Let me begin by stating that it is January 26, 2021 and we are currently in Estoril Portugal and in lockdown. Unfortunately, Portugal relaxed restrictions during the Christmas holiday. As a result, Portugal is now the worst country in Europe and the second worst in the world as it relates to Covid-19 infection rates and deaths. The lockdown began about 2 weeks ago…and new restrictions are being added each week. On Friday, they closed the schools.
The English language news outlet on which we depend reported the following on January 20th:
Deaths today were of 219 patients (one more than yesterday’s ‘record’) while new case numbers are up by roughly 4,000 to 14,647.
Experts are warning this is nowhere near the end of Portugal’s devastating 3rd wave: deaths will continue to increase into February, with the number of new cases rising into the 16,000s, even 17,000s.
If you are American, you may view these numbers as small. But remember, Portugal’s population is less than 11 million.
Now That We Are All Depressed
None of the above has anything to do with “Where we Began”…but it may explain why our first few posts will come more regularly than posts two or three months from now. (There are only so many hours a day someone can study Portuguese.)
So When Did This Begin?
We got serious about moving to Portugal in June or July 2020. Those of you who know me, know that I wanted to leave the US after the 2016 election. Denise (my wife) convinced me to leave Trump-land, otherwise known as The Villages, FL, for sunny and liberal California. While California did elect Devin Nunes, it is generally a very blue state. And I will admit, Denise was right. California, despite an occasional shake, is great! Those 3 years also gave us a bit of time to research where we might like to move to next.
Our first thought was Mexico…primarily because it is close to the US. We visited a few
places in Mexico and even considered buying a condo in Cabo. The people were friendly and warm, the language is fairly easy to learn, and (despite what you might have read) we felt safe there. Ultimately, though, we decided we wanted more creature comforts than Mexico could offer.
And while my interest in leaving the US was directly related to politics/mental health…Denise’s interest was driven by her love for travel. So as we read Forbes’ and International Livings’ articles on best places to retire, we focused on Europe. Traveling within the EU is as easy as driving from PA to NJ or NY. As we did more research we found that Portugal consistently ranked #1 in Europe and often in the Top 10 in the world for “best places to retire”. Why?
History and Culture
Friendly, Welcoming People
Superior Health Care (ranks 12th in the world)
Safety (ranks 3rd in the world)
English Spoken in Larger Cities & the Algarve
Lots of Golf Courses
I must admit, we added the last two items on the list above…but it is true and is important to us.
Portugal also makes it fairly easy to move here. In fact, over the past few years, they have offered various incentives to encourage Portuguese to return to their homeland and to expats who wish to call Portugal home. We came on a D7, sometimes called a Retirement Visa. To learn more about that…and the process we went through to get one during a pandemic you will need to read the next post.