Lifestyle on the Silver Coast
Slow down and savour life....There is something about Portugal that makes you want to slow down and savour life. It may be the climate. Portugal has one of the highest yearly average temperatures in Europe, and the southern part of the country enjoys a Mediterranean climate. It may be the ever present Atlantic Ocean that forms almost half of the nation’s border. The people of Portugal have had a close relationship with the sea since the very dawn of time. The earliest settlers were Phoenician and Carthaginian explorers. The country was settled by the mysterious Celts, and colonized by the Romans. It has shared much of its history with its only European neighbour, Spain, including its conquest by the Muslims. It won its independence in 1139, and has maintained it ever since.
Music and Traditions.... It may be the music which is sentimental, and tears at your heart with its haunting beauty. A popular music form in Portugal is Fado, a word that translates as fate. This music form, which has been popular since the early 19th century, surely dates back even further in Portugal’s past. It is very complex, often featuring mournful tunes dealing with the sea or the trials of the poor. The tunes speak of sadness and pain, but also of happiness and love. Maybe it is the music that makes you want to take a break from the constant and crazy pace of life and relax and let your senses reawaken.
Or maybe it is the food.... The food of Portugal speaks of its culture in many ways. The dishes are often simple, but prepared with such care and attention to detail as to turn them into masterpieces. There is a national love affair with seafood. Spices play an important part in the preparation of meals. It was the search for spices that propelled Portugal onto the world stage and built an empire. Seaman from Portugal sailed around Africa trying to find a quick route to India to bring back spices. They crossed the Atlantic to South America. Gradually, this World Empire was lost, and independence claimed colony after colony, but the unique cuisine of each lost colony was captured and integrated into the food of Portugal. Even meal time makes you nostalgic and thoughtful.
A Modern Nation.... Portugal is a modern and developed Nation. As such, it shares the problems and concerns of all modern nations. There is no doubt that the future will bring challenges and change here as it will everywhere as the world continues to shrink due to improved communication, and the binding force of a global economy. Yet, still there is a real Portugal. It is a land that seems to have allowed part of itself to stay behind as the world moved into the twenty first century. It is still there, just below the surface. It looks past the rush, and the bustle to a quieter time. It touches hearts and souls with emotions that are as old and unchanging as the sea that pounds unendingly upon its shores.
The Real Portugal.... It is this real Portugal that pulls you into its grasp and makes you long for things that might seem lost, but are really still here if you just take a moment to look for them. This is the secret of Portugal. It may be in the air, or the food, or the music, or maybe it is all of them. In any case, Portugal makes us remember a time when life was good, and reminds us that it can be again. If your soul is in need of a boost, it is one of the very, very good places to visit.