It already seems a long time ago, the decision to leave the Netherlands and to live and work in Portugal. There have been so many new experiences and impressions. Life is really completely upside down!
The first few months we were mainly dealing with many practical issues:
what does it mean to be a resident of Portugal? What does it mean to be an entrepreneur in Portugal? Where do we go for domestic utensils? Where can we find good (building) materials. What is the best bakery in the area (very important for our B&B!)?
Things that used to be clear and simple, now require time and energy. The bureaucracy here, needs to be patiently and graciously accepted; one visit is often not enough, and there are always more civil servants involved than one would consider efficient. And they all need attention…..
The refurbishment of our B&B Algarve
A big house is fantastic but it meant stocking and using more than 200 liters of paint. We were fortuante to have help from friends and family and, of course, good local craftsmen.
Then we needed to shop for new bedding, garden furniture, kitchen utensils and furnishings, works of art (such as paintings) etc. The auction centre in Faro turned out to be a very trusworthy supplier of many useful items.
We are very satisfied with the final result achieved by our efforts: more comfort for our guests and more atmosphere in our B&B Algarve. And obviously, this is an ongoing activity!
Finding our way
Trying to find our way, also means trying to become part of the local community. Els, who is a theater afficionado, has found a theater club. She has already played her part in more theatrical productions this year than she had ever done in a similar period in the Netherlands.
Bert has gained respect in the racing scene. He takes his mountain bike for a spin through the beautiful countryside at least once a week.
Despite all this we miss our friends from the Netherlands. A drink or a meal together with like-minded people here, is still hard to organise. We have not yet completely succeeded to fill in that part of our lives to our satisfaction. Perhaps this is partly because we do not speak Portuguese well enough. Or maybe we are just too busy with our work. Well, we have taken up learning Portuguese to tackle that issue. And of course, we have already had many visits from our Dutch friends and family.
The Algarve and our B&B
We enjoy the beautiful scenery and pleasant climate every day. It continues to surprise us: the beaches, the hills and nature, we never get enough of this.
We now have experienced all seasons; the spring when there are flowers everywhere, summer drought and with its fantastic balmy evenings, autumn and winter mild in comparison with quicly growing greens.
We really enjoy working in our garden. Els has become an expert ‘jam maker with more than 50 jars of jams and marmelades in stock now.
An even greater joy is running our B&B! It is such a pleasure to welcome and entertain guests from all over the world and listen to their stories! Besides many guests from Southern Europe, more and more Belgians, Germans and Dutch find our B&B Algarve. We are really happy with this! We do our utmost to make all our guests feel at home. The appreciation we get in return is ample reward for all the hard work we put in achieving that.
We are looking forward to this season in which we will have some new challenges. Next month we provide accomodation for a large group of friends from Portugal. Later in the year two visually impaired Dutch guests will visit us. They will spend their first time abroad at our B&B Algarve. We are looking forward to meet these challenges.