Meanwhile, 3,000 years later…

What will they find of our civilization 3,000 years from now? The way things are going, it might be a surprise if anyone’s left to find anything. Maybe it’ll be a planet of apes, or dinosaurs will make a comeback. Or, maybe earth will be a way station for spacefaring human beings who overcame all of our niggling little problems. Although I think the ape thing might be more plausible. When I was growing up, I read all sorts of science fiction which made it look as if anything past the year 2000 was going to be full of space flights and flying cars, or teleportation and enormous gleaming silver cities, some of which would float on clouds or be buried deep in the ocean. Sadly, those things are excised from budgets built on supporting an aging population and blowing up everyone else. Even worse, scientists are now telling us that our planet is going through its sixth major extinction event. And The Great Barrier Reef was just declared dead. Dead!

I think it seems surreal (or unreal) because we’ve been conditioned to think that extinction happens all at once. But when it happens over a period of decades –which still isn’t long at all, it’s just not, like tomorrow– a lot of us just shrug and hope it’s fake news. Those durn scientists, always getting in the way of our wanton decimation of the planet!

But I digress. On our trip to Porto, we stopped in Conimbriga, which is an ancient pre-Roman settlement in Portugal. The ruins include some homes that were absolute mansions. One can only imagine how amazing they might have looked two or three thousand years ago.

Those pillars were rebuilt in modern times, as Carolyn is so adroitly pointing out. The big plaza was the site of a forum, which would have looked something like the picture below.
Notice the four pillars, which is where “forum” got its name. Okay, I’m just kiddin’ about that. They didn’t even speak English back then. Otherwise they’d all be like, “I have a fiveum.” “Oh, yeah? I have an eightum!” “Oh yeah?” said Trumpus Maximus, “I have a thirty-seven-um!” Seriously, the word “forum” is from Latin and means, “what is out of doors.” I’m not sure if they meant “outside,” or that they just ran out of doors.


The tile work is amazing both for its intricacy as well as the fact that it lasted this long. “How long is your warranty?” asked the homeowner. “Well,” said the tile salesman. “We have a special plan that’ll extend the warranty on this baby to 2,000 years. And you can get that for only 300 denarius a month by using our extended payment option!” It’s a little known fact that the Romans invented payment plans.


These were plant holders I think. Either that or the beginnings of the invention of tic tac toe. Except they couldn’t figure out why the guy who went first always won, plus, the stones were much too heavy for most people to move anyway. Pssh, stupid Romans.
The stairway was added sometime around 50 AD I think, because, well duh, they wouldn’t have invented metal stairways before that.
You get an idea as to the splendor of this huge house just from these ruins. I think this was the indoor bowling alley.
This photo is just to prove we didn’t steal all these pictures from the internet while we actually sit at home watching TV. I mean, it’s not like I could just Photoshop myself into any random image or anything.


The Moon with Kevin
Okay, maybe I can. But we were really there! We saw Conimbriga in person, I swear! The moon too!
This used to be something like a 40,000 square foot house. I think the big screen TV went on the far right wall. The eight chariot garage was something to behold.
The columns seem awfully short. Maybe that’s where they displayed their bowling trophies.
We’ve now protected these parts of the ruins with a ceiling (no, it’s not a reproduction. We didn’t invent plastic until something like 200 AD), and the added touch of green helps jog your imagination as to how splendiforous this whole thing must’ve looked.
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A panoramic view of the “House of the Fountains.” Carolyn’s waving “hi” to the right while simultaneously trying to dodge out of the shot.
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A panoramic view of the Fountain House’s neighbors. Much of the architecture in the town and homes was built around baths and pools. The Romans were quite fastidious. After the Roman Empire fell, humanity, except for perhaps the Japanese and a few others, stunk to high heaven until the 20th century. And you think we’re always progressing? Stink again!
Scan 3
A better view of some of the ruins. 


We enjoyed the visit. The cool thing about it was that we simply saw some signs that, roughly translated, said, “There’s some really old shit over here!” on our drive home from Porto, and so we wandered in and were delighted to find this very cool place.

Carolyn and I are endlessly fascinated both by ancient Roman ruins as well as castles. They’re all just so cool! They are two of the big reasons why we love traveling around Europe. The other reason is that I’m a lot less likely to get caught if I stay mobile.


