Ted and family are ending a three month voyage, mostly in Portugal, slow traveling and learning about the country, its history, and its people. It’s tricky though as a traveler to really get that local exposure, to step into someone’s house and observe what day-to-day life is really like.
The visit has been that opportunity. And so the conversation is about Portugal itself, a chance to understand the country better and connect the dots that have been forming over the past few weeks. We chat about Portugal’s influence on the world, from Japan to India to England, and how – even for a small country – the regions and districts have their distinct identity and dialects.
Ted has been curious about Portuguese attitudes towards everything from recycling to graffiti, public art, and the remarkable tiled sidewalks that are everywhere in the country. It’s a place that values the public space as a tableau for creativity and design rather than simply being functional. Although that can make surfaces very slippery when it rains, it leaves the entire country feeling like a work of art. There’s marble and granite everywhere!
Enter any grocery store and immediately you will sense the fresh fish section with tremendous variety. But how do people actually cook it, especially the salted cod, flattened and laid open, and stacked prominently front-and-centre? How do you eat that? Sónia tells us how, plus we learn about some other Portuguese dishes and the history behind them.
We chat about distances, driving times, the impact of tourism, and the gradual movement of people back to the countryside as they search a better quality of life.
We conclude with a handy Portuguese lesson, particularly on pronunciation: dictionaries and YouTube can only do so much; here’s your chance to learn from a native speaker how to pronounce “ão.”
It’s such a delight to share this conversation with our fellow puttypeep!
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