Denise and I were driving back from Lepe last week.As Denise was driving I had time to think. And it was then that it struck me…there are three things we have never seen in Portugal! Let me share these with you now…
Now to be Fair
Before I begin the never list, I want to offer a disclaimer. First, never is a word one should rarely use. As we have not traveled to every city, town, and village in Portugal I really shouldn’t say never. Perhaps it would be better to say: “we have not yet seen” or “rarely seen”. But I read somewhere that provocative titles increase hits, clicks, etc. This must be true, as 75% of the titles I click on on YouTube do not accurately reflect the video content. Trump has still not been indicted, Santos still sits in Congress, and the Sister Wives have still not sued Kody. There you have it…my Youtube viewing habits have been exposed. Don’t judge me! But I digress…
Okay, the first one does fall under the heading of NEVER. I can honestly report that neither Denise nor I have ever seen a bumper sticker in Portugal. In fact, as I was thinking about writing a post about this I asked a bunch of American friends living in VRSA. They all agreed! “Nope! Never seen one.”
Then I wondered…perhaps there is a law against it. I did a few Google searches and learned all about obscenity and Americans’ First Amendment rights. But as it applied to Portugal…nada. I did learn there are rules for folks from the UK:
From 28 September 2021, you'll need a UK sticker instead of a GB sticker on your vehicle to drive abroad. You do not need to carry a green card to drive in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia, or Switzerland. — Gov.UK
But that’s about all I could find. Instead, I think it says more about Americans. Do we think letting perfect strangers know who we are voting for is going to sway them? Does a fish turning into a person really convey the complexity and struggles of faith? Should I drive more carefully because your three children and dog might be on board? I suspect Americans’ need to spend disposable income on stickers that ruin their car’s paint finish was the predicate to posting Instagram photos of what they had for lunch.
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An Aisle Dedicated to Salad Dressing
Okay, let me be clear. From time to time, you come across items that you don’t expect to see in a Portuguese market. And yes, in these large chain stores, you can find salad dressing. But while you will find an entire aisle dedicated to salad dressing in the States…you will never see that here. You might find 5 or 6 options at a large Continente or Auchan. But if you travel to smaller towns or the local markets you won’t find a single bottle. Just as you find an entire aisle dedicated to the best-canned fish you can imagine…instead here you will find aisles filled with olive oil.
And not that yucky, drab, nearly tasteless olive oil you can afford in the States. No this is the good stuff…at a price that defies its quality. A friend turned us onto a farmer that produces a limited quantity of olive oil each year. This year we purchased several liters, transferred them to small bottles we purchased at the China Store, and gave them as gifts. Our friends are asking for more! We might use the store-bought stuff for frying, but when we make salad dressing or use it to dip our fresh, crusty bread into…we use the very best stuff. We have concluded there must be lemon trees near the olive groves, as there is just the slightest hint in every drop.
Finally, like the salad dressing item above, I realize there are Chinese restaurants in Portugal. However, to date, I have never seen or visited one. Yes, we need to get out more. We visited a Thai restaurant that had a few dishes that can be labeled both Thai and Chinese (Sweet and Sour Pork), but that’s it.
And frankly, from time to time I have a hankering for some great Chinese take-out. I will admit, it is the one convenience I really do miss.
But hope springs eternal. We plan to spend 4 nights in Braga when we return to the furniture maker we choose. TripAdvisor suggests that there will be grease-stained cardboard noodle boxes in our Airbnb refrigerator very soon.
Is there something you miss? What have you “not seen” in Portugal that you saw all the time in your home country? Please, leave a comment below.
Obrigada, Até à próxima semana, Tchau
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Lepe is a town about 30 minutes east of us, in the Huelva province of Spain. A friend had recommended we visit a lighting store there. Our friend was right! We choose every pot/canister light, exterior stair light, etc. we need during our visit.
I miss Mexican food. I tried the Baja Fresh recently after a trip to IKEA in Loule, but I crave a good, authentic Mexican meal. We found one in Barcelona and my taste buds rejoiced. We are fortunate to be several hundred meters from a Nepalese restaurant in our small town that is popular with the many Nepalese and Indian farm workers in our area. It’s a sensory delight for sure.
As for “never seen...” I haven’t been flipped off by a stranger while driving and I haven’t seen anyone with a gun strapped to them 🤷🏻♀️
Bumper Stickers: I know it is illegal to have a sticker in the rear window of your car. I had a sticker in the window and when I went for the annual inspection I was told I had to remove it.
Chinese restaurant: There is a restaurant called The Old House in Parque dos Naçōes in Lisboa. It specializes in Sichuan cuisine and I, having lived in Chengdu, Sichuan for 3 years, can say that it is very, very authentic. We try to go there everytime we are in Lisboa.