Douro Valley- the Land of Port and Ugal

One of the main attractions of the Porto area is the Douro Valley, where vineyards are as prolific as a politician’s lies, which is an apt metaphor because they both produce a product that provides feelings of euphoria for some, but also nausea and vomiting if you’ve swallowed too much of it.

img_3389It truly is a beautiful place, as these pictures will attest. We simply drove around, taking in the seemingly endless hills of vineyards. The only negative to the whole trip was the lunch we designated as our anniversary lunch. While the food in Portugal is generally awesome, this one meal happened to be the worst we’ve had (there has to be a worst one, right?). We both had cod, and it tasted very much the way the big flats of cod smell in the supermarket, which attracts flies like politician’s — oh wait, I already used that metaphor. The next day we went to a restaurant in Porto, and decided to replace the dinner as our anniversary meal. Lo and behold, it was probably the best meal we’ve had since we’ve been here! Which means, in the end, the food there was just average for us. Ha!

Anyway, without further ado, we bring you… Douro Valley.

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Apparently there is a problem with dogs raiding the vineyards. Someone must’ve shot these three interlopers and just left the carcasses there!
There were three bridges in a row, all of which were at what might be called “suicide height.” The one we were standing on was made of wood, with relatively thin boards (at least for an acrophobe given the height), and gaps where you could see the water below. Way, way, below. After taking this selfie, I got the hell off of there. I’m too large to trust my bulk to some strips of wood.
Carolyn has no such fears; she stayed to capture this lovely shot.
Bridge of the Day.
Under-bridge of the Day.
A photo of two highly regarded vintages: the port, and the wife.
This is where they store the port as it ferments. In a Mr. Bean movie, he would open that door and the chamber would be full. Hilarity ensues.
It seemed like every available piece of dirt was used for vineyards. Everywhere we went, vineyards, vineyards, vineyards.



The sample sizes they offered during the wine tasting (well, port tasting) were plenty ample, obviously.
I think she was expecting to have port raining from the ceilings. I wish it had because we could’ve sued them for staining our clothes. We would’ve had ’em over a barrel.
No, we didn’t buy all three of these bottles. We’re not drunkards, for Pete’s sake. We just drank ’em dry during the visit.
 The Portuguese are experts at erecting buildings on hillsides. They’d have to be, otherwise there would be almost no buildings!
Port meets portly.
Just beautiful scenery everywhere you go. Except when you go, you know, to the casa de banho.
Quinta means “farm” or “estate.” I think the name of this winery translates to: “Estate of the Teddy Bear.” Except the bird ate the bear, which made a kid cry incessantly, which made the parents drink a lot. It all ties together, you see. You have to do some digging to get this stuff.
What tedoing there?


Simply contemplating all the beauty I just saw.

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On the way back, we were subjected to the hardest rainstorm either of us have been in, especially for such a protracted time. The rain got so bad, we took a cue from some other drivers and parked under an underpass to wait it out. It went on for so long we started making out because, hey, it was our anniversary.

And yes, there is such a thing as a “ugal.” It is an Indonesian instrument, played with a small hammer. Indeed, it’s a little known fact that Port didn’t get its name from Portugal, it was the other way around. Someone named Hyierin Lisboa was playing an ugal in a bar in a little town on the coast, and some drunkard stumbled over the thing and spilled an entire bottle of port everywhere. When he came to, they asked him if he knew where he was, and he could only drunkenly stammer, “Hyierin…. Lisboa… Port… Ugal…”

And it stuck!

Anyway, now you can use this picture combination next time you’re playing picture-charades and get the word Portugal! You see, this blog is not only informative, it helps you with games that don’t really exist!

Road Trip to Porto

For our fourth anniversary we decided to motor up to Porto, which is about a three hour drive from Lisbon, and is Portugal’s second-largest city. It’s also famous for port wine, which was named after Porto (except someone forgot the “o”). Porto reminded me of a smaller version of Lisbon: hilly, the same architecture for the most part, some narrow streets, and lots of Portuguese people in it too for some reason.

We took a couple of day trips outside the Porto area, but for this post these pictures are all within the city center.

