We arrived in Portugal this past summer and knew that for this trip, we’d stay roughly four or five months. This took us until the very end of November. What’s become a bit of a tradition for us is to visit specific places near our home when we arrive. One of these places is Areia Branca Beach, which translates into White Sand Beach, because it’s near to where we live, and there is something about seeing the ocean.
Long Stays versus Short Stays in Portugal
As you can imagine, these long-ish trips are different than a two-week vacation in many respects. Mainly, it’s not all a vacation when you live somewhere, even if it is overseas. After all, there are so many wonderful distractions, such as medieval villages to wander through, pastéis de nata to enjoy at every turn, and of course, beautiful beaches, such as Area Branca, where you can soak up the sun on a lazy afternoon.
When you stay in a place for a long period of time, there are just as many, if not more, things to do. Added to that, is the steep learning curve you need to navigate as you figure out how to best manage your day-to-day life with different sets of rules and timelines than you’re probably used to. It’s not uncommon for us to have a to-do list in Portugal that lingers for years, and it’s not for lack of trying on our part.
Enjoying a Coffee in Areia Branca Beach
What being in Portugal helps us do though, is to take our time. We’ve noticed that people always have time for a cup of coffee here. We were once late for a hair appointment at a salon, and the hair dresser told us to please go have a coffee because they were running late too.
What’s not to love about that?
Reflection at the Beach – Is there a better place?
We visited the beach again right before we left as a way to bookend our trip. This was a bittersweet moment. While we took in the beauty of Areia Branca, we reflected on all that had happened over the course of our stay (we finally renovated our barn apartment – photos and details soon to be revealed!), and on what hadn’t happened (a visit to the Museu de Azulejos, amongst a few other things). And most importantly, we expressed gratitude that we have a home in Portugal, and that we were able to be away for so long.
We’re back in Toronto for the time-being, with the intention of returning to Portugal sometime in early-ish 2024. For now, our posts will continue each week, but they won’t focus as much on Lisbon or Portugal, and more on the other aspects of Letters and Lipstick.
When we do return, we most likely will visit Areia Branca again, settle into creaky beach chairs, sip on an abatando, and say to ourselves, “It’s good to be back.”
-Isabel & Marilyn