SELF-ISOLATING IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY
Ferragudo is not a terrible place to self-isolate! Above is the view from across the inlet to the centro area of the village. Our little house is on the other side of the canal that runs through the center of town and is either filled with water or totally empty, all depending on the tide, as the Atlantic Ocean is just on the other side of the landfall.
And really, how can you be upset when you have the honest-to-god Castle of Arade built in 1640 sitting on a bluff overlooking your beach? (It is now the residence of the chairman of Volkswagen Portugal!)
Ferragudo is a tiny fishing village, pop. 1,900, celebrating its 500-year anniversary this year. It sits across the bay from the much, much bigger city of Portimao where in different times, cruise ships dock on their way to and from Lisbon, a
3 1/2-hour bus or train ride away.
I first visited this area six years ago and came back three years later and stayed for my full Schengen time allotment of three months, renting the same house we are in now. I was here over the Christmas and New Year holidays and was so honored to be taken in and become friends with the wonderful family that owns this house.
This is the La Casa dos Avos (The House of Two Grandmothers) and for the un-foreseeable future… The House of ReAnn & Joyce!
So, how does one spend the days when quarantined in a foreign country which has been in lockdown since March 17th and isn’t scheduled to reopen until possibly April 16th? You read (thank goodness for Kindles and good wifi that links us to our home libraries which let us ‘borrow’ as many e-books as we can read.)
There is of course the internet which we surf on a regular basis for just about anything from recipes to Covid-19 statistics. With the internet comes Amazon Prime, Netflix, Acorn and CBS All Access movies and TV shows. (And, we admit that we watched the terribly awful but addictive Tiger King.) And speaking of TV, Portuguese television is mostly filled with US and British programming, all in English, as well as CNN, BBC World News, SKY TV, etc. so we get our fill and more of up-to-the-minute news.
There is Facetime, WhatsApp, Google Voice and now ZOOM which keeps us in touch with our family members and friends, even allowing us to participate in organizational meetings and attend church services back home.
We are allowed to take a daily walk. We try and do at least 30-40 minutes though we can no longer walk the beaches, because last week a bunch of idiots came down from Lisbon and partied, and beaches have now been closed.
Then there are our almost daily visits to the little market in Centro or a 15-minute walk with our roly cart to Lidl, one of the area’s the big supermarkets. Did I mention cooking and eating? We both love to cook and then eat our creations – which, without much else going on, will be a clothes-fitting problem when this pandemic is over! We eat three really good meals a day, plus ‘toddy & snack time.’ Here are just a few of our concoctions!
Our walks give us wonderful photo-ops. We love the big sky/cloud moments that roll in from the sea and hang over the mountains.
Joyce keep busy gardening. She talked Jorge, our landlord into loaning her clippers, gloves, a hoe and even a sun hat so she could take care of all the plants in our upper and lower gardens.
Me, I’ve been writing a little more than usual. I submitted an article to the website, BoomerCafe.com which was co-founded by Greg Dobbs, ABC News television correspondent for over two-and-a-half decades, appearing on World News, Nightline, 20/20, and Good Morning America. You can imagine my surprise and thrill to have it accepted and just published under the title of Two Wandering Baby Boomers Self-Isolate in Portugal.
So here we are and here we will stay until the crisis is past. Starting on April 9th through the 13th, Portugal is closing its borders, airports and, for the first time, saying no travel between municipalities. In other words, Lisbon and its surrounding suburbs cannot come south to the beaches, and we cannot go north to the city. As a matter of fact, we cannot even go across the bridge to Portimao, which is a different municipality than ours. This is a very smart move on the government’s part, as Easter weekend has the largest influx of tourists into and moving within the country, especially to the Algarve region where we are located. I know an orange-colored man-child who lives in a big, white house in DC who could take lessons from the Portuguese government’s handling of this crisis. Oh, and there is even a small glimmer of hope for some international flights resuming by the end of April.
I will certainly keep you posted but until then….please stay safe, stay healthy, AND STAY INSIDE YOUR HOMES!