I was looking out at the view over the castle just sitting relaxing after lunch.
My life seems to have completely changed for the better since I moved to Portugal and it’s not just the weather although of course it is nice especially at this time of year.
There are the occasional things that try our patience of course but overall I think that we have a life here that is benefiting from the lower population mass and free of many of the intrusions and effects of social problems like petty crime, nervousness walking out at night, yob behavior and so on.
Here in central Portugal it is a mainly rural and friendly environment where people have time for each other.
Here is a recent example-
We were returning from visiting friends at the weekend and had to stop to wait for someone to move their car which was parked blocking the road. We had stumbled upon an impromptu fiesta. While we were waiting for the car owner to be found we were asked if we would like some grilled sardines which was very tempting as the smell was glorious.
It often makes me smile at these social events. It could be because of the limitations of communicating in two languages or just a different way of interacting.
The village women get straight to the point in what my wife and I call the “velvet interrogation” Within ten minutes you will have been asked where you live who your neighbors are, what you do and a thousand other questions all so that they can associate you with the local area and people.
If there is someone in the interrogation group that already knows you they have massive kudos by being able to correct the other group member’s information even if it is wrong.
This casual encounter in a sleepy village was in stark contrast to a recent visit to the UK where I was taken aback by how many people there are walking around the city streets and tourist attractions.
The sort of un-rushed peace we have here in central Portugal is a very rare commodity in the UK.