Old churches for old worshipers (well, young ones as well), plus a not-so-old wife for a husband to worship too!
As you can tell, the ceilings were amazing. Either that or I was hunting for flies again.
Even though I’m hardly a Slim Jim (more like a Thick Jimmy), I had no problem navigating these narrow alleyways. As long as I sucked it in that is. That car was going 40 miles an hour! But it’s okay, because they drive in kilometers, so no one knew how fast it was going.
How she might have enticed me at the Prince’s Ball way back when.
Photobombing the columns. Photobombing is pretty much the only terrorism Portugal suffers from.
It’s a good thing Elvis didn’t write songs here, otherwise his famous tune might have gone:      Well, it’s one for the money, two for the show,
Three to get ready, now go, cat, go!
But don’t you step on my blue tile church!
Well you can do anything,
But stay off of my blue tile church!
A view of Porto from a place where there is a view of Porto.
We were surprised and humbled that they put out all the flags just for our anniversary.
Yes, this is a big statue with a man patting a naked woman’s butt, and yes, people put stickers all over said butt. They couldn’t quite cover it all up, however. As a result, we were scandalized. So were the birds, obviously.
I asked her to mimic the woman’s pose, but she’s too shy to take off all her clothes on the street. I did, however, purchase some stickers to put on her later. That must be what they do here, right?
She had no idea I was crossing my eyes.

Eyes Crossed

Ungodly amounts of decor in a church – oh wait, can I say that?
Waiting for our English-language tour of a palace. I was scared I might not understand English anymore.
This is my vision of my personal entrance to heaven. It wasn’t, however, in front of a church. You know, that’s all they’d need to do to get me in there. First Church of Ice Cream. I’d be a bishop in that denomination! My hat would be an upside down ice cream cone, and my robe would be the color of mint chocolate chip.
Selfie. I think. It may have been when I stole the camera from an unsuspecting tourist who got too close, I’m not sure.
Where’s Waldo?
In the middle of Porto is Liberdade Square (although it’s rectangular), dominated by this steeple, which could be giving the misnamed square the finger, I’m not sure.
She’s happy because she can now read that beer billboard. Or she just had two or three of them.
This was either after one helluva wild party, or she just doesn’t wear very much around the house. Or I guess it could be “he”: who am I to judge?
This is a picture of a church with two people staring at you.
She liked this door, so of course it became the Door of the Day.
He’s telling us to go over there, but as you can see, I’m dubious as to whether he’s correct.
I’m not sure why these lions are barfing. Probably due to the lack of a giant ice cream cone at the entrance to the church.
As with Lisbon, because there are so many hills, there are opportunities for lots of scenic views, which is something I feel everywhere I go with Carolyn. Because, you know, I think she’s rather scenic.
Back in the day, I believe it was a mortal sin to allow any wall or ceiling to be plain.
The train station was fairly ornate for a train station. I think they did it just to match the color of my shirt.
One of the aforementioned views from atop a tower we climbed and climbed and climbed. Along the way, lots of people were stairing too.
This is how we would’ve looked at the first dance at our wedding, if we had held it in this grand ballroom, and been in Porto, and dressed rather casually, and ignored the fact that we don’t dance very well, which you can’t tell from a still image, thank goodness. I fell over right after the shot was taken.
And this is the grand staircase outside the ballroom one of us surely would have tripped and fallen down, much to the delight of all the people with cell phones who would’ve been filming us. Probably would have been Carolyn falling due to the glass slippers.
I don’t know if people paid more attention to ceilings back then because they were shorter or whether their necks were more limber than ours are today.
Yeah, we walked up that thing. From the inside.
When she took that shot, a couple of Chinese tourists really cracked up. My guess is that they’re not used to seeing an elder statesman such as myself clowning around. Either that or they thought it was stupid because the statue only has a mustache.
Another view of Porto and the beautiful terra cotta roofs. Carolyn says it should be “terracotta,” but the spell checker doesn’t seem to agree. I looked it up, and they’re both right. So ha spell checker! Eat that with your terra cottage cheese!
It’s a little known fact that the pop group America wrote their lyrics while vacationing in Porto, you know: “Douro cross the river if you can’t swim the tide!” They almost named the band “Portugal” too.
All I need is a horse. And a staff. With a flag on it. And a helmet. And different clothes. And to have lived a few hundred years ago. Other than that, it’s a spitting image!
I think this picture is a bunch of bull. Actually, I just wanted to see where bullshit actually starts.
Obviously Carolyn did most of the picture snapping. I’m just here to add a little color to the scenery.
An old church. Of course, we saw no new ones, but these things will be standing after the apocalypse, so why bother building new ones?
The Douro River, navigated by a mini container ship.
Panoramic view of Porto.
God, please let this be the last picture!

