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How highly would you prioritize Portugal?

How highly would you prioritize Portugal?

Dec 8th, 2014, 09:22 AM
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That's what fado is all about, after all (being morose). to have an entire art form based on it says something.

Haven't been there but I can't understand prioritizing to some degree if you have limited time. I can't comment on this list as I haven't been to Portugal. But I don't agree that every place in Spain is dead in the middle of the day, no place I've been has been where one would bother to go. Of course tourists aren't interacting with people in their homes, anyway, but people do work nowadays in many cities. I was in Granada a few months ago, for example, and nothing was closed up in the middle of the day, and it was just the regular town, not stores or restaurants labelled "for tourists", whatever that means. It was not just tourist sites that were open. Same thing in Seville and Malaga in the south, or any city I've been in to the north. People live there and do things also, in the middle of the day.

Maybe if you are talking some small village wihtout any businesses, that could be true.
Christina is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 09:38 AM
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I've listened in on the discussion as I am winding up a Fodors travel report on Spain and Portugal in Depth. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time in Portugal so it isn't "in depth" also with both of us ailing by then.

Comments: noting sandralist and IMDonahere and others liking Portugal and also finding Andalucia most interesting as did danon. Yes, we were certainly intrigued by Andalucia and I do think the Moorish culture is an intriguing part of the history as nytravel says. Not been to Barcelona but have been to Madrid, Salamanca, Segovia, Toledo, etc.

latedaytraveler has mentioned the destructive earthquake of 1755 which has indeed had lingering effects. I have pondered that this occurred on All Saints Day in the middle of celebration of Mass! Sitting in the hushed silence of Lisbon's Church of Sao Domingos, once a center of the Inquisition, I looked at the unrepaired damaged columns caused by earthquake and fire.

So IMDonehere, what more can you say about the Salazar dictatorship? Any book or source to learn more? Not as bad as Franco you say? Definitely agree of the importance to study history and culture not just sights of any place.

Who can say whether Italy or Greece or for that matter Egypt or Israel has more intriguing history.
Ozarksbill is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 09:49 AM
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Danon, the topic is "how much European thinking shaped so much of the world". Sandralist ranked Portugal and Greece very high in this ranking. I can't understand how can this be disputed.
Of course you are free to have any other perception of reality, but I ask you to remember this discussion next time you see the façade of Sao Paulo church in Macao. The caravels didn't carry spices alone. For the best and for the worst they carried along religion, philosophy, ways of thinking, ways of living, culinary (vindaloo in India), language (arigato in Japonese). These flows are bidirectional and Portugal received back a lot as Sandralist also stated).
When Vasco da Gama arrived in India in 1498, this is the kick off of a globalization mouvement that lasts until today. Was it good or bad? I don't have an answer to that question, but history can not be rewriten.
lobo_mau is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 10:26 AM
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I cannot recommend any book about Salazar or Franco but the dictatorship of Franco was much more oppressive and the Spanish Civil War still brings emotional debates in Spain.

Here is an article, for example, from earlier this year which speaks of Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen) in Spain and how the past and the present collide in Spain with regard to Franco, Spain, and their Civil War. The controversy also effects tourists, in that, it was built with what is essentially slave labor. Even Pedro Almodóvar's film Volver was an allegory for the Civil War.


I am much more familiar with Spanish history and culture and I am still in weekly contact with friends and relatives. Over the course of my life, I have spent almost a year in Spain and none of that for business or school, my wife more.
IMDonehere is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 11:26 AM
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If they are morose it is because they listen to Fado music.!!!

Wouldn't you be melancholy if you listened to only sad songs about longing for better times.

( I saw you wipibg tears away in a bar in Lisbon .!!)

I have no idea how much residue effect could be traced back to Salazar.
The country was trying to correct 50 years of

But no country every gets rid of its corruption totally. That is why they call them politicians.!
Percy is online now  
Dec 8th, 2014, 11:44 AM
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"Clearly Portugal was instrumental in the exploration of the world by Europe, but in no way, shape, or form has Portugal contributed to the world body of culture like the Italians, Spanish, French, Germans, English and Dutch among the European colonizers. "

IMO , the above comment started the discussion, not "the ways European thinking shaped the world" .
Some may suggest Socrates, Galileo, Spinoza, Marx, Nietzsche, Napoleon, European Royals who
financed explorers like Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Cartier etc shaped
the "European thinking" . And, let's not forget the Moors, the Ottoman Empire and other " outside"
contributors .
Not long ago , Turkish President claimed that Muslims discovered America. Who knew.
danon is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 11:55 AM
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Of course, every country has its horrible deeds and leaders. Some are later than others and some have a longer lasting effect.
My favorite Portugal story about the Portuguese trait of being morose concerns visiting the absolutely beautiful town of Amarante for the feast day of St Gonçalo. The difference is that for hundreds of years on this feast day young single men and women exchange bread/cake in the shape of phalluses as an expression of interest. OK, not that subtle, but it is a very old tradition. These phalluses are being sold all over town and hanging from poles by street vendors and the people there are walking around like their dog died.

IMDonehere is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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We live in the world the Portugeuse set in motion It's the coffee you drink, the chocolate you eat, the systems of banking and transport combined with the fear of exotic diseases, of global financial collapse, the legacies of racism and resentment. The Portuguese clung to their physical empire longer than anybody, in utterly self-destructive ways, and yet they are also the first to recognize "life beyond empire" in a global world -- perhaps precisely because they were the makers of it -- and trying to come to democratic peace with it.

