While living in Cascais, which is a beautiful town, I have been looking for my own place for the last two months.
After considering all possible locations in Portugal, I decided I wanted to have easy access to Lisbon. I love the city and from Lisbon I am able to take a train or a short flight to anywhere in the EU and Northern Africa.
There is a train that goes from Cascais to Lisbon called the “linha” (pronounced “lean-ya”) the line. There are many towns along the train line that have access to beaches, markets and all other conveniences. Each community has it’s own character and charm. What I found though, was everyone else liked living along the linha. The neighborhoods where I wanted to live had few options. Then one day I realized the property in Lisbon was decreasing in price. Before COVID, about 40% of Lisbon’s residential areas had become AirBNB enterprises. This caused a rise in property prices and long term rental costs. Now the AirBNB market is a bust with property becoming lower in value and again, a more affordable place to live.
I went through property listings on various sties daily and then one day found the house I wanted on Idealista. A house that is over 200 years old and survived the great earthquake in 1755.
Being an architect, the house had to be well constructed, insulated with no hint of mold, a problem that is prevalent through much of Portugal.
Because it is an older house. the walls are thick and the windows are double paned. There is no water leakage issue or problems with mold.
It also has the character of old Portugal and I fell in love with it the moment I saw photos of the house online.
I have started to grow Morning Glory on the lower window grates and the upper floor will have flower boxes in the windows to soften the facade.
Across the street, there is an area that has been given to street artists by the city. I enjoy watching the artists as they paint images on the walls.
Above the house is a park with magnificent views of the city and a kiosk cafe which I plan to make my second home.
I want to give a shout-out to the broker who helped me through the process of gaining occupancy to the house. His name is José Bettencourt and the name of his company is Casas na Hora. He is a professional and helped me each step of the way. I highly recommend him and his company.
And a very special thank -you for the people who helped me move. I could not have done it without you. With my arm healing from my fractures and only having one good arm to work with, it was a godsend to have some very special people in my life help me when I needed it the most.
Moving into Lisbon, or any other part of Portugal, when it is a new country, is not for the faint-hearted.
My advice is deal with everyone in person. Do not rely on communication via phone or a website. If at all possible, go into the office to set up utilities or the internet. Even though the person on the phone is able to speak English, there is a lot of information that you will not receive which is no one’s fault. They assume you know more than you do because much is common knowledge as in any culture or country. In all of the offices I visited, there was someone there who spoke English and was able to fully explain the services provided.
If you want more specific information about services in Lisbon, please leave a comment. I will be glad to answer any questions.
The Time Out Market
On one of my breaks during the moving process, I stopped in for a quick lunch at Time Out in the Mercado da Ribeira. This is a great place to try out what notable chefs are creating in the Lisbon area.
This time, I ordered a chicken lo mein from the Asian Lab and it was outstanding.
In the midst of my move, Josefa Searles and I agreed to a partnership. Architecture 101 for Kids and Teens, which once was a side “business” I enjoyed doing part-time, has become a thriving enterprise with requests from parents and students in several countries including Brazil, Chile, Oman, Ireland, Canada, Mexico, Barbados, Germany, New Zealand, Brussels, Geneva and the US.
We have plans to establish a YouTube channel to provide students with tips on how to draw like an architect and how to make a model from materials around the house. We are also planning a podcast where we will interview architects around the world, providing students a peek into the field that we both love.
The state of the EU
On another note, recently the newly elected leader of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, gave her first State of the Union address at the EU Parliament in Brussels.
She advocated a framework for minimum wages across the EU bloc and called for deeper cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. The President also wants a stronger European Health Union and proposed an emissions reduction of 55% by 2030.
For those living in or considering moving to the EU, I suggest listening to the new President give her inaugural speech.
Now that I am settled in Lisbon, I will be able to share more experiences and adventures with you.