Unexpected Portugal Trip Leaves First-Time Visitor Wanting More
A quick trip to Portugal recently had me taking a crash course in what it means to be Portuguese here on the SouthCoast.
My side hustle allows me to travel to places I never dreamed of on my own.
While having the last name Medeiros means I'm Portuguese, I really didn't grow up knowing much about my culture.
I squealed when work called and said, "Jackson, you're going to Lisbon tonight."
Then, I sat back and thought about how I really don't know much about anything Portuguese other than what I learned from my grandparents. I don't speak the language at all, except the bad stuff I learned in the halls at New Bedford High School.
While my Portuguese origins are definitely from the Azores, I was excited to hit the mainland and explore.
First thing I wanted was to grab me some Portuguese wine.
While I know we can get some here on the SouthCoast, I heard the price and the taste are better in Portugal. I can agree with that now that I have done some shopping. Check out everything I got at a Portuguese grocery store called Pingo Doce Tomas Ribeiro for just over 15 American dollars:
Yes, I know we have pastels de nata here in the States (hello, Sunrise Bakery), but there was nothing like the taste of these custard cups from the motherland. Let's just say I only have some of the Porto wine left and some of the cookies.
As far as learning any history while I was there, well, I didn't learn much. Then again, I didn't ask much. I just wanted to eat, drink wine and shop.
I did ask why everything was so cheap there. I got a surprising answer. Portugal was once considered a poor people's country and many living there still believe that. Yet, I felt like I was living life in a vibrant, beautiful place.
Just look at the smile on my face here in front of the Acro da Rua Augusta.
One thing I was disappointed by was the fact that I couldn't find a cacoila sandwich anywhere.
As a matter of fact, many of the locals scratched their heads as to what I was even talking about. It was at this point I realized I need to get a little more research going before I head back to Portugal.
Yes, there were plenty of seafood options and a massive dining market called Time Out, a popular spot with many delicious foods to choose from. I also tried something I had never tried before, pastéis de bacalhau, codfish cakes, which were so cheesy and full of flavor.
In case you ever make it to Lisbon, you have to stop at Casa Portuguesa Do Pastel De Bacalhau. This guy will serve it up just right.
Many of you reading this are probably shaking your head, thinking, "What a shame."
I was extremely lucky to get this last-minute work trip but I certainly wish I did some homework before I took the trip. I'll be more prepared next time.
One of the things I especially loved about the country was the old-school trollies used as a form of public transportation. So cute.
I'm thinking I need to learn more Portuguese and I'd really like to head to the islands at some point.