I live in Portugal and have a very rare name so have decided to go anonymous for that reason. I live on the Silver Coast with the animals I brought from the UK. I have mobility issues which caused me to become very overweight as I simply couldn't cope with hauling myself around in UK mud for 6-7mths of the year and I knew I had to make big changes. So I moved here for 2 reasons, the weather and the dreadful food - I'm a vegetarian. That has worked brilliantly, I'm far more active and I've lost 23kg since I arrived 20 mths ago. I just wanted to set the scene.


I know Portugal has amazing history and fantastic beautiful places to visit. Sadly so far I haven't seen much of it, but I will be travelling. But for me Portugal has a huge amount of issues. Scruffy, half derelict villages full of half build projects which were abandoned after the world financial crash. Many people seem to allow their properties to fall into disrepair. The food, for a vegetarian, pretty diabolical. To eat out it's omelette, salad and chips. That's about it. My husband eats meat and fish. All the fish and meat here are served full of bones and as Brits we simply aren't used to fishing bits out of our mouths when we are eating. I find it unpleasant in the extreme. We have a couple of nice eateries but very little of the food does it for either of us. Hubby loves the coffee and pastries though. Food here isn't cheap compared to the wages and the quality and range of the fruit and veg in supermarkets no way compares to the UK. The discount retailers, Lidl and Aldi must be making a fortune as wages here are rock bottom as is commercial property but they charge the same if not more than affluent Europe. This also goes for white goods, TVs and cars. The locals are totally ripped off.


Finally and the big one for me is animal welfare. It's pretty dreadful. Almost every village house has a dog on a short chain. Very often with no shade in our hot summers but cold winters. A filthy bowl for food and water and that's it. Once the dog is too old and ill they are dumped at the roadside. There is very little animal welfare legislation and what there is isn't acted on. Gipsies can beat horses to death at the side of road and the police simply aren't interested. Markets with hundreds of birds in tiny cages, chickens and duck crammed together, rabbits hauled about as if they were cabbages. A friend enjoys shooting 'for the pot'. He'll no longer shoot with the Portuguese as they shoot everything, right down to tiny song birds, not for food but target practice. There is so little wildlife where I live. I hate it. When I drive through my village I keep my eyes firmly on the road so as not to see the miserable animals around me. It's probably no worse than Spain and other hot 'med' countries.


Would I chose to live here is the UK had better weather and worse food? Not a chance but my plan is to give it 10 years. There are things I like, the beaches, the old cities etc but a lot more things I really don't like. Now I expect to get some flak.