Portugal, home of down-to-earth drinking

By the time you read this, the “Good Morning Portugal! Wine Club” will have met for its March session, tasting and discussing a Portuguese wine (or wines), online, as it’s been doing since the Covid lockdown era.

From that time on, as a weekly relief from social distancing rather than the current monthly schedule, the GMP! ‘Wine Ninjas’, as we call ourselves, have tasted close on a hundred wines, which we call “rigorous research and attention to detail” where others say “booze-up”!

What began as a way of staying sane, if not sober, and was merely fun and not in any way snooty, has become an institution among a small band of merry foreigners who have developed a devoted affection for Portuguese wine and its culture of growing, production and presentation.

No longer merely a wine club, one might say it’s now a borderline cult of appreciation, which goes way beyond just wine tasting into the realms of more general Portuguese cultural understanding and social education.


Don’t go off-grid, go ‘good grid’

As elections approach worldwide, do you, like me, feel that so-called civilisation is in need of some new tactics in the face of continued conflict, contraction and communication breakdown?

You know me, hopefully, as something of a cheerful soul, with a generally positive view of life. But we all have our soul- and sanity-searching moments, and I doubt I am alone in being a little more reflective and concerned about humanity at this volatile point in our collective history.


Driven mad in Portugal?

What goes on in your mind when I say “driving in Portugal”?

Are you thinking about the ‘unique’ driving style of this country, which some imagine might make it one of the most dangerous in Europe?

Do terrifying thoughts of how to exchange your driving licence, and how long you may have to wait as a foreigner, flood into your head?

Or, are you more preoccupied with how hard it can be to even get hold of a car in the first place, in the land of expensive old bangers and the most relaxed car salesmen in the world?

On the first point, the latest research by vignetteswitzerland.com, who analysed the latest data from the European Transport Safety Council, suggests that Romania is the most vehicularly lethal with 85.81 deaths per million inhabitants. Portugal actually ranks fifth with 62.30 road deaths per million, an 8.53% drop from the 2012 data.


For Goldilocks Days in Portugal: “Just one thing”

How lovely it is to compare notes with a fellow GuMPer* at the end of a classic day in Portugal.

Classic? By this I mean one where the greatest things of this good life have been enjoyed, which for me and my friend John, an American living in Ponte de Lima in the North of Portugal, included the slightly guilty pleasure of having a nap in our respective chairs and parts of the country, this afternoon.

John, actually a guest on the Good Morning Portugal! show earlier this same day, confessed to me his busy day of visiting an attraction close to his home up North (the stunning Lagoas de Bertiandos e São Pedro d’Arcos), as well as attending to chores, before seeking refuge for ‘forty winks’, ahead of a fine home-cooked dinner of Portugal’s fresh, delicious produce.


Portugal: the future and how to get there

How’s 2024 going for you? Its first month is suddenly behind us, clearing the way for a busy, likely feverish year, complete with Carnation Revolution celebrations, a revealing general election in March, and numerous elections ‘back home’ for many foreigners living in Portugal.

Add to this anticipatory atmosphere raging conflicts on a seemingly growing number of fronts, continued economic instability with accompanying post-pandemic unravelling, and we have those ‘interesting times’ Chinese sages prefer to avoid, which as a freedom and peace-seeking type, I find quite concerning...


Paolo's (cricket) field of dreams

I’ve heard it said that if you want to go fast, go alone. And if you want to go far, go together. Wherever and however it originated, this truism has had a ring of truth to it for me, applicable as it seems to be in many areas of life, not least immigration and the successful movement of human beings around our shared planet. 

As founder of the fledgling and so far almost entirely conceptual ‘Portugal Immigrant Network (PIN)’, I consider the important matter of foreign migration fits in the latter treatment; we will be better off facing the challenge together, and by that I mean anyone who is affected should be reflected, to coin a phrase...