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Soliloquies from Cindyb: a Solo Scouting Trip

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Posts: 70
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(@cindyb)
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Joined: 5 months ago

Someone suggested (thanks Annemarie!) that I write about my experiences as a solo on a scouting trip. Of course! I would have wanted to see such a thing myself! (Thanks Hank and Konni for setting this expectation and the bar so high!)

I love to travel but I loathe schlepping luggage! So this trip I planned to establish “hubs” or “bases” and explore from them. I am determined to do this scouting trip without a car because I hope to live in Portugal without one. My hubs are: Lisbon, Caldas da Rainha and Porto. The Algarve hub is yet to be determined. (Suggestions solicited!) I booked virtually nothing in advance leaving myself open to serendipity and the ability to shorten or lengthen a stay somewhere or even change a hub!

For a bit of context my criteria for selecting a home in Portugal is:

Walkable: I would prefer to do without a car

Good infrastructure and transportation

Access to Nature and especially shoreline (I am a Permaculturist and I garden)

Active community (ideally some expats!) and culture

Fresh markets

I have a (high maintenance, diva) fur baby

Healthcare: I am well to the other side of 60 (how did THAT happen??)

Observation: It's been harder than I thought to take off the tourist glasses and see a place through the lens of a full-time resident.

Up next: Reflections on Lisbon

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Posts: 72
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(@sonia)
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Joined: 4 months ago

For the Algarve hub I would suggest Faro or Olhão, both are well connected by public transport, both this cities have train stations and bus terminals in the city not in the outskirts as some other cities. You can take the train and visit all the major cities.

The ideal point for a hub would be albufeira since it is about the same distance from there to each point of the Algarve (east and west), but this only works for people with access to a car, because both the train station and bus terminal in Albufeira are far from the center.

I’ll follow along your journey has this is the kind of topic I enjoy the most.

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Posts: 70
Premium Member
Topic starter
(@cindyb)
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Joined: 5 months ago

About Lisbon...

Someone on this forum, and I apologize that I can't identify the author, wrote that there was no one Lisbon. How true is that.

Lisbon is a beautiful city and has a great vibe, that said, I found it almost overwhelming. Lisbon was never on the list of places to live and for me, Lisbon will be a destination…a place to come for plays, exhibits and shopping, but I don’t see myself living there.

I didn't do any of the touristy things in Lisbon, that is for another trip. This trip is head down exploring neighborhoods to live in with an eye of where I can start this adventure.

My first order of business in Lisbon was to meet with Gilda at Ei! and open my Millennium bank account. I stayed at the America Diamonds Hotel ( https://www.americadiamondshotel.com/ ) which is literally across the street from Gilda’s office and Millennium Bank. The place was clean, quiet and there was a mini bar and electric kettle in the room. Great breakfast buffet. The Picoas metro station is just out the front door and buses around the corner. If you want to be a bit away from the tourist areas but still have easy access, I think this area might be hard to beat. Some neat restaurants and pastelarias and a nice park in easy walking distance from the hotel.

A Brazilian roommate from my Findhorn days now lives just outside Lisbon. She and her husband fetched me on Friday and took me to lunch at Vestigius on the riverfront. The food was awesome and plentiful, the view to die for. https://vestigius.pt/ I highly recommend it if you want a bit of a splurge.

A hiccup with my international service with Verizon, my cell phone carrier in the US, cost me a day trying to sort out. (A loyal Verizon customer for close to 20 years, I now do not recommend them!) I immediately ordered a portable wifi modum which was delivered to my hotel the next day. It turned out to be a much cheaper option anyway. Unlimited internet usage for about a dollar a day. A return envelope was provided. I will just drop it in any mailbox when I get ready to leave.

Surprises: Women wear dresses here! Yes, you will see jeans and crops and even shorts but I love the breezy dresses. It was all I could do not to go and buy a couple.

Gotchas: I thought I might take the Lisbon metro between airport and hotel. Only a couple of the stations have lifts or escalators to street level. There was no way I was going to carry my rolling suitcase up a flight of stairs. The metro is not for the mobility challenged.

Next stop: Caldas da Rainha

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Premium Member
(@antifiat)
Joined: 6 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 29

@cindyb So sorry to hear about your mobile phone service. There are very few things more frustrating than that.

On our two previous visits to Portugal, we stayed with AT&T. (We were slow learners.) That service charged us $10/day for each phone to have international service. 

This time and before our move at the end of November or first of December, we switched to T-Mobile. They have a decent plan for the over 55 crowd that includes international text and data. 

That service will suffice until we switch to a Portuguese plan. 

Have a wonderful time!

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Posts: 29
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(@antifiat)
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Joined: 6 months ago

You write so well. Thank you for your nice report and some of the tips you provided. 

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Premium Member
(@cindyb)
Joined: 5 months ago

Trusted Member
Posts: 70

@antifiat You are too kind. Thank you.

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Posts: 159
Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@pamalcobaca)
Member
Joined: 11 months ago

Hi Cindy, it's so nice to hear your experiences! You're right about the metro, not good if you have luggage, the airport buses are so much easier!

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