I think "prioritizing" countries rather than just "visiting" them is a fantastic way to travel if you view travel as an exploration of history and learning. There are many ways to learn history, and everybody should walk through the door that most interests them personally. But everybody should also question the traditional "ranking" of how to rate a country's importance according to yardsticks like who had the most famous "geniuses". That kind of measuring is faddish, and comes and goes. Quite frankly, engineers and gardeners have often been more influential than Shakespeare and Picasso in bringing western culture to non-western people and changing their lives. Ditto bankers and insurance innovators.

A lot of people have come to accept a tourist's map of where it is important to go that really bears no relationship to history or even anything worth learning, anything that will teach you about the world you live in today. There was a time when travel was so difficult just about the ONLY reason people undertook the rigors was to try to learn "why" the world is what it is today. Now people travel for the most idiotic reasons -- or probably just because they are bored and unhappy and television isn't much of an escape.

Portugal is where we have been and where many of today's empires are headed. It is interesting , it is open, it is cheap, it is fun, it is beautiful and it is easy to get to. If you think understanding the complications of history is a pre-requisite to having an opinion, then Portugal is a priority.
sandralist is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 12:09 PM
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Danon, I understand your remarks under the light of your last post. My comments should be read framed by Sandralist's post of 6 December, 11:05 pm.
lobo_mau is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 12:46 PM
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Is William Shakespeare or Michelangelo more important contributor to our culture, is it discovery of America or the French Revolution, the Roman Empire or Greek philosophers, chocolate or tulips ??
Disagreement of this nature are often a matter of opinion influenced by our own perception , background, education.

Unlike several posters , who responded to my inquiry about visiting Lisbon negatively, I really
enjoyed my short stay in the city. I managed to learn a bit of the language before my trip
( was easy..I speak Spanish) Hope to use it during my next time in Portugal.
danon is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 12:47 PM
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danon is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 01:34 PM
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DANON, you have engendered a very interesting discussion.

PERCY makes a good point - "I like the fact that Portugal was not heavily influenced by Europe over the centuries because, Portugal has architecture that you will not see anywhere in Europe."

An excellent example is the magnificent Jeronimos Monastery in the Belem section of Lisbon, designed in the "Manueline" style described as "a richly ornate architectural style with complex sculptural themes incorporating maritime elements and objects discovered during naval expeditions, carved in limestone."

What I recall especially is the striking nautical motifs throughout, particularly roping and intricate netting.


IDH, interesting piece about Spain's days under Franco. Around 2000 I visited the Valley of the Fallen on a cool, dark day and recall it as a rather forbidding place. For more on this subject, I would suggest reading GHOSTS OF SPAIN, Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past by Giles Tremlett.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 01:51 PM
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Sandralist, I did not realize the Portuguese invented racism. Then I truly underestimated their legacy.

And speaking of racism, chocolate was discovered over 3,000 years before the Europeans set foot in the Americas and chocolate is bastardized Spanish word from the Aztecs meaning bitter water. But why give credit to the indigenous people of the western hemisphere, when it wrongfully supports your narrative.

As far as contributions to society, I missed the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes for banking and insurance. And how many times did writers and artists plunge the world into a depression because of greed?

So the legacy you are touting is racism, greed, and the theft of other people's work and inventions. Please do nor plead my case if I death row they might torture me before they hang me.
IMDonehere is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 04:39 PM
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I think it was IMD who started the conversation , but I agree with you about Jeronimos.
...I was alone and loudly said "wow" several times.
There is so much magnificent art and architecture in Europe ( and other places) , I feel lucky to have seen even a small part of it.
danon is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 06:23 PM
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For those that have seen the Queluz Palace in Portugal, I thought it was pretty "sneaky" in the fashion it was built.

The square facing the public traffic and the outside of the Palace is moderately done, but what the general public at the time could not or never did see was the lavish ...

..other side of the Palace and the ornate gardens.!


This was a hunting Lodge once , just like Versailles.

( At least Versailles is about the same on both sides, not so for the Queluz Palace... the best is on the other side beyond the gates.)

Yes latedaytraveler,

"An excellent example is the magnificent Jeronimos Monastery in the Belem section of Lisbon, designed in the "Manueline" style described as "a richly ornate architectural style with complex sculptural themes incorporating maritime elements and objects discovered during naval expeditions, carved in limestone."

and the Belem Tower also has much Manueline embellishments.

I think Portugal Palaces and Monasteries have the best Cloister Courtyards bar-none.
Percy is online now  
Dec 9th, 2014, 04:18 AM
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Thanks for the link to the Queluz Palace in Portugal. Is it in Lisbon? Spectacular, so much like Versailles. Sorry that I missed it.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Dec 9th, 2014, 04:20 AM
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As a former estrangeira who considers herself more and more alfacinha as each day passes, I'm always interested in hearing how my adoptive country is perceived, and I'm finding this discussion very interesting.
luz_de_lisboa is offline  
Dec 9th, 2014, 06:23 AM
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Śandralist has been on PalQ's Dulux again.

Anything else Portugal invented?
Dickie_Gr is offline  
Dec 9th, 2014, 06:26 AM
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There are 3 European countries I haven't visited :

Finland : poor man's Sweden.
Serbia : nasty lot into genocide.
Portugal : lovely people but why would you with Seville down the road.
Dickie_Gr is offline  
Dec 9th, 2014, 06:59 AM
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As I mentioned , Spain is our favourite destination.
We visited Seville twice ( five nights each time) ..first , during La Semana Santa ( was too crowded, )the second time -with side trips to a Cordoba and Italica - we enjoyed the stay much more.
I would go to Seville again without hesitation.

This fall, I finally visited a new destination : Lisbon! Same posters recommended it highly, some did not
like the city at all.
I found Lisbon interesting enough to fill three days and left with desire to see more of the country.
danon is offline  

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