Meghan and I are back from our week in Portugal. I’m going to do two things in this post. The first will be a few observations regarding the people and culture over there. This should be at least a little interesting. The second will be a timeline of our trip. That will not be as interesting for you, but it’s not for you, it’s for me.
Cost of Goods / Services
Portugal is the cheapest country I’ve ever been to. The 15 minute Uber from the airport was €3.50. A decent bottle of wine at the wine store is €6. Espresso or bottled water is €1. Everything, across the board, was so much cheaper than the US. I’m not an economist (though my major was literally ‘business and economics‘), so I can’t explain WHY, but it was great.
Tipping Culture is How it Should Be
I wrote about this not long ago, but tipping in the US is out of control. I’m becoming more and more aggressive when people or machines ask for a tip. I have no shame anymore clicking “Other” when the screen only shows 20%, 25%, and 30%, when I pick up food and typing in 10%.
Over there, tipping is just what you do when you’re happy with the service. And it’s a ‘thank you‘ amount, not a ‘you need this to live‘ amount. This is not a hot take, but the closer we get to that model the better.
The Vineyards are Mindblowing
We did a wine tour where we drove an hour+ into rural Portugal to see vineyards and wineries. I’m not really a wine guy, but the vineyards were stunning. Literally hundreds of thousands of rows as far as the eye can see for miles, and they’re apparently all hand picked. That makes sense if they’re making millions of bottles of wine annually, but when you actually see it in person, it’s pretty cool.
Also not a hot take, but Europeans smoke a lot. They get many things right. Cigarettes are pretty undeniably bad for you, so I’m surprised it’s still so popular over there. Much to my disappointment, we did not have any.
Basic Human Rights – Toilet
Public places, like the train station, charge 50 cents for the toilet. And they’re not even nice! What the actual fuck. If you’re going to make literally hundreds (thousands?) of dollars a day on these fucking bathrooms, at least put some effort into keeping them clean / up to date! You should not have to pay to use the toilet.
Poopy TP in the Trashcan
There’s no other way to say it. Multiple public bathrooms in Portugal had signs that literally said “DO NOT PUT TOILET PAPER IN THE TOILET“, put it in the trashcan instead. And those bathrooms literally had trashcans full of poopy toilet paper.
I imagine this has to do with the pipes clogging or something, but this felt third world. The bathrooms smelled SO BAD. In the one instance where I did poop in a public toilet, I flushed my TP despite the sign saying I shouldn’t. I could not bring myself to use the trashcan. I also use a ton of TP so it just wasn’t an option.
Bidet / Bidet Showers
Despite disastrous PUBLIC bathroom situations, the private bathroom situations are more advanced than the US. I don’t know the general opinion on bidets or bidet showers (I didn’t even know what this was until this trip, Google it), but they’re wildly effective. I’ve been on the wet-wipes train for a while now and this is just a better version of that. The fact that we dry wipe our butts will be laughed at in 100 years. If I ever build my own house, it will have a bidet in the master bedroom.
- Landed in Porto at 10am and walked around a while.
- We tried to get food a very Portuguese place (not really for tourists), couldn’t pull it off. Went to the Lazy Cafe instead and it was awesome.
- Checked into the Hotel and took a nap, jetlag.
- Checked out the Dom Luis bridge for sunset and pictures.
- Got dinner along the river. Tried Port wine for the first time, it was… decent?
- Early bed
- Worst breakfast of all time at Java Cafe.
- Douro Valley Wine Tour. Great day with our instructor George, a Norwegian couple who didn’t care about the Magnus / Hans drama, and a couple of Minnesota who were pretty cool.
- Drinks at Guindalense.
- Another dinner along the river followed by a drink at a shitty burger place.
- Early bed
- Good brunch at Nicolau
- Walked around a while, streets were packed for some holiday.
- Nice outdoor beers at a craft place with photo editing.
- A RESERVED dinner at La Ricotta which had amazing octopus and gnocchi. Asked the server “do you have any recommendations” to which he just said “No” and walked away. Seemed like he wasn’t having a good day.
- Early train to Lisbon. Didn’t pee once on the whole 4 hour trip.
- Checked into the hotel then got brunch at Cotidiano Lisboa which had AMAZING pancakes.
- Constantly offered weed and coke.
- Went to the Castle for a while, pretty cool view!
- Got dinner in Alfama at Boi Cavalo, a Slade recommendation. So good. Hammered.
- Lisbon food tour in Alfama. Pretty cool! Food was good not great!
- Walked around a while, got beers at Musa.
- Winged a dinner at Bairro do Avillez. Also good not great! Too much cod on the day.
- Flea market which was packed and had a lot of cool but absolutely useless shit.
- Took a 40 minute train to Cascais. So hot. Very cool beaches.
- Eventually got to Boca do Inferno which I was told had 100ft waves. Oh my god was I disappointed. There were no waves. It was pretty though.
- Continued to Lovit for sunset and dinner. Wagyu burger. Holy shit. Amazing. Best meal of the trip and best potato chips I’ve ever had.
- 40 minute train home, not too drunk!