so glad that getting back to urban life is agreeing with you in every possible way. For us the highlight is the car-free lifestyle. When we lived in NYC, I truly did not understand the people who maintained cars (and rented parking for them) — getting around without a car was so much less stressful and more interesting. And we also thought that, if you can somehow address the issue of relatively high rents, city living can be really affordable thanks to the variety of options available for everything you might need, including lots of free and low cost entertainment. As you correctly point out, monopoly power = high prices, and in the case of rural living that means really high prices at the only grocery store. In any case, your life is only going to get better as you work your way up the learning curve. While there is no doubt still much to learn about the ways of Portugal, you already know your next visits to the bank and the doctor are going to be easier because you kind of understand the process. Yay!
Thanks, Shannon. I agree with you 100% about the people who have cars in cities. I guess it’s one thing if you’re on the outskirts or if you have a job or kids that require a car, but if you just want one to go on an occasional trip to Ikea or the beach or to a different town, I would just rent as needed. To pay all the extra costs and deal with all the extra aggravation of ownership is just nuts to me. In fact, every time we’re in the back of an Uber trying to get across the city, I silently give thanks that I don’t have to deal with it.
And I hope you’re right that things will continue to get easier as we go. I’m sure they will, but that time can’t come fast enough. Being confused and feeling like an idiot all the time can be exhausting. 🙂
Wonderful update! I was really wondering how Thor would adjust 🙂
Frida Kahlo is big in the local Barrio, with quite a few permanent exhibits, nice to here her art and politics are noted in Portugal as well.
The food looks totally awesome, but with those steps … it’s easy to see how walking keeps each of you in shape!
Kevin’s electronic skills could be in demand!
Thor has been doing great! Of course, he’s been on a learning curve too, but he adjusts incredibly well and seems very happy. Lots to sniff and pee on here! 🙂
We loved the Kahlo exhibit and honestly, learned a lot – not just about her art, but her life. I didn’t know much about her prior to the show, but what an incredible – and incredibly tragic – life she led.
Congratulations, you are living your dream! well after all the hoops and jumps to get there. Glad to hear living in Lisbon is meeting your expectations. I might find both of you skinny considering all that stairs, and lots of walking that you are doing everyday!
Wait, I think I met Kelly and Charlie during our Homelands Cruise, hmm maybe, maybe not but they look familiar.
You DID meet them! We talked about you guys when we had dinner. They are about to do the round-the-world cruise which I am looking forward to following once again. And who knows? If the last couple years have shown us anything, it’s that we live in a very small, interconnected world, so maybe you’ll end up on another cruise together!
Ha ha I knew it was them! You are right who knows we will encounter them again, we too have a few Viking Cruises lined up.
I’ve never been a city person, but you make it look inviting! Hopefully Thor will learn that sirens are not a “call to arms.” The fresh produce reminds me of going to the Amish markets. Delicious! Who knew “smart” lights were a thing? Kevin, I guess, lol. With all the history, culture and food, there, you may never get to the rest of the country! So happy to hear you are settling in and loving it!
Thanks, Laura. Thor seems to be doing much better with the howling. He doesn’t “like” being told to not respond, but he’s a good boy who listens. Usually. 🙂 And you’re right – the fruit here really is reminiscent of some of the farmers markets we’ve gone to over the years. There’s just an obvious difference between what you find from those small operations to what you find in big grocery chains.
Okay, we’re moving to Lisbon. 😁 Seriously, everything you’re talking about is exactly why we love cities. (Well, except for hearing other people stomping around above us and constant sirens.) But being able to walk everywhere, a plethora of interesting things to do, and all of the conveniences close by makes city living so much fun!
It sounds and looks as though you’re settling in wonderfully to your new chapter of life. I admire you for your commitment to learning Portuguese and also for your sensitivity to the norms of the local culture. I’m SO glad everything is working out as you had hoped. As you said, nothing’s perfect, but your ability to endure the challenges and stay the course is obviously paying off big time. Now if you can retrain Thor to stop howling and find Kevin another hobby (but no more kombucha brewing!) you’re good! LOL LOL
Haha… kombucha. So far, he hasn’t bought all that stuff again, but give him time… He always needs a hobby!
Things are definitely feeling more settled now and we are happy to look around and conclude we made the right choice. We are still maintaining a ‘light touch’ and we know this could all change on a dime, but for the time being, this is home and we are happy to be here.
