Tag Archives: Europe

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?

Chasing a new record.

We left our priest in Portugal so that the girls and I could enjoy a glorious Canadian summer. My priest wanted to join us, but our dog is too old to travel.

We left her several times for a week, but for more than that…not a good plan. So, he bit the bullet and is on Piranha patrol.  Piranha doesn’t love my priest. She tolerates him when no one else is there. They are lonely together.  The other reality is that he had to work and he wanted his time off for European travel…plus we have a new goal.

Piranha is currently 16 years old. We recently read that the oldest Bichon Frise on record that lived in Europe was 17 years old. A new record is within our grasp! Piranha turned 16 in June. The vet claims she is in great shape for the shape she is in. She is blind, deaf and only has 11 teeth left, but she walks fine and she still eats. She is in no pain.

We could actually win this thing!  My dog just has to survive my priest caring for her for 6 weeks. Every time I FaceTime, she is crying.  She is always looking for me, but apparently settles down at bedtime.  I feel awful, but our new goal is giving my priest real drive and focus…keeping our dog alive.  Our puppy mill dog from Iowa could outshine all of those posh European relatives of hers.

Piranha is a fighter and I have to say, I always admire determination, even when it is in a dog.