Friday, 10 February 2012
Sunday, 5 February 2012
Está um frio de rachar – literal meaning: “it’s cold enough to crack”
This is said when it’s chilly out and is usually preceded by one of several possible expletives. If you live somewhere in northern Europe you are probably thinking, “these Portuguese are weaklings! We pay for Wintersun holidays to Portugal in December what are they complaining about?”
What I love about this expression is how it manages to home in on that feeling of bone-deep freezing cold that might literally shatter your body into a thousand little shards of ice. Now that’s what serious cold feels like, isn’t it?It’s true that this expression can be overused. Sometimes it really is only chilly by Portuguese standards and if that’s in the summer it could be as warm as 20 degrees C out and is just based on the fact that last week it was probably 35 degrees or more. But right now – in the middle of an unusual cold snap in February - it’s chilly by anybody’s standards. Brrrrrr.
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
There are some places that to me are Portugal concentrated in one spot. Café Saudade is one of them. It is somewhere to go that just lets you breathe easy and it celebrates the real Portugal. Not the Portugal of shopping centres or highways, but the Portugal of my childhood, of long trips into the countryside.
Thursday, 15 December 2011
The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) estimates that the 108,000 hectares of Portugal’s cork oak forests – the largest in the world – absorb about 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. It also adds that each cork tree sustains over 100 species of wildlife, including the critically endangered Iberian Lynx.
Portugal's cork forests are under threat, however, as aluminium screw caps and manmade stoppers have replaced natural cork in wine bottles. Next time you reach for a bottle at the supermarket choose natural cork. It's a simple step that helps preserve this small corner of the planet.