And I have no doubt you would love it here – it really is the type of city you would feel right at home in, but obviously, there are downsides too. Everything is a trade-off. Always. XOXO
This is another wonderfully candid and extremely entertaining account of your continued adventures. When I was about your age, I had a burning interest to move to Boquete in Panama, Lake Arenal In Costa Rica Granada in Spain and or the south of France. But my wanderlust was somewhat quenched by RVing which is how we came upon Chapter 3 Travels. Now, because I’ll be 71 in May, we must be near medical facilities and doctors. No regrets however. Your tenacity, and adventurous spirits is why you’ve made your dreams come true. So happy for you guys!!!
There is so much so close by to explore like Spain maybe? Dang I’m jealous.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your comment.
We’ve had passing ideas of traveling various places for years, but it’s a lot easier said than done. RV travel was the perfect way to see the United States and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wanted to explore on their own time and at a reasonable cost. And landing here in Europe has been a dream which we hope will allow us to see as much of the continent as possible. But there are many other places that already seem like they may be out of reach. (e.g. Between costs, travel time, and the realities of life, I don’t expect we’ll be living in Cambodia or New Zealand anytime soon.) We feel very fortunate to be able to do what we’re doing, but there will always be more to see and do. Thus, I, too, enjoy following other people’s travels to experience places we won’t be seeing ourselves. It is truly remarkable just how big and rich and diverse the world is!
Wow, just wow. Even though we are not city people you make us want to at least visit. We love reading your exploits and get your perspective on life over there.
If you see Steve and Linda again, say hi to them for us. Steve has more talent in one fingernail than I have in my entire body. And Linda is a hiking machine. Loved your post!
Thanks, Jim! Europe is just a whole different world than what we were used to – in good and challenging ways, so there’s never a shortage of things to ruminate about. And just about the time we figure Portugal out, we’ll go to some other country here and find a whole different culture, cuisine, and way of life. It really does show just how tiny Europe is compared to the U.S. It’s all been fascinating.
And I would love to cross paths with Steve and Linda again. We had a really fun day with them!
Love Thor’s howl!!! 😍
So many things to do and see…summer is going to be
loads of fun!!
It is! Can’t wait!!
It sounds like you found your spot in the world. I’m envious of those fresh fruits and veggies. We all used to have those back in the day. I also admire your tenacity to learn Portuguese, as I’ve heard it is a difficult language. I can’t even get past lesson one on DuoLingo for Spanish! Yay for you guys! 🙂
Thanks, Tami. The language is definitely a challenge. We are very fortunate that so many people speak English here, and they speak it at a very high level. I don’t know that I would feel nearly as comfortable if it were otherwise. I have the benefit of being able to treat this challenge like a fun hobby, rather than a life or death necessity. It removes a lot of the external pressure.
Oh I am so with you, that is our goal when we finally settle down to live downtown. While Kelowna is not as large as Lisbon, it does have a thriving downtown area and we loved being there during COVID. The entire winter we took the truck out once to make a Costco run, otherwise we walked or rode our bikes everywhere and occasionally used the bus which I used to take every day when I was working downtown … so relaxing to sit and read and be dropped off at the office door 🙂
That water storage facility was soo cool looking!
It’s so great that things are working out for you guys ad you are getting settled in to a new adventure.
I’ve never understood why more communities don’t try to adopt a more pedestrian-friendly/public transportation focused infrastructure. It’s so much better for everyone and everything. Every day that we don’t have to sit in a car makes us happy. Of course, you lose some conveniences, but we can always rent a car, if necessary, and Ubers are a game changer.
I’ll be interested to see where you all eventually settle down. It certainly seemed like city life agreed with you when you were living in the condo.
Wonderful update! Lisbon looks like an incredible place to live. The art exhibits, museums and historical sites look really interesting! I have also been living a car-free life since 2019. Like you, I buy only what I can carry at the grocery store and I have found that I am cooking more vegetarian, because dried beans, pasta and vegetables are so much easier to carry than all the fixings for beef stew. Looking forward to hearing more about your life in Lisbon.
Hi Maura! Good to hear from you!
That’s a good point that I hadn’t really thought about – on any given shopping trip, what we buy is impacted by our pedestrian-only ways. We really do think twice about buying anything particularly heavy and that likely means we buy less canned, processed items. Of course, on a couple of occasions we have used a grocery delivery service when we needed to stock up on certain bulky or heavy things, but on a normal day to day grocery run, the lighter stuff wins. Interesting!!
