Press play, above, to hear about the reigning champion, Lisbon info' and my favourite seafood restaurant.
Read below about all the things you can't take into the auditorium, including handcuffs, ladders and drill bits, #obvs!
Desculpe, sorry, to have missed Portugal's observance of International Workers' Day yesterday, as well as Beltane. By way of a Beltane blessing, here's some Broom flowers for you (left), which I believe in Northern Portugal are picked on the evening of April 30th, before midnight. They are thought to protect against spirits, witches (presumably the naughty ones) and the 'evil eye' that might appear come May 1st.
As for so-called 'Workers' Day', the first two workers I spoke to this morning said they'd worked yesterday. Funny how it's one day a year for the workers, many of which - nearest the breadline - probably turned up for the minimum wage, at one of their numerous jobs. Roll on the system that ends this inequity, when we can look back at May Day as the eradication of feudal capitalism once and for all!
"In Portugal, the 1 May celebration (Portuguese: Primeiro de Maio) was harshly repressed during the long right wing dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar and Marcelo Caetano. Since the Carnation Revolution on 25 April 1974, the Worker's Day is celebrated by unions but as well by several leftist political parties with parades and demonstrations. The first demonstration after the Carnation Revolution, only one week after the coup, stays until today as the biggest demonstration in the history of Portugal. It is an opportunity for workers, including non-permanent workers' groups, to show their discontent for existing working conditions in parades all over the country but mainly in the capital, where the two main national union federations (communist CGTP-IN and centre-left UGT) organize two different rallies (in Alameda D. Afonso Henriques and Torre de Belém). It is an official public holiday." - wikipedia
An annual opportunity to showcase discontent? Seriously, is workers' discontent a set-piece? Will we ever be free of neo-liberialism's us and them?
[Grammarians: "Workers' Day" or "Worker's Day"? - I would have thought Workers' Day as it's the day of ALL workers, not just one?]
Not sure who created this cheeky meme, but hats off to them and the (Portuguese) Facebook friend who shared it!
Good Morning Portugal!' Radio Show AND Pure Portugal Podcast to Launch in May 2018...
As Portugal and its people continue to feel an ever-increasing feelgood factor from tourists and newcomers alike, a new English-speaking radio show AND podcast are set to take to the airwaves and Internet. I'm behind both new productions and first fell in love with Portugal ten years ago, returning last year from the UK with the intention of setting up business and family life in this country.
I will host and produce the new 'Good Morning Portugal!' radio show - a mid-morning mix of upbeat music and topical Portuguese features - which will first air at 10:00 on Wednesday 16th May, 2018. Less than a week before, on Thursday 10th May, I'll be publishing the first 'Pure Portugal Podcast', a collaboration with Pure Portugal Limited, who advertise properties for sale in Portugal, as well as holiday accommodation and rentals, with a particular emphasis on traditional and natural approaches (more about them here)
I am so excited and delighted to be sharing my enthusiasm and love for Portugal on my new radio show and in the podcast, as a complement to my 'day job' as Community Builder at OurNet, an online community network. This will be a great opportunity for me and anyone else to celebrate all that's great about being here in Portugal, at such an exciting and booming time for the country.
As well as 'feeling the love', the show and podcast will also be looking at some of the more challenging parts of life in Portugal, which has recently featured well on many tourism and retirement polls, as well as becoming a game-changing leading light in alternative energy. Looking at every aspect of life, I promise my approach will be respectful and positive, with a dash of humour in among a diverse range of featured people and places.
I'm really pleased to be working with Pure Portugal again. Their help was invaluable when I first visited a decade ago, and they remain a great support network for me and thousands of other people who are looking to 'live the good life' here - especially those interested in the environment, alternative energy, sustainability and organic growing.
Both the radio show and podcast will share information and best practice on a every area of making a life and a living in Portugal, which I feel is uniquely positioned at a very challenging time, globally.
We even have the Eurovision Song Contest heading this way, but don't let that put you off our new show and podcast!
If you have a comment, question, suggestion or a request, get in touch
April 25th is Portugal's 'Freedom Day', a national holiday, which remembers and celebrates the
bloodless military coup that took place on this day in 1974, known as the 'Carnation Revolution'.
The revolution ended nearly forty years of authoritarian rule, under Oliveira Salazar, which began in 1937, known as the 'Estado Novo' regime - thought to be the longest dictatorship in twentieth century Europe.
