California at a quarter of the price.

I love California.  I have lived there several times during my life and I seem to be drawn to the beauty of the golden state.

I love the ocean and the smell of Eucalyptus trees.  I love the hiking trails.  I love the mountains and the fog.  All of these things can be found and experienced a few minutes from my doorstep here in Portugal.

Portugal, however, also has the benefit of being in Europe.  This means it has gorgeous old and historic buildings.  It has winding narrow roads. It has cute coffee shops everywhere, where you can enjoy a coffee for 60¢ and sit for hours people watching.

Portugal, unlike California, is cheap.  A trip to the farmers market can yield pounds worth of organic fresh fruits and vegetables for under $10.   Dinner out with appetizers, wine and dessert for a family of four is usually about $30.    A fabulous brunch is usually under $7.   Really what can beat cheap and delicious?  I argue…nothing.

I meet a lot of Californians here.  They too have discovered all the things they like about home, with the many added benefits here in Portugal.  More and more Californians are retiring here and I have even met some young families who have embraced the California of Europe.

Even surfing is huge here.  The coast of Portugal has a lot of surf competitions and in the winter the big wave surfers flock to Nazare to ride some of the largest waves in the world.

I really shouldn’t be telling you this.  The locals don’t want too many more people knowing about how cool this country is.  Tourism is already up by nearly 40 % from a decade ago.  Just read this and then forget I told you, okay?

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