Visiting Madeira This Winter

edited December 1969 in General
I am planning on coming out to Madeira for four to six weeks this winter to scout it out with a view to maybe moving there permanently if I like it and it likes me! I am very fortunate in working online nowadays so that I can continue with my job during my winter stay and look around in my spare time. I've lived and renovated houses in a few countries and each one has presented its own unique difficulties according to local customs, traditions and laws so I'd like to get a feel for how things are done in Madeira before committing. I'm a tropical agricultural entomologist (bugs!) by original training and am very interested in the local flora and fauna and horticulture - I've bought quite a few books on the latter already and it seems like my sort of place in terms of biodiversity and climate, with the added advantage of being EU territory as I am an EU citizen.

I've already located a medium-term winter let in the north of the island, near Seixal, but I am told by the owners that it can be quite chilly there - although I prefer the idea of being in a more densely vegetated/forested area than a dry one. But it might be good to experience staying in a warmer/dryer part as well - so if anyone has any suggestions for accommodation in other areas for part of the stay I am not averse to the idea. But it has to have good wi-fi broadband (as I am assured the house near Seixal has). And preferably be rural and traditional rather than modern.

My Portuguese is still pretty primitive but I am good at languages and would plan to learn enough to get houses renovated and so forth in six months to a year. In an ideal world I am looking for an old, traditional (or ruined) house in a well-vegetated area to buy in the longer term - I'm told that there are quite a few ruins on the island but I am very familiar with the problems of Napoleonic Inheritance Law (and arguing relatives) having had to deal with a few times in the past elsewhere.

So what I am looking for ideally is to tie up with some local people who preferably have some English and are interested in the sort of things that interest me who can show me around and make sensible suggestions and maybe enable me to practice my Portuguese. I would hope that the relationship would be to mutual benefit in the longer term as I will need a Comprador of some sort at some stage and wouldn't expect that for free! To locate and renovate houses I have tended to use local people with family connections, to mutual benefit, in the past rather than professional Real Estate Agents as this keeps the money in the community and puts the maximum amount into the pockets of those who need it. But if that isn't possible in Madeira I'll go with the flow.

So if anyone local, or with local knowledge, who would like to help me would like to meet up during my stay I would be glad to hear from them. I know that it doesn't work that way everywhere, but since I will not be taking a job from a local (and indeed will be bringing money into the island and employing people) and am happy to fit in with local customs and learn the language I'd like to feel that I won't make too much of a nuisance of myself if I were to move to Madeira...I'm told that Madeirans are notably welcoming and hospitable people so I'm looking forward to experiencing that for myself.
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