All of this was so informative. Good to get the honest look at the positives snd the differences. Love all of the info on daily life, the food, and the differences in cost of living. Love all of the pictures – food shopping and restaurants look amazing, the history in the midst of a modern city, ….Make a list of the things you mentioned for future blogs because we definitely want to know.
Thanks, Jeremy! I will definitely write about all these various topics. It’s the stuff we notice on a day to day basis – the things that are similar and the things that are different – sometimes better, sometimes worse than what we were used to in the U.S. It’s always fascinating to experience it in real time, wherever you travel. We’re looking forward to showing you around when you’re here!
Laura, so happy to hear that as the dust settles, you three are coming to the realization that you made the right choice. As you know, that is not always the case. Some of it is luck and some of it is great planning, and some of it is a little of both. I suspect the latter for you. When Carmen and I traveled before we hit the road full-time, we enjoyed our visits to cities where we could walk everywhere. Your comments about having that experience in Lisbon resonates with us. We have loved our visits to cities where no car is needed like Paris, Rome, Florence, Naples, London, Venice, New York, Montreal, and several more. Learning Portuguese! I feel you pain. I grew up in San Diego (National City to be exact) and took Spanish lessons at school from Junior High all the way through High School and never was able to grasp conversational Spanish with my classmates and friends. I must have something in my brain that is not openly receptive to a 2nd language. Damn! Hope you have better luck. What is it about US produce that so much of it has lost its taste. You have made me envious of the wonderful tastes you have described with your local produce. I could write much more about this wonderful blog post, but I will end it with congratulations on ‘landing’ in a beautiful place, surrounded by beautiful people. Thank you for sharing. Jim
Thank you, Jim! We are very happy that things have come together. Some of it really does come down to luck and timing, and we know things could go in the opposite direction just as easily – all based on luck and timing. So, we’re just doing our best to enjoy things while they’re good. I’m glad but not surprised to hear that you also enjoy car-free living when possible. It’s really a whole different experience, but if you like the things we all like, it makes a lot of sense. As for the produce, we had noticed the changes over time in the U.S. – and appreciated that we could still find flavorful stuff at farmer’s markets, but it became all the more clear when we arrived here and found that every tomato tasted wonderful – no matter where we got it from. It’s certainly a nice perk of being here.
Glad to hear you’ve settled into your new surroundings and enjoying life. That food looks and sounds delicious … so jealous!
Thank you, Ingrid! Slowly but surely, we’re getting there. I know you know the feeling!
Seven months already?! That doesn’t seem possible. It’s good to hear that you’re loving your new life there, even with the constant lightswitch switching and the occasional howl-fest. Looks like you have no shortage of things to see and do, walking from the front door (my favorite!), and delicious foods (close runner-up!) You landed yourselves in paradise, but I have a sneaky suspicion that no matter where you landed, you’d have made it paradise. But Lisbon sure looks like it’s making that a whole lot easier!
Thanks, Joodie. It was a challenging road to get here, but we’re glad to be settling in and enjoying it. I think it helps that we knew what would work and what wouldn’t after all the years on the road – just like you knew exactly what you did and didn’t want after your experiences. But knowing what you want your life to look like and actually getting it to look that way can be two very different things. And as you well know, the process can be incredibly frustrating. Of course, the flip side is, we really appreciate where things are now. I hope the same for you guys!
With everything you went through to make your dream happen, you’ve earned all the rewards you are now reaping.
All those “but that’s a topic for a future post” have me looking forward to your future posts.
I love the look Thor gives you now and again when he’s communing with the emergency vehicles – hilarious!
Haha – I was wondering if anyone would notice that. I’m telling you, he was looking at me wondering why I wasn’t howling too. It’s been a team effort for a long time! “Gotta let ’em know we’re here!!” LOL.
All the beautiful people are going to Lisbon.
I should have called you “Law School Pat.”
Actually, I should have called you by your last name since we never ever ever refer to you by your first name.
Oh, my! Thor’s howl was the best. I hope he is coming around to understanding how wrong his mom was and that listening quietly to the sirens is much better. So glad to hear all is going well and was what you expected. It’s so nice when we find the place that fits us so well. Cities definitely have their positive points. You are doing an awesome job of taking full advantage of all it has to offer. Going to the store almost every day to get only what you need then is actually cost effective and really cuts down on waste. Your produce looked so good!! Keep up the fun!
