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Hank and Konni from California reporting in

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Posts: 168
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(@hank_2021)
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Joined: 9 months ago

Hi guys,

Just wanted to say hi!  The wife and I have finished up our first week of our month-long Portugal scouting trip and are having a wonderful time.

We landed in Lisbon and spent 4 days there and we're finishing up 4 days in Tavira.  We're heading up to Leira tomorrow to meet up with Doc Thompson and introduce ourselves in person.

We didn't rent a car and we've been doing "ordinary people" things.  Taking public transit everywhere....train, metro, bus, trolley, walking.  It's been super easy to get around, barely an inconvenience.

You read about how nice the Portuguese people are, and it's no lie.  Everyone has been so nice and I'm not just talking about the people waiting on us.  We have spent time in grocery stores, visiting malls, and just trying to do every day people stuff and the people we've bumped into have just been so nice and courteous. 

It's amazing, really.  The best word I've found so far to describe is that the people are just damned civilized.  Just really...civilized.  The atmosphere is so relaxed and people are just so...I don't know, content?  Easy going?  Mature?

It's sooooooooooooooo different than in America.  It's amazing, totally opposite.

We met a shop keeper who was third generation owner of his shop where we bought somethings from.  We couldn't speak Portuguese, he could spoke a smidgen of English.  It.  Just.  Didn't.  Matter. 

We found a way to communicate and it was such a joyful, enriching experience.

It's amazing how peaceful Tavira is.  It's amazing how peaceful Lisbon was.  I think I could count on one hand the number of times I heard an ambulance and/or car horn. 

Just an amazing experience so far.

One of the main missions we had coming on this scouting trip was to find some reason, some event that screamed at us that we were crazy to be considering a move to Portugal. 

We simply can't find one.  Yes, it's only been a week, but there's nothing here saying we're nuts to come here.  Maybe that'll change, but I doubt it.

Everything we need is here, the public transportation is easy to use, cheap, and extensive.

Tons of people speak English and they really appreciate when we try to speak some form of broken Portuguese with them.  They laughed, we laughed.  We were laughing together.  It's just a joy.

I've been working remotely using the internet here, and ZERO problems. 

Prices are what I expected, EXCEPT for the electronics.  Research told me everything is sooo expensive here.  Honestly, I'm not seeing it.  Barely at all.  Maybe _slightly_ more on some things, but TVs, appliances, even the cell phones are pretty close.

I mean, there are a few things that are, but there's a lot of things that are a lot cheaper, and we were buying stuff in the super markets and malls.  I understand it's cheaper in the community markets.

Honestly, I'm trying to find a reason not to come, and we can't find one.  So far, the country is living up to the hype and all the years of research I've done.

We're going to be meeting up with some expat comrades on Wednesday and can't wait to meet in person.

The wife agrees there haven't been zero show-stoppers so far.

If I get time, I'll post follow-ups in this thread.  So if anyone is curious, here are our experiences so far!

Boa noite!

 

 

230 Replies




Posts: 168
Premium Member
Topic starter
(@hank_2021)
Estimable Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posted by: @zoom

- just watch Fox News for 5 minutes - it'll set you up for another 5 years! 😉 

HAHAHAHAHA

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1 Reply
Community Member
(@czarjohnanth)
Joined: 2 months ago

New Member
Posts: 1

Good for you and your wife for being open minded enough to do this.  I just watched this Alien Hell Portal - Mysteries of the Abandoned show.  I am going to see that tourist attraction.  

czarjohnanth

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Posts: 31
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(@jerzy54)
Eminent Member
Joined: 7 months ago

@hank_2021 Hi Hank and Konni, we are very happy that you guys have such great time traveling thru Portugal. We will be arriving to Lisbon on 08/05 and basically we will be following the same route as you and Konni.

We did visit Portugal last march and we were the last people flyng out to US before Covid19 shutdown. We were there only one week and stayed in the Lisbon-Cascais area. We loved it so much that we decided to visit again and see where we would like to move to presumably next year. I am just hoping, that isn't too late for us to move due to our age. (67 and 60)

I'm also dual Polish/US citizen. I moved to USA in the earl 1980 to look for the better life and life was better thru most of the time until 2016 election. I just can't take recent political divisions and I am not looking forward to 2024 elections. Also rise in the gun violence doesn't make us feel safe here. Portugal is #3 safest country and US is #121 on the list.

