And than everything went very fast! Mid May we received an e-mail from one of the real estate agents in Monchique about a very interesting property. "Can it wait until we get back in October?" "No, the seller want to get rid of it this summer." Oops, what do we do? At the end of May I had a weekend planned in The Netherlands and it is a lot easier to travel from Rotterdam than from Saint-Christophe to the Algarve. So I went there, had a look at this property and came home with an enthusiastic story. This made Alex curious and three days later he got into the car and drove to Portugal. "Hes, this is it! The tip of my nose is itching!"
So yes, if the opportunity presents itself you have to get down with brass tacks. Alex was in Monchique for four days and arranged all sorts of things: architect, lawyer, fiscal numbers, etc. In Portugal - like in France - they excel in bureaucracy and moreover, you have to watch for corruption. However, the property is located in a rural area in a municipality with a total of 6,000 inhabitants. Everybody knows each other and it is in no one's interest to cheat and give the region a bad name. Doesn't mean we are not alert; we prefer not to repeat Alex' first camping adventure.
Early July. A month later the "contrato promessa" is in the making and we are allowed to make the first deposit. That's how things work in Portugal: we make two deposits. If the purchase is canceled by our fault, we lose that money. If the purchase is canceled by the seller's fault, he pays us double. We assume that things will go well and that the transfer will take place mid-October. Then we'll be the owners of 5 hectares of overgrown mountainside on the Picota mountain with two ruins and an astonishing view.
Early August. Wildfires around Monchique. Tensely, we search the internet for information. Would "our" property also be on fire? We find a website with information from the Copernicus satellite. From this we learn that the southern slope of the Picota is also affected. The heat and the strong wind cause the fire to spread fast. Ultimately, more than 27,000 hectares is blackened. We send messages to our acquaintances and wait a long time for the answers. The architect left Monchique on the first day of the fires. After two weeks the real estate agent sends us photos and the lawyer asks us if we still want to purchase the property. YES, of course!!