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[Sticky] AS REQUESTED: The Coimbra-specific forum/group (-:

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(@carlm)
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@kkcwalton @luise - you asked, and here it is! All yours, please get posting and sharing 😎 

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(@kkcwalton)
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Joined: 7 months ago

@luise We watched every single one of your videos over the weekend.  What a trip from the UK!  We learned a lot and appreciate you creating them.  We're going to feel like we know you soon.  The one-sided relationships are what's weird about blogging, right?

The information you shared about the NIF and bank account was very useful.  For some reason I had it in my head that we would need to go to Lisbon and hire a lawyer to register for our NIFs.  Knowing that we can take care of it in Coimbra is very useful -- and seems to reduce my stress about it somehow.  

Thank you for the info and the link to your videos.  We're subscribed now and looking forward to following your journey.

For those who haven't discovered Luise's channel yet, she can be found on YouTube at Solo 50plus Expat Portugal.

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(@luise)
Joined: 1 year ago

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@kkcwalton Aww thanks Karen. I'm glad you found some of the stuff useful. I was hoping it would be. I know how I felt before I came so wanted to share things that may be of use. 

It's so true about the one-way vlogging experience. In fact the whole thing is really weird and I'm still getting used to it! 🙂 

Thanks for watching and subscribing. I wasn't trying to plug it here... but thought the Coimbra would be useful. ☺️

 

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(@kkcwalton)
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@luise It was useful and fun.  We wouldn't have known about it otherwise so I'm glad you told us about it.  And if useful for us, it will be for others.  You're terrific Luise and braver than me to put yourself out there!  Congrats on your channel.

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(@oenococcusonei)
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This is a nice development.

I have never been to Portugal, either.  We were planning to move to France for some more wine industry education, but I realized I would just rather get on with the business of retirement and travel.  Portugal has emerged as the frontrunner for an affordable base in Europe.  Coimbra is one of my primary areas of interest to explore for living.

I will be monitoring this and other regional areas for information on expat life at modest costs.  We will be 60F/55M when we come over in June, 2022.  Starting the FIRE budget at $3600 USD / month.  Does this seem appropriate for a not particularly flashy couple who are comfortable in Mexico and South America without a lot of stuff?

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(@terrell)
Joined: 9 months ago

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@oenococcusonei , based on some prior Expat Portugal programs on living costs (and likewise being a person of a similar age who is comfortable without a lot of stuff :-), my understanding is that your budget will be quite good, perhaps even extravagant!  Hopefully others will correct me if that isn't accurate, as I am not
yet in Portugal, either.   Word at today's Expats Portugal's Thursday open "meet and greet" event was that another presentation on living costs was soon to come, so you might look for that.

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(@oenococcusonei)
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@terrell Thank you for your helpful reply.

Of course, every Euro not spent helps the coffers for the future.  We hope to rent for a few weeks each in multiple places, across perhaps three months.  Pop to Eastern Europe to refresh the Schengen visa timeout, and return to PT to solidify what feels good and try to get a sense of differing seasons.

I have fantasies of a small, modern, concrete and glass house with infinity pool and cold local wines and beers.  I suspect that reality might correct me, a bit. 

😀

 

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(@thomasribatejo)
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@terrell is correct, the cost-of-living webinar is this coming Thursday, 8 July (evening, Portuguese time) 🙂

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(@kkcwalton)
Joined: 7 months ago

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@oenococcusonei Hi!  Welcome to the Coimbra group.

We're still waiting to come to Portugal as well, so we can't offer any ideas yet on the cost of living other than what you can find at Expats Portugal or other forums.  Our exploratory trip is planned starting next February, and if all goes well we plan to move next fall.  We'll both be 65 by then so in the same age range.  Don't blame you a bit for focusing on retirement either!  We're looking forward to retirement too.

Stay in touch and if you land in Coimbra let's connect.  Best of luck with your move.

 

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(@terrell)
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Fellow Coimbra-Area Groupies,

  Could anyone recommend a taxi/Uber/Lyft-type company or an individual driver known to you that could be contacted in advance for assistance with errand-running between the mountain hinterlands and nearby local village(s) during an upcoming trip in August 2021? 

  I recall hearing that it was not hard to find such, e.g, if you do once get a taxi then you will likely be offered a card to call for future rides. Is that still reasonable to hope for if your destination is far out in the country versus near a big city like Coimbra itself? Or has COVID has changed the likelihood of success?

