Sunday, 10 November 2013

Living and Working in the Algarve, Portugal | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

I thought I'd share with you a bit about what's its been like living and working in Portugal, now that I've been here for a few weeks.

I haven't been on any longer camping trips since I got here as I've been pretty busy working and exploring the local area by bike, also saving my fuel money for a few future adventures in this part of the world.

I arranged my work here through the website. The arrangement is made between you and your host, but basically the deal is that you work up to five hours a day in exchange for accommodation and meals.

In my case, I'm working for my food, and a place on the grounds here to set up camp, an arrangement that's working out very well for us all. Thanks to this way of organising things, I can live in this part of the world very cheaply, yet at the same time have all my needs met working what are part time hours by the usual standards.

My agreed role here is in looking after the grounds and developing an organic vegetable garden, as well as doing some maintenance, and improvements on the villa.

I've been really focused on creating the vegetable garden since I got here, trimming back hedges and bushes, creating bordered beds, and planting seedlings. I've also been maintaining the irrigation system - essential in this climate. So far we have planted, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, beetroot, peas, and strawberries. Here are a few shots of what has been achieved so far..

I've also been working on expanding a kitchen herb garden with a variety of useful herbs, also with its own drip feed irrigation, and looking after the hens and their enclosure. We have two fully grown hens and half a dozen well developed chicks, so plenty of eggs to come. At the minute it's about two a day.

Fresh straw in the chicken coop

Most evenings I have a meal with the family and then relax, watch films and keep in touch with friends online. We are on UK time here and at the minute it gets dark around 6pm, though its not at all cold in the evenings. Being rural it's pitch dark out, and I wear a head torch when I need to go outside in the evening, to operate the irrigation or check on something.

Working outdoors in the warm climate here, I'm usually glad to have a swim in the pool after work, then relax in the evening, but on the weekend I've been out exploring by bike..

I'm about a fifteen minute cycle from the coast, the nearest beach being at a small colourful fishing village. There are cafes and bars but it doesn't have the tourist feel about it, though the beach is beautiful and the sea warm for swimming. Here are a few shots I took whilst out on the bike..

I've been fishing too since I got here as I found a great spot about fifteen minutes away on the bike. I have yet to catch anything yet, though I believe there are big sea bass to be had along the coastline here. I'll be out again soon for another fishing trip - I hope to start catching fish nest time. Here's the fishing spot I found..

There are many winding and dusty paths lining the tops of the cliffs along the coastline here and it's great fun to bike along them, choosing your best line, and gazing out at the deep azure sea..

I'm really glad I made the decision to come here for the winter. The climate being the big draw is really exceeding my expectations, as its generally better than summer weather back in Ireland and the UK. Its really lovely to be able to relax in the sun when I'm not working, and its unusual if the weather is other than beautiful. 

Also being far south on the European mainland is a perfect starting point to explore further afield, along the Mediterranean coast into other countries and cultures. I have no plans to move on somewhere else at present, but the option is always there to explore further, especially if I organise another work placement in advance.

Thanks for visiting!

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1 comment:

  1. Hi bro Andy and Jessie just looking at your blog and how you are getting along. Looks fine to me envy the warm weather. It's blowing gales constantly here! Try Skype one day. I'm getting a bit frustrated with my lack of tech knowledge for my blog but still trying. New post tomorrow! Xx