I'm also following Carl's show "GMP" as much as I can due to very early hour and I find it very informative and very positive. Seems like all Expacts are very happy with their life in the new country.

I hope the rest of your trip will be as amazing as it is for you and Konni.

Good luck with your return trip home, you guys will have a lot of thinking to do.

PS. Can let me know where in Lisbon you can get tested for Covid19 before your flight back to US. and how much does it cost?

I see you on the Good Morning Portugal show 😊  

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8 Replies
Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 9 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 168

Hi @jerzy54 !

We've spoken with multiple Americans here who shared the same concerns about the political situation and safety situation as you.  Konni and I do as well.  I think for all the macro stuff, the big stuff regarding quality of life, Portugal and Europe are just better. I honestly don't see any of that changing for the rest of our lives.

We are getting tested through www.ucs.pt .  You might think it was hard to get an appointment, but actually, it was super easy, barely an inconvenience.

They have an onsite testing facility at Lisbon airport.  That's where we will be going.

There are other options as well listed on the Lisbon airport health services page:

https://www.aeroportolisboa.pt/en/lis/services-shopping/essential-services/health-services

Carl is great and GMP are great.  expatsportugal has done a great job at building a foundation for a community here to grow upon and there are all kinds of services they are adding that many people can use and find invaluable.

We look forward to being a member of the community for years to come.

Let us know your thoughts on your trip as well!

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 Bert
Premium Member
(@bert)
Joined: 1 year ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 193

@hank_2021 Hank is this a PCR test or rapid test you are getting to head back? Am I correct in seeing that the facility closes opens and 6a and closed 10 pm? If a rapid does it meet whatever the US requires in a rapid test? Leaving on an early flight to SFO and website says get there really early for testing, maybe late the night before better? DON’T WANT TO GO HOME 😎

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 9 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 168

Hi @bert ,

We're getting the PCR test cause that's what we got to come over here.  We figured we wouldn't mess with it although the rapid test seems cheaper.  To find out what the U.S. will accept, you can check the requirements at the consulate:

https://pt.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

I think those hours are right, remember they use military time.  Anything before 12 is a.m. and anything greater than 12 is p.m.  Just subtract 12 to see what it is.

Also:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

and

travel.state.gov/C19testingOverseas

 

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 Bert
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(@bert)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 193

@hank_2021 yes those are my thoughts exactly. If you want to compare notes when back in the states love to meet for coffee or a libation to compare notes. My kids in Oakland and SF and I am in Sacto. Tchau tchau

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 9 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 168

Hi @bert ,

That's a fantastic idea and we'll see about setting stuff up when we get back!  Sooo much to talk about.

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(@jgibson)
Joined: 8 months ago

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Posts: 221

@hank_2021 my wife and I were able to have the Covid test done at the airport in Lisbon we did it the day before our flight was very simple we were staying at the hotel across the street did not take long at all to get through the line no appointment was necessary

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Premium Member
(@jerzy54)
Joined: 7 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 31

@hank_2021 thanks Hank for the info about test site. I agree with you on everything about the situation in the US and about difference of the living in Europe. I am hoping to fly to Lisbon next week, but I don't know if you know the US just put Portugal on the red list.

We shall see what will happen next.

Have a great flight back. 

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 9 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 168

@jerzy54 I saw that about the red list.  I think you'll still be able to come, but check the consulate website.  You'll need to be tested and you'll have to make contingency plans in case you test positive over here to stay in quarantine an extra couple weeks.

However, if you're fully vaccinated, the concern should be pretty low.  That said, fully vaccinated people do still catch Covid and the majority are asymptomatic, so you could be shocked to get a positive test.

Just remember, you have to quarantine 2 weeks at your own expense before the Portuguese government will let you get on a plane to fly home.

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Posts: 168
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Topic starter
(@hank_2021)
Estimable Member
Joined: 9 months ago

Quick update:  we're back in Lisbon for a week before flying back to the U.S.  Tomar was fantastic and if it was closer to the airports Konni said it could very well may be the place and will be on the list for future, long-term consideration.

Fantastic small-town feel without the humidity and touristy feel of Tavira.

Meeting with Gilda later today to get NIF and bank account done.  Gonna spend the rest of the week doing work stuff, getting covid test for flight home, visit Balem, Caiscais, and Sintra. 

If anyone is around Lisbon who'd like to get together for drinks, let us know!  (Andrew?)

