Portugal Pt 2
Travelling by ourselves, making our own decisions and only having to worry about what we want to do has been a hugely positive part of our travel adventures (it’s definitely brought us closer together as a couple) but there is nothing like spending time with friends, especially in times of stress. We were finally reunited with our friends, John & Kate, after 7 months apart and it was fantastic to see them again! Emotional for sure, but so wonderful to be able to talk to people face to face who share your hopes and dreams and understand the ups and downs of motorhome/van life.
We set up camp in the motorhome park in Tavira and booked in for two weeks, so we had a base should the predicted lockdown run on further than they had announced. Covid has made us be more prepared and flexible in our decisions. Whilst we were there we spent time with our friends and used the facilities at the site they live on. Swimming in a luxurious (but absolutely freezing) pool and having a proper hot shower is a luxury we will always make the most of! On one visit to their site we saw that one of the other static homes was for sale so we made enquiries and found the contact details of the seller. The weeks rolled on and we explored the town and surrounding area a little more. It wasn’t on our list of ‘suitable places to live’ (or even on our radar!) before we headed down here, but as we found out more about the area we started to feel at home. Through more discussions with the seller of the static and a viewing (or three) we made the decision that yes, it could make a great home for us.
We started making offers to buy the property and apply for residency. We finalised the sale of the property (number 30) the week of Callum’s 30th birthday. The residency process wasn’t complicated either, but it was longwinded and required lots of paperwork. It meant lots of toing and froing between the main town hall in Tavira and the smaller junta in Cabanas on our bicycles but finally, last week, we got our residency paperwork!
The more we explore this area of Portugal the more we find to fall in love with. Tavira old town is beautiful, the Anchor Beach at Praia do Barril has white sands and crystal clear water, the marina and salt flats at Fuseta are home to flamingoes and numerous other wildlife species. It’s convenient location is just a short drive to Faro, Loulé and Olhão (with everything we need to redecorate our new home) and 30 minutes from the Spanish border in the other direction. There are miles and miles of cycle tracks for us to navigate and so much more yet to find. Faro airport is only an hour drive away so friends and family can come to visit when covid (hopefully) calms down and the world opens up again.
During our time in Tavira time we have been joined by other travel friends; Suzy & David from Midlife Migration, Kat & Ewen from The Travelling Pilchards, travel duo bollox_2_it and Richard who we met in Norway. We had met David and Suzy in Spain earlier in October and got on really well. As we’d made our way down through Portugal they’d travelled south through Spain and we’d arranged to meet up in Portugal for Christmas. Now that we had a base and were on the campsite long term, we had a perfect place to meet up and (with social distancing) celebrate together. Again, it has been wonderful to spend time with travel friends who just ‘get it’ and to feel a little bit of normality by hanging out with friends, whilst we plan our #vanlife Christmas celebrations, with BBQs, shared meals, a curry take away for Callum’s birthday and even venturing out for a girl’s lunch with the ladies.
Theodore too, has enjoyed being in one place for a longer period of time, again being allowed to let himself in and out of the van. He’s especially enjoying sunning himself every day and not having to drive around, which is by far, his least favourite part of being a ‘van cat’. He’s even happy with the close proximity of the dogs belonging to our fellow motorhome friends. We are very much looking forward to introducing him to our new home.
We’ve still got a lot of work to do on our tiny home. The interior was VERY pink, the outside has been neglected and the previous owners left a lot of belongings behind which we just don’t need. We can’t wait to put our own stamp on it and make it our own home. After living full time in the motorhome for 15 months we do miss the travelling side, exploring new places and meeting new people but we are very much looking forward to a little bit more space (even though it’s still a small home), running water and the luxury of flushing toilet!! We are hoping that 2021 brings us new opportunities and more memories to make here in our new home.