Portugal, I felt at home!
Updated: Mar 30, 2022
A Brazilian holidaying in the Algarve
What does it mean?
Before I go any further with the holiday, a bit of history may contextualise this blog.
Brazilian culture is a mix of influences from various countries and ethnicities. It is a mosaic of different cultures that together bring to life the Brazilian culture and traditions. After more than three centuries of Portuguese colonisation, Brazil’s culture is mainly based on Portuguese roots.
It is just natural that we would inherit its culture, language (hence, why Brazil’s mother tongue is Portuguese), food and traditions. We formed new traditions, culture and became more adventurous with the food. Before the arrival of the Portuguese, the spoken language was Tupi Guarani, indigenous origin.
Indigenous and African influences left their mark on music, cuisine, folklore, art and crafts, which is still celebrated through the various popular festivals across Brazil.
I wanted to bring a little bit of context so that my lovely readers will understand why I loved Portugal so much, it was home from home!
It was Brazil in Europe with a different accent.
This is a strange story! I always wanted to go to Portugal, to experience the culture, tradition and food Brazilians have inherited straight from the source. Also, my grandfather was Portuguese which always sparked an interest in me to know more about Portugal. However, for some reason, Portugal was never quite on top of my holiday destination list. It has taken me 52 years to decide to take some holidays in Portugal. I can’t quite understand why it took that long!
My family and I decided to go to Portugal in May 2019 for the half term holiday and we stayed in the Algarve. Well, I can only say that I should have visited Portugal a long time ago!
Not only is the Algarve a great destination for a family holiday, it really felt like home from home!
The Algarve is similar to some stunning holiday coastal areas in Rio. The really interesting fact is that there is a holiday for everyone, you can stay in some underdeveloped areas and enjoy nature at its best with some peace and quiet or stay at main touristic areas like Albufeira and enjoy a typical holiday beach with bars, shops, music and lots of people.
In the Algarve we could also find every single type of landscape from soaring cliffs, bays, sea caves, sandy beaches and stunning islands that made every minute of our holiday worth it.
But what was so special about Portugal?
The fact that I could relate to everything!
Food – fantastic and fresh and a lot of the restaurants would serve black beans, a staple on Carioca’s dishes (Carioca is a person born in Rio de Janeiro). The fish and seafood in general were insanely good! Can you imagine the fresh fish, slowly grilled to perfection over charcoal, just going back the way the fishermen do it? It was an experience to delve into the local culinary delights. The best restaurants were the one where locals were dining, if it good enough for the locals, it is good enough for a Brazilian!
When we found a ‘churrascaria’ in the Algarve, I was ecstatic and could not resist. Churrascaria started as huge steak houses where the meat is barbecued and there is an enormous buffet with fresh salads and hot food.
I couldn’t explain any better what a churrascaria is. The website Cocina, not only explains what Churrascaria is in detail with wonderful pictures, it also provides readers with a bit of background.
Brazilians and churrascarias - most definitely a love affair!
My father in law never experienced anything like that, he was totally amazed! Needless to say that he absolutely loved the concept of churrascarias.
Beaches – The Algarve coats is an endless series of some of Europe’s finest beaches. When I say endless, I mean endless, there are over 100 beaches in the Algarve. Yes, it is paradise!
Although in the Algarve the sand is a golden colour whilst in Rio is more like a baby powder, it was so refreshing to see similar habits on the beach. Families and groups of friends gathered during the weekends on the beach, not necessarily to enjoy the sun as we holiday makers were doing, but because it is where people socialise and meet! Back home, I didn’t need to make arrangement to go to the beach with friends, you just go and you know you will meet your friends.
Fashion – Yes, the flip flop culture! Even if you are dressed up you would probably wear a flip flop anyway! It’s like nobody wear shoes, just flip flops!
Algarve is just packed with shopping malls and high street stores but the really interesting thing is that it still retains a number of independent stores and markets where they sell their traditional products from clothes to ceramic.
The Algarve is an amazing shopping destination if you fancy an upgrade on your wardrobe, from shops selling designer brands to local independent boutiques you will certainly find some fashion you love.
Algarve was a great holiday choice and now I can’t wait to go back and also explore other Portuguese cities.
In the meantime sit tight and watch out for my next blog about Tuscany in Italy!
What's your favourite holiday destination?