Thanks, Pam! That’s a good point about the food waste. We learned the hard way early on to not buy any more than we could use in a couple days (other than things like apples and oranges), and that has served us well. It’s rare now that we throw anything away. Just one more positive about this whole big change.
As for Thor, he’s doing a very good job of adjusting to his new situation. While he doesn’t understand the whys, he’s a good boy who follows directions. Most of the time. 🙂
I hope your current trip continues to go well….I’m enjoying following your updates on facebook. Safe travels!
Your lives in Portugal look amazing! I’m so glad it’s working out the way you hoped. You may end up convincing others to follow your example! The food in particular looks incredible… Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to see more and keep up with your adventures!
Thanks, Heather. We’re glad things are working out too. It would be a pretty gigantic mistake to have made, so…phew! 🙂
As for convincing others to follow our lead, I hope to present a pretty honest assessment here. It’s very, very easy to find the positive stuff online, but much harder to find the negatives. Interestingly, blogging doesn’t seem to be a big thing among American expats here, so there are only a handful of sites offering long form, first person accounts. I’m hoping to add to the few voices that exist since I think these first person accounts can be helpful to other considering the jump.
Hope you guys are doing well!
Thank god you’re eating all that food so that we we’re there you’ll know exactly where to go for the best everything. Saves me researching. haha
Don’t worry! We got you covered. Just bring stretchy pants!!!!
I love cities as well as nature. You have me sold on Lisbon now. I’d love to be car-less. And the prices of everything- wow. But, Portuguese- I’m working hard to learn Spanish, I’m not sure I’d want to start from scratch on a new language.
It looks like you made an amazing choice.
Thanks, Duwan. Interestingly enough, there are a lot of similarities between Spanish and Portuguese, but apparently, Portuguese people have a much easier time learning Spanish than the other way around. I think all the weird pronunciation stuff is on the Portuguese side of the equation. Still, if you ever DID decide to try Portuguese, you’d have a significant leg up!
We are a year out from our move to the Algarve.
Very excited and thankful for your blog as it answers a lot of questions. Thank you! Enjoy!!!
Thanks for reading and thank you for your kind comment. I am glad to hear these posts are helpful. Feel free to reach out if you need any other info. Best wishes for your next chapter!
I’m so glad you found your groove in Lisbon. And so much to do and see! Many thoughts jump out as I’m reading your post.
You are better people than us dealing with noise! We’ve gotten used to it a bit here in Colombia, but the crazy-loud 2-stroke motorcycles are just too much. And the church bells. Well, we are okay with them ringing from 6am onwards. 4am? Not so much.
The dog of my ex, Caesar, did the same thing when he heard sirens. He howled. And I did the same thing as you, Laura – I laughed, encouraged him, and howled alongside! 🙂
It’s so nice to not have a car. It is one of the reasons (maybe the only reason) I’d like to live in a city one day. Temporarily. But then again, all those activities you mention are super attractive as well. Did you ever see the photo that McCurry took of the same girl twenty (or so) years later? And, Ben Harper!? Awesome. He’s one of my favorite artists and the singer of our wedding song. 🙂
Grocery shopping sounds similar that our experiences (except in Colombia it’s much, much cheaper): because we don’t drive into towns with our “big” camper (we often don’t fit), we usually walk to grocery stores with a backpack from our edge-of-town boondocking spot and only buy food for a few days at a time at produce stands.
I still feel there are a lot of similarities between both our lifestyles (like learning a new language, integrating into the culture, and dealing with everything being new and more challenging every day), even though they are very different.
Keep enjoying the Lisbon city life! One day, I hope to visit you there.
Thanks, Liesbet! We are most certainly living very parallel lives these days. I’ve enjoyed watching you guys conquer the various challenges you’ve faced as you’ve doggedly pursued this incredible goal of exploring South America. I’m sure we’ll both have plenty more challenges to compare in the future.
As for the noise, we have a lot of scooters here, but they’re not overly obnoxious – at least not in our neighborhood. And I’m happy to say the earliest the bells ever ring is 7:45. I know, I know… that’s not really that early, but we are night owls who like to go to bed late and sleep late. Sadly, Lisbon does not care about our preferred schedule, so we are up early-ish every day. 🙂
And no, I was not aware of the later photograph – I’ll see what I can find. Thanks for the tip!