Thanks for your thoughts and ideas! 

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Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
Joined: 4 years ago

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Posts: 373

@terrell not as specific as you need, I know, but two thoughts:

1 - pop "taxi lousã" (or góis, but they seem to have few options/reviews) into Google, and various well-reviewed places come up.  I think you may find that a taxi company/person "up your way" will be more amenable than Coimbra in terms of availability etc.  and I suspect Lousã will be more useful to you for things not specific to your Câmara Municipal/Freguesia;

2 - Lousã has bus connections to Coimbra, replacing the former train line (which was removed in preparation for a metro line which was then cancelled...) 

is where you can find all the details, including that of the app, and the timetables.  This would certainly be a more cost effective option, if less time-efficient, to get to/from Coimbra.

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(@terrell)
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@thomasribatejo , thanks for the info! Getting back and forth from my village to Lousã or other nearby small towns or cities, like Gois itself,  are exactly the routes for which I am hoping to find some taxi or Uber-like assistance. The fact that the village was accessible in from Coimbra (by bus to Lousã) was one of the original key purchase points for my house, but sticking to these nearby towns for most services, rather than returning to Coimbra, is the hope.

That said, it will be at treat to meet up with other Coimbra-area group members in Coimbra. 🙂

It's too bad that the train from Coimbra to Lousã and surrounding cities was lost during the Great Recession, but it's wonderful to still have a bus for cheap. 

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(@terrell)
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Hi Coimbra-area Peeps!

 Just returned from three weeks in Portugal, most of which was spent hiking around the Xisto villages in Lousa and Gois "near" Coimbra, and had a fantastic time! Thank you, @thomasribatejo and @Gerry (and your companions), and Miguel Frada of the Tech Store in Anadia, too, for your gracious and wonderfully informative (and funny) help along the way. (I would love to have connected with @luise as well but our schedules didn't match, and @carlm, I figured you would be too busy avoiding wine to meet up, but hope to catch you on a second trip. 😉 ) 

 Dark-sky night fans: Wow! The silence and sights in the Serra Lousa at night are as Sara wrote -- gorgeous. For fans of rural life, the village of Aigra Nova offered a night-sky walk from there to Aigra Velha while I was there, and the nearby town of Góis was even highlighting this aspect of Coimbra area tourism with night-sky bulletin boards. The river beaches and boardwalks at Góis and the Lousã castle were lively and picturesque, the Xisto Villages and the Xisto Village network hikes in both areas were breathtaking -- one incredibly gorgeous view after another -- and the serenity and variety of the flora and fauna of the mountains and the protected natural regions therein were among the best I have ever hiked, from New Zealand to China to the U.S. 

 Brief stays in Lisbon, Santarém, and Coimbra also yielded gems and unexpected treats. For just one instance, if you are in Coimbra in the next month or so, consider checking out this free tour of a gorgeous old church, hosted by a lovely woman who is offering them (in English and German, too) as part of her training in tourism. 

 With a big shout-out to all at Expats Portugal (the team and all you fellow expats) for the info, connections and assistance that helped make it possible,

  Terrell   

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(@terrell)
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(@kkcwalton)
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@terrell Wow Terrell!  What a great write up on your trip.  Thanks very much for sharing it with us.  Do you have a written itinerary you could share?

It's very encouraging to hear about the dark skies near Coimbra, as that's very important to my Bob.  We can't wait to be there... flights are scheduled for 2/22/22 (that has to be an auspicious number, right??)... Covid allowing..

Best, KK

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(@terrell)
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@kkcwalton, it is great to hear you have your flight scheduled; let's hope all of those incidents of the number two stand for "2 go"! 

  My itinerary might not be that useful; it was pretty much for lovers of rural life, isolation, hiking,  mountains, Xisto villages, hamlets and very small cities, and relatively cheap hotel/hostel stays wherever possible. (I had originally intended to camp out at the house I am buying, but that's another story...) However, it went: Lisbon (2 nights); Santarem (1); Coimbra (but basically only to catch a bus to Lousã (less than 3 Euros!)); Lousã (4 nights) (from which I hiked out to the Lousã castle and then on to Casal Novo, Talasnal, Candal and along other trails); Cerdeira (4 nights) (from which I hiked further, including back to Candal and to and over the nearby highest peak of Trevim and to Aigra Nova and back);  Comareira (3 nights, from which I hiked again to Aigra Nova, Aigra Velha, Povorais, Pena, and other nearby sites);  Góis (3 nights) (from which I hiked back again to Aigra Nova and other nearby towns); and then back to Lousã for the bus to Coimbra (2 nights) and train back to Lisbon (1 night). Most of where I spent my time was in an EU-designated protected zone for flora and fauna that covers much of the Serra Lousã.

