When I say I live in the rural Algarve, I sometimes think city folk misunderstand what that might mean. I am not surrounded by livestock (but could be, if I had a different job). It means that where I have Saturday morning coffee looks nothing like a coffee shop from the outside, in the shopping mall sense of the word.
I was a little undecided as to what to wear this Saturday morning. On the agenda was a bout of what promised to be very dirty gardening. But that was to be preceded by a trip to the next town with a friend to take care of a few things which could not be done in the village. Can I wear my gardening jeans to the next town without suffering social shame? I decide that I can.
Whatever we do on a Saturday morning, a stop at the local shop in Alfontes, followed by a coffee next door is always item No. 1 on the list.
What is unusual in the picture below is that the machine parked outside the shop is not a tractor, for a change.
Yes, that is the entrance to the shop on the right hand side. It is quiet at the moment; normally this space is full of cars – yet many arrive here on foot, too.
As I take the above photo, the proprietor of the shop appears at the door, mop in hand, and looks at me strangely. I explain that it is unusual to see this machine outside. I can tell she still thinks foreigners are strange, even though she once lived in Australia, and so many foreigners regularly cross her threshold.
I cross the road, put my head in through the door, and ask whether my friend has already been there. From behind the shelving I hear, “I’m still here!” As usual, I help her with her groceries, and then we repair to the coffee shop/bar for that morning coffee, where the operator of the machine and other locals enjoy an easy conviviality.
This is a very fine place place to have coffee. It is a place where no one minds that I have a funny little white car, or wear gardening jeans one day, and snazzy ones the next.
It is home.
The most important bit of this writing is the last sentence ” It is home.” As long as you feel like that it will be, you will be settled and comfortable, and be happy. Some people hop around in life and never enjoy this feeling of comfort and content, especially in a country not of their birth. You and I are the lucky ones in our respective lives – we have experienced it.
I agree with you, Sheila. The comforting thing is that most of the people whom I meet here – whether local or foreign – seem to feel the same way.
Yup this certainly brings back memories to me too!! loved walking there with my Mom and having coffee almost everyday!!!
I’m with you on that one Manuela, although I preferred the coffee at Tasca’s.
Allie we certainly are working towards a visit!
You are a very discerning coffee drinker, Charmaine. I am mainly after the caffeine and sugar boost. 😉
A simple but very pleasurable pleasure. 🙂