Real Life Stories: Peter FC

Real Life Stories Spices

Read our real-life stories and experiences from foreigners now living in Portugal as an expat. If you have your own story to share, feel free to contact us to get involved.


Peter FC

Where are you originally from?


What year did you move to Portugal?


Where do you currently live in Portugal?

I moved to my village outside of Gois, Coimbra.

Tell us about your journey to living in Portugal as an expat…

I retired early after a busy time as a franchisee of the largest drinks company in the UK.

From 2007, I started preparing to move by visiting Portugal until I saw a picture of a house in one of the villages I had visited a number of times. Forty-eight hours later I was standing in front of what is now my home: the house looked just like a UK village house. Next day I put my deposit down and as they say… the rest is history and in 2011 I was the proud owner of my new home.

The house had not been lived in for a few years and if you could imagine the worst kitchen you have seen, well mine was worse than that. All rooms have been updated and all walls were insulated. Air conditioning was the first thing I fitted using a home fitted system for cooling and heating.

I have spent the last 8 years converting the house to my own needs and I have found Chestnut an amazing wood to work with.

During the first year or two, I found a complete lack of Spices; okay a few little bags in the supermarkets but no real selection. So I started my own business, Iberian Spices and registered at my local tax office. I have been selling at three local markets to where I live. I also believe that I have the largest selection of Spices in Portugal and at present, stock over 100 different types. I believe I am the only stockist of a salt prefered by vegans Kala Namak.

What does the future hold? I wish I knew the answer. Firstly, get rid of a neighbour’s tree that’s branches touch my house because it is causing a fire hazard.

Why did you choose Portugal? Did you consider other countries?

I did first start looking in Spain, a place called the Ayora Valley.

Sadly, my wife said, “no”.  I wanted a holiday home, she didn’t.

She had been to Portugal with my daughter but again, she said, “no” but not just to moving to Portugal, she now wanted a divorce. I didn’t see that coming so I decided to retire early and get the divorce. I wasn’t prepared to be stopped from enjoying the rest of my life.

Living in Portugal as an expat, Coimbra, Portugal
Coimbra, Portugal

What were the major challenges you faced in relocating to Portugal and how did you overcome these?

Major challenges… I can’t see I had many because I live in an area where so many people speak English.

The bank manager speaks English almost without an accent. The only real problem is at the doctor’s. One person at the reception is great but the rest don’t speak English.

What are the pros and cons of living in Portugal as an expat, from your perspective?

Where I live, the people are great, nice and friendly. I can’t think of a downside. I enjoy going for a drink after Portuguese language class.

What do you like to do in your leisure time while living in Portugal?

My pastime is spent working on my house, I even have a laundry chute that takes my washing downstairs to my laundry room.

I have just built a 5,000-litre tropical fish tank. Now I am busy installing a solar system to power my fish room and LED power for my other downstairs room including my workshop.

How are your Portuguese skills?

One day I may become a Novis but at the moment I am not even up to any level. This may have to do with everybody in the local town speaking excellent English.

Describe how easy or difficult it has been to make friends in Portugal.

It’s easy to make friends but you must make an effort and don’t expect people to make the first move. Or sell Spices like me and you have lots of friends!

What do you miss the most from your home country?


What 3 pieces of advice would you give someone who is thinking about moving to Portugal?

Research, research and more research. After that you should be okay.


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