"Supported by the civilian population, the revolution changed the Portuguese political system from the authoritarian rule to a modern democracy. The military coup was undertaken by the Armed Forces Movement (MFA) led by General Antonio Spinola and other prominent civilian and military leaders," - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnation_Revolution
More here, for the 'Good Morning Portugal!' podcast...
My photo of the Sun setting on Freedom Day, in Lisbon, from the 25 Abril Bridge on 25th April, 2018
I'm sorry San Martinho do Porto, you may no longer be our favourite seaside town. No offence - we still love you for your safe, scallop-shaped bay, your playground on the beach, your friendly cafes, lovely locals, and superb location on the 'Silver Coast' - but we've discovered Sesimbra...
If you don't know Sesimbra, you'll find this gem of an Atlantic resort "lying at the foothills of the Serra da Arrábida, a mountain range between Setúbal and Sesimbra" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesimbra), 45 minutes South of Lisbon. It's a great day out for anyone visiting the capital, who fancies a manageable trip out in the hire car, to get a more local, less metropolitan taste of Portuguese life. It'll mean a drive over the Tejo (on the remarkable '25 de Abril Bridge', passing Christo Rei (the HUGE Jesus statue) and seeing life South-of-the-River, which will enrich any visit.
The journey there will likely surprise you with a good view of the said mountains, and possibly a glimpse of the delightful Arrábida National Park, notable for being the location where Diana Rigg is shot dead in the Bond movie - 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'.
I'm guessing parking will be a predictable pesadelo (Portuguese for nightmare) anywhere near the height of the season, but we managed to place our hire car not far from the front, enjoying parking costs that never seem greedy or exploitative here.
On this overcast, but mild day, it was fairly sharply downhill to the Atlantic, in only a couple of minutes, getting a taste of real local life on the way with Sesimbrians (?) hanging out around their homes and bars just behind the tourist front-line. Upper Sesimbra (where most amenities and charming shops are found) is not ideal for the unsteady or wheeled among us, although there are places to park along the front, and the promenade looked mostly manageable. I didn't however survey accessibility too closely. Suffice to say, it's certainly safe and negotiable for family ambling with toddlers.
This was our second visit. This time a Sunday, arriving mid-afternoon, and feeling a good vibe despite the lack of blazing sun, which apparently is temporarily shining on the righteous back in the UK. Despite our blow-in status, we like a good balance of locals and tourists, and Sesimbra has that. Mrs M felt that it was a town where people live, rather than one just brought to life at weekends, when the shutters go up on holiday homes.
"Due to its particular position at the Setúbal Bay, near the mouth of the Sado River and its natural harbour, it’s an important fishing town," adds wikipedia. You definitely get a sense of peixe-power here, but that's not unusual anywhere along Portugal's wonderfully ample and alluring Atlantic border.
One hostelry featured a Brazilian trio who provided an excellent, hip-swing-inducing soundtrack for guests and passers-by alike, resounding far from its rhythmic epicentre. Across the road, on the near-shore, surfing Adonises also entertained 'promblers' (slow-moving, delighted, yet confused tourists), flustering my wife with their bronzed torsos and lustrous, salty hair!
We enjoyed a very adequate, if not homely snack - re-fuelling four bellies for less than 30 Euros, a bill which was eventually settled with the third payment card that would work on their system; 'card roulette' is not unusual and the indigenous account won the day. It's worth having some cash to avoid that kind of 'declined' shame; a cash machine can be found not far away, by the 17th century fort - Fortaleza de Santiago, built along the beach as part of Portugal's ancient coastal defences.
It was here, just over 400 years ago that English sailors defeated a Spanish galley fleet, severely damaging the fort in the process, perhaps giving the Portuguese a taste of British seaside hi-jinx, that now resonates further South fin the Algarve. For that, we are sorry.
After a very leisurely lunch, with a delightful sea view and cover from a brief shower, it was down the street to a great ice cream parlour, where two delicious scoops, from a mouth-watering range, weighed in at 2.80 Euros. I improvised an affogato with the children's left-overs and my much-need espresso. Then on to the children's, new-looking and well-featured play park.
Sand dusted from between little toes, and shoes back on, we concluded our enjoyment of Sesimbra with a walk out to sea along the breakwater walkway (for want of a better term), pictured above. A simple, but invigorating experience with some bouldering and rock-pool-hopping along the way, it's great added value for adventurous kids and sea-sound loving adults.
