Portugal

Portugal is my adopted country, my second home. As the months pass and I have the chance to observe the seasons and feel the rhythm of life, I am happier than ever to be here.

Tradition and ties to the land prevail here in the Ribatejo where I live. The beloved Lusitano horse is central to this. Forcados take fierce pride (and no pay) in their work in the bullring, beauty and harmony are still regarded as the hallmark of good riding for Tauromachie, and the annual gathering at Golegã is the place to show the fruits of your breeding program.

Yet, the places I love best are the quieter corners. The cork oak groves, the Convento dos Capuchos, and the marshes and salt flats speak of a time from centuries ago. Julius Ceasar made his fortune here (in salt) before returning to Rome with the army he purchased. I still feel like I could catch a glimpse of a farmer or soldier amongst the oldest olive trees.

Lisbon and Porto are traditional and cosmopolitan, vibrant and decaying, quiet and filled with the strains of Fado. There are wild and deserted beaches found within an hour of Lisbon. And one of the best things? Fierce regional pride for cheeses, wines,  pastries, pork dishes, seafood and crustaceans that defy description. Early on I was told that the national sport was NOT soccer (futebol), it was eating! I am a true believer now.

 

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