0112 Finally a new Country! (Portugal 001—new)
Faro Travel Blog› entry 25 of 35 › view all entries
Tour 003 Portugal
I've been wandering for almost four weeks now without stepping foot on a single "new" country! It's about time!
Immediately I want to discover: how is Portugal distinct from Spain? Language, obviously. But I'm looking for something deeper than that
Architecturally they're similar, although old Portuguese cities use a lot more yellow, and they like to use tiles on their exterior walls—I later figure out that it’s it helps keeps out the humidity. The food at the back alley homestyle restaurants is a lot more varied. And they've got these buffets (you pay by the weight) which give you a chance to sample a variety of foods.
And although Portugal is prospering, in the faces of the older folks you can see that they've been through hard times.
But the big distinction I see in Portugal--something I really haven't seen anywhere else in Europe is how well African immigrants seem to be integrated to society. They live in the same neighborhoods, eat at the same restaurant tables, have the same job positions as white folks--they clearly intermingle freely... in fact, it's more often that you'll see a black man walking down the street chatting with a white man than otherwise!
Now, of course, I'm just a casual observer, and I'm sure there are problems--but I will say that I found this to be very hope inspiring. See, I've had this lingering question: is it really possible for there to be racial equality in "old" Europe where race and national identity seem so tightly intertwined? I think Portugal starts to answer that question.
These thoughts were in my mind as I observed and compared notes with what I saw in Brazil back in 05. Clearly, the Portuguese have approached the whole matter of race and integration differently than other European powers.
Anyways... I kind of got off topic... I find a cheap room in Faro, wander around town a bit... next day I explor the old city and castle walls... then decide to backtrack a little bit and go see Olhao...