Back up the hill to the car, which I'm always relieved to see is there - in case I've have missed any Portuguese small print - and home, via the castle, visible at all times up on the hill. Too late to penetrate its defences, we promised to return tomorrow, albeit metaphorically. Castelo de Sesimbra will get a review another time, as will the delightful town of Vila Nogueira de Azeitão, which we de-toured through on our journey home.
With a lovely, clean beach, a huge variety of places to eat, children's playground, superb views from above the town, surfer-friendliness, ubiquitous street art and many other attractions around and en route, Sesimbra has so much to commend it. English was spoken widely and attempts to converse in Portuguese were met with patient grace. We always like to have a go.
There's no shortage of accommodation (the Hotel do Mar looks like it might have a lovely view over the West end of the bay) if you'd like a couple of relaxed days, or more. A great day or half-day out, Sesimbra's 50,000 or so inhabitants should be proud of their welcoming, well-resourced and easy-going town with turquoise water and textbook sandy beach.
It's now on the A-list for us, and a lot closer that San Martinho, which will always hold a special place in our hearts for reasons I'll expand on elsewhere. What we've realised is that we rushed to create a favourite. The thing about beaches in Portugal is that there are thousands. And I suspect that many of those are (quietly) world class.
We can't wait to discover more...
Anyone returning to Lisbon might like to take the long way home via the spectacular Vasco da Gama Bridge (see below), and re-enter the city from the South-East.
SesimbraPortugal.net - the best independent guide to Sesimbra
The Vasco da Gama Bridge - By F Mira from Lisbon, Portugal - Merging in the mist
Uploaded by JotaCartas, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11088403
My Portugal Experiment began in September, last year, though it seems like life-times ago. Conclusion: travel not only broadens the mind, it swells the heart. I, we (wife Louisa and our two children), have fallen for Portugal.
Rewind to Spring 2017 in the UK, and unexpected redundancy from my beloved job, brought ten years of tantalising speculation about trying life in Portugal into sharp focus. My job was my life. For the whole family, it had been seven years of immersion - home on-site, married there too, children born and a community built. Work, but not as we know it, which was going to take some improving upon.
Our rusty, but well-loved Bongo camper van - now a burnt long-boat and another story - proved itself a worthy means of escape. It seemed only fair to take the kids with us, and along with other indispensables (like a guitar, hand-cranked juicer and the yet-to-be-used foraging book) packed in around them, we sailed to Spain, then sauntered steadily from Santander to Tomar.
Geres, San Martinho do Porto, Alcobaca, Gois, Arganil and a rambunctious, Flemish-run campsite all made their mark on us - each a Portuguese charm whispering in our ears, blowing through our hair, leaving a kiss on our reddened skin - as we grew used to the new, warm air, bright blue sky and quiet friendliness of our new home.
I'll write more about all of these places in time. And you'd best get used to my repetition of the phrase quiet friendliness, as you'll be hearing it a lot. But for now, I wanted to say we're happy here and will be sharing our experiences - as well as those of others who are creating a new life in Portugal - in this blog, and on the all-new "Good Morning Portugal!" Radio Show.
Almada, South of Lisbon, is currently home. We came here to be in the best position for my new job as Community Builder for OurNet, which you can find out more about in the video below. OurNet is more than a 'job'. Thankfully, it has surpassed and built upon my last position and most everything I've ever done, as I assist CEO Michael Brodie in manifesting his vision. He too has chosen Portugal as a base to develop his long-awaited dream as well as his daily reality.
I know I'm blessed to not only be working largely on-line, as we explore Portugal whilst developing the community-enhancing social network that is OurNet, but also deeply grateful to be engaged in something that I hope will help the world work a little bit better.
Alongside OurNet, I'll be producing and presenting the "Good Morning Portugal!" radio show and podcast, which will tie up closely with this blog. So do stay in touch if you have any interest in this journey, this country and creating a world that works. With that in mind, I intend this website to be a useful and inspirational resource.
Please let me know if you think there's anything I should be looking into. I'm interested in all things Portuguese from Abragão to Zebreira; nailing NIF numbers; tackling toll-roads; learning the lingo; buying, selling and planning buildings; growing food, children and community life; Portugal's unique set of pastries and coffees and of course loving local life...
Do stay in touch. Finding me online is not difficult, try here
Read my first Steemit article about Portugal here: steemit.com/portugal/@carlmunson/a-letter-from-portugal
As well as hosting the "Good Morning Portugal!" Radio Show, I write about this wonderful country - the places, people and the lovely experiences I'm having here.