(Listen to the music while reading blog post. Big thanks for this song for Karine Gonçalves.)
As a foreigner, it’s not easy to find a home for rent on Madeira island. It took me 5 weeks to get the tiny house where I settled finally. True though, that I’ve got it in a package, along with a flat mate, a car, nice weather and job opportunity. Only I had to wait for it, I needed to be patient and overcome the obstacles of the first five weeks. It’s quite hard to start over from nothing in a foreign country if you go spontaneously with the flow, without organizing home and job in advance. You need to make the basics for making a living again, no matter how many times you did it before in your home country or anywhere else.
A nice home, for a start. This island is fabulous, it offers plenty of amazing places to live you just need to figure out in which part of the island you want to live. I was quite sure that my friend will be the south side because of the sunshine. Madeira has a unique micro climate and in the micro climate there are a lot of tiny micro climates as well, so you really need to pay attention. But there is a lovely little village on the south that is called Ponta do Sol. When I came here last December I had a feeling that I wanted to live exactly here.
Then I got a bit confused and was thinking about living in the big city, Funchal instead, because there is a lot going on there. After living in a huge city like Budapest for long you just have difficulties let the hive go, so I started to find my future home in Funchal. It became my daily routine to check all the facebook pages, groups, websites of real estate agencies, local newspapers in the cafés, I asked all my friends to keep an eye open for me, make hundreds of phone calls, even made friends in bars with the intention of finding help, but nothing worked.
(I just can’t imagine a place more perfect for having a morning coffee)
I finally got to know the following options:
- Short-term solution
In terms of accommodation Madeira is definitely a heaven when you come here as a tourist and don’t want to stay for more than 1-2 weeks. Airbnb and booking.com are full of really good offers, sometimes surprisingly cheap ones as well. For 30-40 euros per day you’ll find a nice villa with 3 bedroom and ocean view, a bed in a hostel in Funchal costs around 10/night.
- Low budget solution
If you are a university student and don’t have high expectations, you can rent a room. I seriously considered this after not having any success for a long time, but then I had to admit my way of living and interests might not fit into the university life anymore.
- Long-term solution
In case you’d like to stay a bit longer or you’re sure you’ll stay here forever and you are not on a low budget, you still have options, but not that many. The real estate agents shrug their shoulders saying demand is high, supply is short, so they don’t really offer anything under 6-700 euros per month. Plus you have to make a contract for at least one year usually.
(I always wanted to spend Sunday morning having a lazy breakfast and coffee by the ocean as a routine.)
But what if you look for a house to rent for a couple of months only? I’ll tell you exactly: you’ll face difficulties. For months nobody is willing to rent, the owners are afraid of losing a long-term client. Well, I admit I almost gave it up after five weeks. I needed to live the apartment I had the chance to live for a while in exchange of taking pictures (big-big-huge thanks to Pamela and Fernanda/Fabian for their kindness) and it seemed I have nowhere to go.
But in the meantime I made friends with Karine, a beautiful Brazilian girl with all the good vibes and big wanderlust so we got on well from the first moment and decided to find a home together.
And when we needed the solution badly, the solution came. Not before, not after. At the right time. You have to trust the timing of your life. (Thanks, Szilvia. Your words are still lingering around.)
So I called Rodrigo, my local friend, he knew about a tiny little house for rent. Bingo! Banana plantations to the left, gorge to the right side, ocean view to the front. You can hear the waves up here when you watch the magical sunset from the rooftop terrace. Idyll. And the location? Yes, it’s Ponta do Sol. This is how dreams come true.
(He is Sexy, our little old car enjoying the sunrise over the mountains. I parked him so that he could easily do that.)
And things started to accelerate from this point on. We needed to solve the problem of transportation also. Here on the island the public transportation is.. mmm… let’s say hectic, so most of the time we hitchhiked. After long weeks of doing this now we are the happiest to sit into an old, but sexy little red Fiesta and if we can make him start, he takes us everywhere we want to go. If you are smiling now thinking that it’s normal, well, I need to tell you, it’s not. My first ride was like this: I was smiling widely, singing around by the pulled down windows and I couldn’t help thinking I was free. Totally, crazily free! If I want to turn to the left, I can do that, if I feel like turning to the right, I can do that as well.
As for work, one day I hitchhiked and the guy who took me had a professional photographer friend ‘by chance’. We had an appointment and there is hope for future co-operation. What are the chances for this?!
So after five long weeks I now have a house to live, a tiny garden, a rooftop terrace to watch the sunset, ocean view, a sexy old car, a flat mate and a job opportunity. Furthermore, it seems like the clouds and the rain are offended by all these goodness, because they left the island. Now it’s summertime here and we enjoy the touch of the sun and the freshness of the ocean, being as grateful as maybe never before.