One of our tasks upon arriving in Portugal was to find and purchase a vehicle.
Obviously we have to have something that seats 7 people and ideally all 7 seats will be full size rather than 5 normal seats and two tiny ones (which are great if you have a family of 5 and occasionally want to take friends somewhere but not for everyday, all the time use). If we want to take friends along that becomes an entirely different matter as we then need 9 seats (nothing here comes with 8).
The next issue was having space for things; it’d be nice to have room to put the groceries or the school backpacks or for a suitcase or two. Amazingly many seven seat vehicles don’t have this space if actually using all seven seats.
We looked at several different brands and too many auto stands to count. There wasn’t as much choice as I’d like.
We finally found one vehicle in which both the price and the kilometers were right. It had sufficient seating AND space. It’s an Opel Vivaro – 9 seats. So now friends can come along, we can transport visitors and we don’t have to feel squished. I’m super excited about all that.
It’s not the biggest car we’ve ever driven (actually I think the suburban we used on furlough was bigger), but it will be the biggest car we’ve driven on teeny, tiny streets. There are nice highways in Portugal, but many of the streets were built long ago and not for car traffic. Some are only one or two lanes wide. Parking can be limited and sidewalks are fully utilized to park on as well walk. Parallel parking is a necessity.
So while I’m really not going to be parallel parking a semi-truck . . I think I’m going to need lots of practice to parallel park this van and until then . . . it may feel like a semi-truck each time I try to park.