  In most, but not all cases, I hiked along many of the marked Xisto Villages trails; this link 

will take you to a write-up for just one of them, PR1, but there are is similar info for the others...there are at least 10-15 more PR trails between the two areas around Lousã and Gois alone. These trails were almost all well-marked and most were in good shape, but definitely keep in mind the trail guidance for difficulty levels, times, and alterations in altitude. With the exception of few that share portions of roadway or e.g., the wonderful boardwalk out to the Lousã castle,  these trails are definitely not for folks with unsure footing or mobility challenges, and walking along narrow ledges and mountain drop-offs (with the accompanying gorgeous views) was pretty standard -- these little villages are tucked away! But with a car you can also access them by roadways, too; just plan ample time for the very winding roads. 🙂

  The cities of Góis and Lousã also lie along Portugal's Route EN2, which is essentially their Route 66. So, if you are journeying by rental car and want to add that element, you can get a route pass that can be stamped (like the spirit of walking and stopping along the Camino de Santiago, but by car and not religious) at the Góis Tourism Office and the same for Lousã as well as some other sites in each city. 

  The tourist office at the city of Góis was wonderful in terms of helpful people. It's possible to get on their mailing list (info about the dark sky walk at Aigra Nova was something they could share in that way, for instance).  I did not stop in the tourist office for Lousã, but got good guidance from the hotel/hostel staff where I stayed.

  There are definitely unique seasonal elements that you would miss in February, such as the fact that in the summer, Góis trucks in sand to add islands to their extensive river beach scene, with bathers, kayaking, and more on the river,  extending far past their historic bridge and through the middle of the town, complete with an extensive boardwalk, cafe scene, and music along their long riverside park. For a small little place, the vibrancy of that summer scene was just wonderful (and most families were actually having fun together, instead of gazing at their cell phones!), but for folks looking for bigger or more sophisticated adventures, or in winter, the town would not/may not hold much appeal. For me, Góis and Lousã (the latter, much larger than the former) were mainly nearby anchors where I knew I could find grocery stops and taxis/buses when needed, rather than my primary destinations, and there are certainly other scenic or prominent towns others would be recommended. (Go, @saracruz !)

  Loving the mountains, during my initial travel bookings before I left the U.S.,  I initially scheduled two nights in Coimbra only a bit begrudgingly, but I can say I really ended up falling in love with that city as far as a nearby "big city"  -- including the architecture, university, and huge botanical garden in the middle of the older part that was a charmer.

  In terms of world cities, of course, from Coimbra to the Xisto villages, these are small to absolutely miniscule "sites" to see, hence my reluctance to even call the description above an "itinerary". If I expected to have only one shot to see Portugal and wanted to check out more regions than Central Portugal and not just tap the larger cities, the EN2 would be one neat way to go, although still missing a lot, as the many forums on Expats Portugal and other expats will attest! But having travelled to a great cross-section of some of the major "sites" that the world has to offer, that's no longer what my heart seeks, and the opportunity this trip offered to sit in real silence (but for bird, insect and water sounds) or congenially with kind villagers and expats when that suited, was just fantastic. 

  I've omitted here visits with fellow expats in Santarem and Coimbra that actually added so much to the trip, but @kkcwalton, did this provide the info you were hoping for? Having gone on quite a bit, I could share more 😉  as you may want/need (in terms of places stayed/to stay, etc.), but also apologize for having gone on so much!  

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Premium Member
(@luise)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 109

@terrell Sorry to have missed you on this trip. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. Would have loved to have joined you on some of those hikes 🙂 

 

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(@terrell)
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Joined: 9 months ago

P.S. @saracruz, because of my uncertainty about the time I would actually have in Coimbra on this trip, I missed scheduling an area tour with you, but that is high on my "to-do" for my next trip. Thanks for all of the info you share! 

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Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@saracruz)
Joined: 10 months ago

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Posts: 40

@terrell that's OK! I'll be here when you need an insight 🙂

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