This month we meet Jürgen Sandkühler (60) and ask him 12 questions about his move to the Algarve. Originally from Germany, Jürgen already moved to the south of Portugal in 1999 and currently lives near Arroteia with his dog Blacky. All over the East Algarve, he’s best known for his German bratwurst which he sells on the market in Moncarapacho, Fuseta and Quelfes.
See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine December 2015
What inspired you to move to the Algarve?
Jürgen: a friend of mine had a villa in Salema and in 1997 I visited her for a week. Back then, Salema wasn’t so touristy, it had a nice village-feel to it. Then already I felt that the south of Portugal was a place where I could stay. The atmosphere, the country, the mentality of the people, it all appealed to me.
When did you feel at home here?
Jürgen: directly. I’ve always felt well here. I also had the luck that the first three winters that I spent in Portugal were amazing. Loads of sunshine and hardly any rain. In 1999 I moved to the East Algarve, to Quelfes.
Was it hard to get accustomed to the Portuguese lifestyle?
Jürgen: no, for me it wasn’t hard at all. Two Portuguese friends of mine say that they don’t know any foreigner who has adapted to the Portuguese lifestyle as quickly as I have.
How does your life differ now you live here?
Jürgen: it’s completely different. Back in Germany I had a lot of responsibility; I had a family, a fixed job and several employees. My day started at 7am and often wasn’t finished until midnight. There was a lot of stress involved and everything was planned. Here, I work to make living as well, maybe even more than I did in Germany, but somehow things are more relaxed in Portugal. The rhythm of life is entirely different, which causes the people to be more easy-going, they’re not that grim.
What is your favourite Algarve moment?
Jürgen: when I walk my dog in the morning on the beach in Fuseta. It’s very relaxing and clears your head. I love the quietness here in the Ria Formosa nature reserve. Unfortunately more and more houses are being built; 16 years ago, there were only a handful of houses on the hill and a few hundred people in the village. Now, they’re talking about constructing a yacht harbour.
What annoys you here?
Jürgen: the service in bars and restaurants could be a bit friendlier. Waiters in Portugal should laugh a bit more, they often look very moody. This has changed in the last few years though. Also the rigidity of the authorities is, of course, annoying. When arranging permits or things like that it’s like walking into a brick wall.
What do you miss most from Germany?
Jürgen: I don’t miss anything! Well, my kids but they come and visit me every year.
Which 5 words would best describe the Algarve for you?
Jürgen: quietness, beach, water, relaxation and peacefulness.
What’s your favourite spot?
Jürgen: there are many! Arroteia is great, from there I explore the Ria Formosa islands with my canoe. I also like Aljezur in the west Algarve. On the whole I prefer small places that aren’t too busy or touristy; I’m not that interested in the area between Faro and Lagos. The nicest sunsets, however, can be found outside the Algarve. Just over the border with Spain, in Ayamonte, you’ll see the moon fall in the water.
Jürgen: here, I live a relaxed life and do what I like. For me, that’s selling bratwurst on the market, which has become a real hobby. It’s a grilled German sausage on a bread, topped with mustard, ketchup, curry ketchup, mayonnaise or piri-piri, whatever you like. Most Portuguese people prefer mayo. First, mainly expats bought my bratwurst, but nowadays there are more and more Portuguese who like it as well, especially if they’ve been travelling abroad.
In the summer season, some German tourists laugh and think it’s ridiculous that I sell German bratwurst in the Algarve, whereas others love it. For me, it’s something that reminds me of home. When I was a kid, whenever we went away on a Sunday trip, we always had a bratwurst when we got back to Osnabrück. I still eat them almost daily; on the market I always have the first one from the grill for breakfast and if there are six or seven left at the end of the Sunday, they could well all be gone by Monday!
How’s your Portuguese coming along?
Jürgen: it’s very bad. Of course I can get along, but I can’t really hold a complicated conversation in Portuguese. I never had to learn, as all the Portuguese I met spoke fluent English. Also, I was a bit lazy. Now I’m following Portuguese lessons twice a week, it’s necessary.
Jürgen: go for a canoe ride on the Guadiana river. Either up to Alcoutim or all the way to Mértola (in the Alentejo), which used to be one of the biggest trading ports in Portugal. It’s a nice trip to do in a couple of days. Make sure to paddle upwards when the tide goes in, and back when it goes out.