Musings on Portugal……
Portugal was enchanting. It seems a happy, contented country…..making being there a absolute delight. Its people are proud of their country and they’re genuinely pleased that you’ve come to visit.
It shares so many features of other European countries…..magnificient cathedrals, ancient ruins, fabulous beaches, good food and great wines…..but it’s more “user friendly.” English is commonly spoken, hotels & restaurants are less expensive, shops are open during lunch and on Sundays, breakfasts are bountiful and roads are well marked and easily navigated. It’s the perfect place for a first glimpse of Europe for anyone who might be intimidated by travel to other countries or for anyone looking for an inexpensive European vacation.
It does, indeed, look very much like California….but there are differences. The colors are more vivid…..the blue skies, green meadows, white clouds, yellow flowers….the colors had an intensity that I’ve never seen in California.
And it has a more rustic, gentle, pastoral side to it. Horses and donkeys are working animals here….it’s not uncommon to see them pulling carts and wagons on the roads you’re driving.
Now, for some of the “oddities”…….
The food, overall, is pretty salty.
The Portuguese must spend a lot of time in bed because most window displays showcase pajamas…..cotton, flannel, fleece…..men’s, women’s, children’s……stacks of pajamas…..were everywhere we went.
The language, although a “romance language” with similarites to Spanish, French and Italian, has a very harsh sound to it…..sometimes sounding, to least to our uninitiated ears, like Russian.
Portuguese television doesn’t dub foreign shows…..it adds Portuguese subtitles. A nice turn of events that allowed us watch local tv.
And, on a personal note, I had bad hair days in Portugal. My thin, fine hair has behaved differently in each place we’ve visited. I long ago gave up trying to be its boss and now let it do whatever it wants. In Italy, my part moved from the right to the left. In France, it’s silky and has a slight wave. But in Portugal, it was dry and unmanageable. Go figure.