Thanks so much to everyone who has been so supportive of our journey.  Special thanks to Carl, Comrade Andy and Leona, Gerry and Lucy, and others.

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2 Replies
 Bert
Premium Member
(@bert)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 193

@hank_2021 will be in Lisbon from 8/1-8/5, home on the 6th. PM if you want to meet. Have a few Ei etc appointments myself.

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 9 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 168

Hi @bert ,

That sounds great!  I'll check with Konni and our schedule and see if we can make something happen.  I think we can do something on the 1st or 2nd.  We fly home on the third!

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Posts: 168
Premium Member
Topic starter
(@hank_2021)
Estimable Member
Joined: 9 months ago

Quick update:

Met with Gilda today to sign paperwork for NIF and opening a bank account:

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5 Replies
Premium Member
(@jgibson)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 221

@hank_2021 Did you open your bank account at millennium we’ve had great luck Vera Tome was fantastic! It was uncanny how quick she provided our information, we walked into the millennium branch on the first floor of Gildas building introduced ourselves and Vera without hesitation opened up her drawer pulled out a packet and set it in front of my wife it contained all of our bank information to activate our bank cards. Vera then took my wife and I down to the ATM machine and assisted us setting up our new pin codes and activating our ATM cards were able to pull out our first euros from a Portuguese ATM machine it felt like our first victory of the trip than immediately crossed the street and bought our first pastel de nata lol.

We were unable to meet Gilda we did get a hold of someone at their office the week prior to our arrival  to make sure we could pick up our bank cards when we were in Lisbon.

It was great having the Millennium debit card to utilize while traveling around the country.

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 9 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 168

@jgibson I think it's going to be the same.  Gilda has earned our trust, so we are letting her handle it.  We basically set up power of attorney today and she's going to work on everything else this week.  We are meeting with them next week to finish things up before flying home.  I think we'll be getting everything you described on Monday.

Really encouraging to hear about your experience, and we're looking forward to a similar experience!

👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 

She's a good person and recommend her highly!

We set up a Charles Schwab bank account before coming over because they let you use worldwide ATMs without a fee and so we were using that to get money as needed from ATMs.

I know what you mean about that feeling though.  It's kind of like..cool, we got this.

We had that feeling constantly throughout the trip.  It's like, we can do this.

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Premium Member
(@jgibson)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 221

@hank_2021 I was a little nervous at first give me my Social Security numbers and personal information and power of attorney not fully understanding the language and the legalities kind of took a leap of faith and we have been very satisfied with the ex-pats Portugal group and Gilda  and Vera they have earned our trust

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 9 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 168

@jgibson Well, that's the thing though, you do need a good Portuguese attorney in your corner as expats.  It makes it far more easier to navigate the bureaucracy and get everything done right.

I know people do this sort of stuff on their own and for some it's even really easy, but for us it's like find the right people and pay them for their expertise.  There's enough stress dealing with moving to another country and if you can take one more thing off your plate, that's worth the investment in my mind.

Not only that, but we need all the connections we can make and this is one more connection.

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Premium Member
(@jgibson)
Joined: 8 months ago

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Posts: 221

@hank_2021 100% in agreement it’s worth every penny

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Posts: 221
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(@jgibson)
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Joined: 8 months ago

I’m so excited to get back and spend some more of those euros lol I was looking at flights thinking about going back in a couple weeks when I get off the boat I work on this time I want to take my 21 year-old son with me he speaks fluent Portuguese

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 9 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 168

@jgibson If your son speaks fluent Portuguese, then you're kinda doing this on cheat mode... 🤣

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Premium Member
(@jgibson)
Joined: 8 months ago

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Posts: 221

@hank_2021 he speaks fluent Brazilian Portuguese I think he will  be OK though we’re going to scout colleges going to save a heap of money lol he’s hell-bent on becoming a doctor, my 23-year-old daughter is a commercial pilot and is working on learning Portuguese and she really wants to fly in Europe so we’ll see how that goes looks like we only have to leave one sign behind in the states and will bring our 15-year-old with us

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 9 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 168

@jgibson Those sound like some super kids, sir.  Well done!  👍 👍 👍 

Looking forward to our meeting in Portugal.

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Premium Member
(@jgibson)
Joined: 8 months ago

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Posts: 221

@hank_2021 I got lucky with an awesome wife I give her the credit with the kids 

will be fun to meet !

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