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15 Things I’ve Observed in Portugal


Having been in Portugal for about 24 hours now, I feel like I could qualify as an expert (haha, not serious, but then again, I sort of am…). We’ve done a lot of walking, a lot of people watching, and a lot of eating. So, here are 15 things I’ve observed so far in Portugal.

1. They graffiti everything.
(The weirder, the better)
2. They love, LOVE their paver stone sidewalks and streets.

(I can’t even begin to guess how long it took to lay it all but golly, is it pretty).

3. If there’s anything they love more than their paver stone streets and sidewalks, it’d have to be their blue tile. It’s on practically everything, old and new.

4. They love shoes. There’s a shoe shop on every corner.
Unfortunately, nothing that would fit my enormous American feet. Oh, well.

5. A lot of people in Portugal enjoy fashions straight from the ’80’s. It’s been a few decades since I’ve seen so much vintage Mickey Mouse, jean jackets, high waisted pants, and crop tops.

6. The most popular attire are gaucho pants, a.k.a. culottes. I’d estimate nearly 1 in every 3 women in this city wears them.

Again, the weirder, the better.
 7. Most of Portugal is cramped, claustrophobic, and uphill.

7a. Because the city is so tight, there is no personal space. Everyone is constantly bumping into, tripping, breathing down, stopping in front of, brushing shoulders as they pass, etc with everyone else.

8. Porto is all about music and art. Again, the weirder, the better.

Is that a woman dressed as a golden fairy?
She’d give a little bow everytime someone threw her a coin.
 Or that guy…is he cranking away on his musical box while his pet chicken stands on a trash can?


9. Sadly, just about everyone here smokes. Apparently, no one has told them it’s extremely bad for their health.

10. If you don’t accept a taste of their wine, they will probably be offended and/or sad. We have made a lot of people offended and/or sad when we tell them we don’t drink (not even beer, which we also had to remind them was alcoholic).

11. They do food big.

I couldn’t finish…so much meat and fries…

12. Since they’re busy drinking wine and beer, it’s hard to come across water, and if you find it, then they do that big, too.

The danger with that is then, we need to use the restroom. The problem with needing to use the bathroom is that there are hardly any public restrooms. When we found one, it cost 20c and was probably the best 20c I’ve ever spent.


13. Most residents can switch back and forth between Portuguese, English, Spanish, and French without trouble.

If someone speaks to me in another language, it automatically comes in broken French or silence because my brain doesn’t work like that.

14. The city is an interesting juxtaposition of old and new, color and gray.

An old medieval stone wall surrounded by brightly painted houses.

15. They love to party. Watching soccer (a.k.a. football) and somebody scores? Party! Celebrating St. John? Party! It’s almost night time? Party! There’s a good sale in the streets? Party! etc)

Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list but we’ve got a pretty good start to understanding life in Porto. Better stick around a few more days to really immerse ourselves in their culture…


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