Housesitting, whilst not an entirely new concept to us, was different on this occasion due it being our first overseas experience. We didn’t intentionally chose Portugal but with neither of us having visited this European holiday destination before it made the sitting application easy. All that we needed was for the hosts, both human and animal varieties to enjoy reading our www.trustedhousesitters.com bio page and like what they read. How could they not? Correspondence with prospective hosts was usually finalized after a short get-to-know-each-other Skype call – our profile obviously oozes reliability and trustworthiness as it wasn’t necessary this time. We were all set to head over to Portugal, arriving on Christmas Day to take care of Angel and Biscuit.

Praça do Comércio, Lisbon's main square on the banks of the Tagus River

Praça do Comércio, Lisbon’s main square on the banks of the Tagus River

Taxiing along the runway at Lisbon’s International Airport at 5 o’clock on Christmas Day morning was not really our idea of fun (and we’ve been through some crappy situations), but we had to introduce ourselves for a couple of days before heading off to Nazaré and then on to Lisbon for New Years. Our expat hosts were originally from England and Texas, both now comfortably settled for a while in Lourinhã about an hours north of Lisbon. Having similar travel bugs we hit it off straight away, the difference being that we have no home base – we had heard many positive rumors about travelers settling down in Portugal, so just maybe…

The weather on our drive up the Atlantic coast was certainly not what we had hoped for, the cold, fog and light rain just confirming what weather.com had been telling us for a week now. Having a guaranteed pool at the house but no sun to go with it was going to suck if this was the weather pattern!

Within an hour we were pulling off down a dirt road leading up to a fancy looking whitewashed house with a non too shabby view of the ocean. Now this was going to be nice! Before getting too excited we needed to be accepted by a barking mutt named Angel and her shy feline sidekick, Biscuit – Angel had a good sniff, looked us up and down and decided that we were worthy. It was still going to take the Laos rescue dog a few days before accepting us fully. Biscuit on the other hand had no interest in us whatsoever, and that was going to persist for the duration of our stay.

A room with a view

A room with a view

Praia da Peralta at sunset

Praia da Peralta at sunset

Following our meet and greet we took the somewhat overpriced toll highway north to the surf mecca of Nazaré, a town that we had previously heard of due to the yearly monster waves that surge in off of the Atlantic Ocean. It was purely coincidental that we were located less than an hour away and were barely a couple of weeks outside of the typical big surf window – maybe the hundred footers would arrive a little later this winter! Nazaré itself was a decent sized town with the center full of narrow cobblestone streets and mostly empty cafe bars, very much an out-of-season European feel. What neither of us was expecting was the weather, after all this was Portugal and Portugal is where Brits and other Europeans flock to for hot sunny days on endless beaches. Not for us; we both continuously wore down jackets, and that was inside our accommodation. We were about to discover that Portugal and central heating systems do not go hand in hand, and believe me it does get cold in winter!

Apparently this was barely a 3* day with waves touching 11 meters!

Apparently this was barely a 3* day with waves touching 11 meters!

An easily surfable mediocre wave

An easily surfable mediocre wave

Slacklining on those rough sea days

Slacklining on those rough sea days

IMAGES

I think that with trial and error both my photography and website design are progressively improving so hopefully these newer, better quality images will inspire you to get out there and travel. Click HERE to see more and if you like the content then feel free to comment.

December 25th – January 19th 2018

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