Why do I love Portugal?
Just spent a week with lovely friends touring Central and Northern Portugal, looking at rural properties ripe for renovation as I’ve decided its time to make my move to the countryside.
For the people
And the fact that there are relatively less of them, this is peak hour traffic at 8am (Portuguese, especially in Cascais, rise later, so actually there was a little traffic, but an hour later!!)
And the stone castles and walls
Hidden grottos to hide from the heat, and marvel at the beauty
Lizards and benches everywhere,
And the ingenuity – of building between two rocks, because why not?
And the ingenuity of an espiguiero – a stone carved corn store on mushroom leggies, that stays dry, and rat-free – for centuries
And the ingenuity of vineyards with ancient vines which are pinned up on stone pillars to shade sensitive vegetables from (this day) 42 degree C temperatures
And for getting the job done – sans ladder or any complicated expensive stuff like that, even though you probably will not get planning permission for anything that is done without a suitably qualified (And heavily insured) engineer present, even if he hangs out the window to do it!
And I love the Manueline style and all the other architectural styles, so much art and craft – all mixed beautifully together!
And new architecture everywhere – my friend Antonio’s new look Sao Tome apartments in Lisbon
Stunning red staircases, old stone ones, and old and new wooden doors,
Smart cars with diamante (why not?) amoung the mercedes and the tractors
And wavy grey and white stone block paving
I love Portugal for their resilience – ancient waterwheels – this in Tomar
And modern use of solar power – a whole solar farm just outside newly refurbished town of Soaje
And wind power – with towering turbines on ridges absolutely all over the place
I love Portugal for being the western-most country on mainland Europe, only a tiny piece of Ireland is more westerly than this point
And for the ocean which is still pretty clean, cold and surfable for wild Dolphins (this is just off Cascais, near Lisbon!)
A country full of space – to dream while doing, places of beauty to see while the silence and the stillness of the land allows you to easily slip into “just being” mode,
a country full of history so deep it flows in the rivers, and art and creativity so new the artists don’t even know what will happen next!