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Portugal Trip Parts 2&3

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

We had a UNC professor and a John’s Hopkins professor on the trip. Both gave a couple of lectures about both Portugal and Spain. Also, several of the local guides we had shared a lot of history. It was really interesting to me and to Scott.

Did you know:

  • Portugal was the world’s first nation-state and has had the same defined borders since 1139.

  • The cork tree is native to Portugal. Because of the various uses of its bark, the country the largest producer of cork products in the world.

  • Lisbon was struck by one of the most powerful earthquakes in European history on November 1, 1755. 275,000 residents were killed and 85% of the buildings were destroyed.

  • Portugal and England have the oldest diplomatic alliance in the world. The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance was signed in 1373 and is still enforced today.

  • Portugal was a monarchy for nearly 800 years, 1139 - 1910

  • António de Oliveira Salazar (1889-1970) was the reactionary ruler (dictator) of Portugal from 1932 to 1968 taking the country into a right-wing, corporatist, Roman Catholic, isolationist, conservative stance from which it has struggled to emerge since his death.

  • Although a contemporary of Hitler and Mussolini, Salazar kept Portugal neutral during WW2 and influenced Franco of Spain to do the same.

  • Currently, Portugal is a stable parliamentary democracy with a multiparty political system and regular transfers of power between rival parties.

  • Portugal has wide-ranging anti-discrimination laws and is one of the few countries in the world to contain a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in its Constitution. On 5 June 2010, the state became the eighth in the world to recognize same-sex marriage. On 1 March 2011, a gender identity law, said to be one of the most advanced in the world, was passed to simplify the process of sex and name change for transgender people. Same-sex couples have been permitted to adopt since 1 March 2016.

  • Portugal has traditionally been conservative with regards to family life. Divorce was legalized in 1975. Adultery was decriminalized in 1982.[13] Divorce laws were overhauled in October 2008.

  • Abortion laws in Portugal were liberalized on April 10, 2007, after the 2007 Portuguese abortion referendum. Abortion can be performed on-demand during the first ten weeks of pregnancy, and at later stages only for specific reasons (rape, risk of birth defects, risk to woman's health).

  • It is illegal to plant, sell, possess, buy or smoke cannabis for recreational purposes in Portugal. Because recreational use has been decriminalized, however, if found with 20g or less of flower, you will not face criminal charges.

OK, I may well have lost you by now, but all of the above is interesting and/or matters to me.

What I think so far about Portugal as a home:

  • The people I have encountered, whether or not they speak English, are happy to help as much as they can.

  • The pharmacists are extremely helpful. You may not see/recognize what you think you’re looking for, but if you describe symptoms or what you need, they will suggest something applicable.

  • The oranges are awesome! And you can get fresh-squeezed juice at a lot of places. DELISH. They grow oranges here.

  • The main fresh food market we saw had TONS of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat. Also, honey, and things we didn’t recognize.

  • There is a store called Continente that is apparently not just like a super Target, but a SUPER DUPER Target. Excited to check that out.

  • IKEA is definitely a thing here.

  • A lot of rental apartments include a rooftop deck, but many/most Portuguese don’t use them, thus making yours very private!

  • There is a LOT to see in Portugal and Spain.

  • OK. The water of the Atlantic Ocean here is freaking cold. If I want to swim, I will have to either attempt to get used to it or use a wetsuit.

  • SUNSHINE, SUNSHINE, SUNSHINE! The climate of the Algarve should make me pretty happy. If I happen to want to see snow, there is a ski resort in Portugal!

  • Tavira and/or its outskirts seems like it will be pretty good for us. Population approx. 25,000.

  • We took a bus from Tavira to Lisbon. I’m still not a big fan of bus travel (in trains you can walk around), but it’s entirely doable, clean and nice.

  • There are many restaurants of different cuisines, “snack bars”, cafes. There are parks and festivals and THE BEACH. So there seems to be plenty going on to do.

Tired now, but I think you can see that Scott and I are pretty pro-Portugal so far!

What do you think of what I’ve posted? How about some comments?


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