Covid Recap.

On Monday, April 19th, Porto and parts of Portugal will reopen. Albeit with limited capacity. This means that a person can go out to a restaurant and eat inside if they so desire. Whoo-hoo! We have missed dining out so.
It has been a long haul since the country shut down back in January.
So much has happened since the beginning of the pandemic, it is almost too much to consider.
As stated in The Princess Bride, there is too much, let me sum up.
At the start of the Covid crisis, Portugal did a stellar job of keeping the virus numbers down. And the public also kept it together very well. It was a stark contrast to the chaos in the states.
We held it together quite well through the first few lockdowns.

Then, after Christmas, we had some of the highest virus numbers in Europe. The downside to how family-oriented the Portuguese are. After nearly a year of lockdown, folks traveled and got together during the holidays. It was game over for low virus numbers and hello new lockdown. Still, people heeded the warnings and hunkered down for the better part of the next three months.
Here is the thing, it was not too bad. Again, a contrast to the continued pandemonium in the states.
Besides the general peacefulness of Portugal, the food and wine saved the day. Portuguese food and wines are some of the best in the world. And when you can get pretty much anything you want delivered fresh to your door, there is no need to leave the house.
One of the many things I love about living here is that COD still exists. (And not just the omnipresent fish.)
One of the surprising things about finding food to order online is that there were many local, homemade food services to be found on Instagram, of all places. We have had some of the best food, ordered on IG or Whatsapp, and paid cash on delivery. No worries, no questions asked. This speaks volumes to me about trust here. Virtually everything ordered online in the USA must be paid for in advance. There is no trust for anyone, anywhere over there anymore. It is a sad commentary on American life. Well, because people in the US are A-holes in a lot of cases. And psycho nut-cases. Just look at the news.

Here are some of our favorites. Casa Guedes. Yup, the ubiquitous pernil pork sande. Still one of the best ever. Delivered with love notes. You gotta love it.

I love pernil.
A full belly is happy!

Feito Prati. (It means made for you.) A Brazilian woman who makes the most delicious bread and entrees. Delivered fresh and hot to your door. She has a weekly menu with different entrees every day. We have been ordering lunch and a giant loaf of stuffed bread every week for over a month now.

And Flagrante Delito. An outfit that does a special menu weekly to be delivered during the weekend. They make food from different nationalities every week. We have had Cypriot, Mexican, and Italian so far. All were outstanding. Each menu has an omnivore and a vegan option and includes a starter, entree, and dessert. And all of this for about 24 euros for two, delivered. 🙂
I sent pictures of the food to my Mom in California, and she said I wish we had something like that here.

Easter dinner delivered from The Wine Box in Porto. Quinta Nova 2019 Douro red wine, a perfect pairing.

The Easter dinner we got had from The Wine Box in Porto was outstanding. As was the wine we had with it. The Wine Box is a wonderful restaurant and wine bar near the Ponte Luis I. We had cabrito which is traditional for Easter in Portugal. Baby goat. Sorry, it was delicious.

After such a long time staying home, my reclusive tendencies have increased. If I continue to stay home and not interact with people, I could stay healthy for the rest of my life.
So, now that the country is about to reopen, I am ready to be a complete shut-in. It is tempting.

How we got to want out.

Ever since president #45 was elected, or mango unchained (Thank you Trevor Noah.), as we like to say, I have been on a mission to leave the country. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? My husband and I are on the downside of middle age, and ever since the last recession, gainful employment has eluded us. (Not for lack of trying, mind you.) We can no longer afford to live in the Mile-High City, Denver, Colorado, that we have called home for the past 25 years. We have been hanging on by our fingernails and the generous support of family and friends for years. It seems that once we hit 50, nobody wanted us. Add to this that advancing age has caused me to loathe the extreme bipolar temperatures in Denver, and I have been trying to figure out where we could go to have a better quality of life for several years now.

I traveled a lot throughout western Europe in my youth, but my husband Joe had never been out of the country. In 28 years of marriage, we had never had a vacation together. Chalk it up to something else always taking precedence. So, given our advancing age and general dissatisfaction with our lives, I decided it was high time we got the hell out of Dodge, so to speak.
It is high on my bucket list to relocate to Europe and after a year of research, I decided that Portugal was the best possible choice. When friends asked, why Portugal? My answer was food, wine, and weather. Also, the cost of living is much lower and, to make residence there is a lot easier than most European countries. So, I decided, we need to plan a trip. Again, sounds so simple until you start to consider the cost of a trip like this from BFE USA. How shall we pay for this, I asked myself? With our good looks? Oh, yeah, those left the building a long time ago. As my Dad used to say, I wish I was born rich instead of good-looking.


I was a professional harpist in L.A. for ten years, and have played professionally off and on since then. However, in the past several years, I have done maybe, two or three gigs total. As much as I loved my gold 23, Lyon & Healy concert harp, it was just collecting dust in our house. After much agonizing, waffling, and false starts, I walked into the wine shop where I work and announced, to no one in particular, “I’m selling my harp.” Now, selling a gold concert harp is no small endeavor. Replacement value is in the neighborhood of $53,000. The market value for mine was about $20,000. This could take some time. But here is the crazy thing, one of my co-workers knew a customer of the store who might be interested.  Enter Eddie Roberts, a Welsh jazz guitar player who is a successful gigging musician and has always wanted a harp like mine. Victor asked me to text him the info on the harp, which I did, and he sent it on to Eddie. Long story short, the deal was done in a matter of days and concluded shortly thereafter. This is a testament to the power of intention, I’ll say. It was nothing short of a small miracle that I sold my harp so easily and quickly.  I took it as a green light from the universe to start packing my bags and planning our little trip.

The long and winding road ahead!