Oh wow…it’s the start of another day in paradise.
The smell of coffee wafts into the room, as do the first rays of daylight here in Lagos, Portugal. Retirement is a beautiful thing…but it hardly means sitting in the rocking chair as the day evaporates before your eyes. The day holds many adventures, and I start it off with a trip to the nearby gym, to get the gears rolling. I’m not working out to look like Arnie, but to keep limber, so I can still do all the things I had dreamed of before quitting work a few years ago.
Next, it’s time for the beach with my wife, Andrea, and young son, Alex. We bring our paddle boards, snorkels, umbrella, and cooler. Nothing beats that first shock of Atlantic chill as you first hit the water. Once in, your body acclimates and all is good. The waters are pristine, and underwater exploration is great all along the coast. The scenery is second to none, both underwater and above it, along the coastline.
After freshening up with the Atlantic dip…it’s time for the next adventure. I go back to our condo and strap on my helmet for a motorcycle ride…the curves of the Algarve await me. The roads here are fantastic, with curve after curve after curve through the pine-covered countryside. Somewhere along the way, I’ll stop to grab an espresso and croissant at one of the quaint cafés that stand in every village.
After a nice ride through the countryside, it’s back home to think about the day’s shopping. Typically, most of the day-to-day shopping is done here in the local markets. Whether you’re looking for produce, meats, fresh seafood, flowers, or another coffee, you will love the markets here for the experience of being one of the locals for a moment. Any language barrier is never a problem…I just “point and shoot,” so to speak, and always get what I want.
I like to cook, so the next order of the day is to go stir up something for dinner. The fresh herbs, condiments, and great wine make cooking an event instead of a task. Cooking is like therapy…and you get to eat the results. A great way to top dinner off is with a nice glass of Licor Beirão, a local favorite liquor. It’s refreshing and light, and made according to a delicious recipe of fine herbs and aromatic plants.
For some people, the day would come to an end now—but not for me. I have two passions…you’ve already heard about one of them (motorcycles)…and the other is music. Portugal has a plethora of clubs, bars, and restaurants that offer live music throughout the year. I play myself, and was pleasantly surprised with the music scene here. You can hear just about any type of music you can imagine…from the street musicians to the concert hall, you will never want for something to go see or hear.
Maybe I’m unusual for a retiree, but I pursue two avenues here for my music “fix.” I often play in the nearby bars or restaurants as a single act…but my true passion is playing in my metal band, Wicked Edge.
It’s not for everyone, but the intensity and complexity (more than most believe) keep the creative juices flowing. The guys I play with are a just a tad younger than me…but they do a pretty good job in keeping up. We laugh about that quite a bit.
I am thankful for the attitudes here…age is not a limitation…it’s the spirit that’s embraced. Life is good in Portugal, and that’s exactly what I was looking for. I’ve found my personal paradise here.