On Monday morning, October 9th at 7 o’clock it was time. Without any particular excitement about our adventure, we climbed into our car as if it was a normal day and not a special event. The stress around emigration kept our anticipation in check. Off we went to Portugal. Our journey took us via Basel to France, where we spent a cozy night in a remote Airbnb, before arriving in Spain the next day and a day after in Portugal. 3 days approx. 6-8 hours by car. We literally drove into the sun, because each day was getting warmer and sunnier. But the actual journey, as we noticed on arrival in Portugal, started only now.
It took a week until we finally moved into our house. Until then, we stayed in an Airbnb, an hour from our future home. The poor telephone connection and the comfortable working mentality of the Portuguese made it difficult for us, but after some back and forth and a visit to the real estate company RE / MAX, we could sign the contract and received the key for the house on the same day.
8 rooms on 4 floors – it’s huge! We were prepared for the fact that we couldn’t make ourselves comfortable at the time of moving in and that there would be a lot to do, but what we saw and experienced exceeded our expectation a bit. The house stank horribly, full of filth, cobwebs, dead insects and mold on the walls. For us it was said: clean, clean, clean, air out the whole house and fumigate to get rid of the old air. Not only the cleaning was stressful, but also the fact that we lived in the house for a week without running water and another week passed until we finally had electricity in the house. Our neighbor offered us to tap electricity from her house until the electricity company (quite late) connected us to the electricity grid. Until then, our diet also suffered a bit because we only ate cold food.
The next step was to go shopping: gas stove / oven, refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, boiler. All this was missing in our house. And if Portugal wasn’t so cheap, we’d probably have spent all our money already by then. In retrospect, we learned that this house was empty for almost 10 years. And yet we would have expected the company to at least have the house sorted out before handing it over to us. I think you have to get used to the fact that this is just “Portugal”.
At least we have found a place where we can arrive and live in our new home Portugal. Meanwhile we have made ourselves a little more homely and comfortable and are about to set up more and more, so that we can enjoy it at home. However, it is clear to us that we see this house as a transition. What we’ve noticed by now is that we lack a garden (or at least a possibility to stay outside in the sun) and that 4 floors are a bit too much for us. 😉
Where we are now we could call it “in the middle of nowhere”. We think it’s great! That’s exactly what we were looking for, out of the city and into the silence and the nature. Without a car you can’t get there, or at least you won’t get far. We are surrounded by forests and although there are often forest fires around here, it is wonderful. In Switzerland, I’ve always wanted to live close to the water or near a lake because it’s easier to switch off. Here in Sobreira Formosa (our village), I don’t miss the lake so much, because I can relax and calm down here anytime, anywhere. The word time has become a different meaning for me. If you want to adapt here, then you should turn down two gears and tackle things in a more relaxing way. Stress does not exist here. Anyone who “has” stress, only makes it himself. Our friends, whom we met here, keep reminding us. If we pass by “P and J” (our friends, a married couple, two villages further), we can assume that we can’t make our way home straight away. Could be partly because of the fact that P loves to talk and won’t stop ;).
Another thing we learned from Manuel, a restaurant owner in the next village, is that the Portuguese can not talk softly. They are discussing. And it always sounds like they’re arguing. Even though It’s about irrelevant things like the fruits in the garden. We once experienced it live with our neighbour Maria. Maria is an angel, she always brings fresh fruits and vegetables from her garden. She organized our parking place, which was occupied by another neighbour. It was her who gave us electricity from her house. Luckily she speaks some English and French.
But also the other neighbours are great, they all care about us as if we were little helpless children. In their eyes, we totally are – we could be their grandchildren. We only have “old” neighbors, but they are wonderful. At least they always enjoy seeing us, waving to us, saying hello, knocking on our door every now and then to see if everything is alright, and bring us food from their gardens on a regular basis. We didn’t know it like that before, at least not to that extent. We are pleased to see and experience that this is still possible today and exists on our doorstep – a place where people treat each other considerately and support each other so helpful, without that is asked and even before you got to know each other better.
Aaron has made a little video of our tour in the area. Enjoy!
So if you really want to switch off, you have to visit this place or the surroundings. Although the telephone and Internet connection are not the best in some places, I recommend it to everyone! All of a sudden, the telephone network and the Internet connection will not matter anyway, because you realize that it’s just not that important. Unless of course, one would like to share this beautiful experience on Instagram 😉 So at least I try to make sure that I don’t forget to post on Instagram, even if this happens so quickly and easily.
See you soon and all the best,