Well it is.


The Number One Thing We Love About Portugal

1The People

(at least when they’re not driving)

When we first talked about moving to Portugal, our main considerations were the weather, the location, the cost of living, and the safety. Much to our surprise, we’ve discovered that our favorite thing about the country is none of those.

In a previous blog I wrote that the Portuguese reminded me of Eeyore, who is completely lovable and yet oblivious to the fact. Somehow, he manages to be morose, self-deprecating, and continuously depressed, and still be totally adorable.Eeyore

The Portuguese are not quite so gloomy, of course, but they love to flail themselves over their negative nature. I’ve had multiple Portuguese self-criticize their culture as pessimistic. They tend to be a little somber and reserved. They are not overtly humorous, and they’re quick to criticize their own people collectively.

But as an American who enjoys pondering the differences in cultures and wondering how they got where they are and how it all works, I actually look at the Portuguese pessimism and find it endearing.

Typically, pessimism is categorized as a negative word. But that’s just because people doing that categorizing are being pessimistic, ha! Seriously, one of the cornerstones of my personal philosophies centers around humility. The employees at the company I ran for years can attest to that. I ranted about it and built programs around it until they were begging for me to become arrogant.

CS LewisAlmost every negative personal interaction I’ve seen has at least one of the combatants suffering from a lack of humility. A lack of humility can mean arrogance, or it can mean a lack of self-confidence, which often looks like arrogance. A lack of humility causes many people to decide what’s right for everyone else, and they often stop caring about contrary thoughts and ideas. A lack of humility usually results in the judging of others, and self-justifies all sorts of bad behavior.

So while pessimism might be a worrisome trait for some, it’s a flip side from the lack of humility. And if you believe, like I do, that the lack of humility is at the core of almost all bad human interactions, you tend to embrace the pessimism and love the people for it. If nothing else, I’d take it hands down over a culture of arrogance any day of the week.

Cutting in lineThat said, not every cultural behavior here is the best. The Portuguese tend to be pretty pushy and a little bit rude in stores. I’ve had people step right in front of me while I’m standing in front of a grocery store display with nary a “desculpa” (excuse me). We’ve watched them bully to the front of the line multiple times. I’ve offered up a “desculpa” probably 20 to 1 for inadvertent contact, they usually just ignore it all and keep going.

We were told by the prior owner of our house that it might take five years for a neighbor to greet you, and another five years before they engage in a conversation. Four and-a-half years to go, and he’s right so far! They also don’t tend to greet strangers with a lot of initial and overt warmth, but they’re almost always polite. It’s rare that I’ve passed a stranger and not been the first to wish them a “bom dia,” although they almost always respond in kind with a nice, sometimes shy, smile.

puegeotBut it’s on the road where some of them can be quite aggressive or downright rude. Especially, and I kid you not, females in Peugeots. It’s a running joke and oft proven true that if someone cuts us off or tailgates us while chomping at the bit to pass, it’s probably a female in a Peugeot. We once had someone honk repeatedly at us simply for slowing down to look for a parking space. That time it wasn’t a female in a Peugeot, which actually surprised us a little.

drivingRecently, Carolyn and I were crossing a street. When we entered the street, the walk sign was green. By the time we got to the other side, it had already turned red (they apparently don’t time them the same way as they do in the states). The driver waiting for us to cross (and we weren’t walking that slow… we may be retired, but we’re not decrepit!) gave us a significant piece of his mind. Our Portuguese isn’t good enough to understand streams of invective, but we got the gist of it. Being delayed two additional seconds in a car is enough to irritate many Portuguese for some reason.

front bumperI’ve also had high beams flashed at me even as I am passing a car on the right. Take a chill pill! For some reason, once some Portuguese get behind the wheel, all their pent up aggressions come to the fore. Even fellow Portuguese have complained about this to me.

But, the warmth is there as soon as you engage them one on one. Other than the above, we’ve found most of them to be basically decent and kind, and more than willing to assist when asked. Once you peel back that shy veneer, they’re humble, gracious, and generous. They have a basic decency about them, which I think is just one of the reasons Portugal is considered one of the safest countries in the world.

They do get a little baffled about the American sense of humor, as well as our casualness. They’re generally a little more proper than Americans, I suppose. Although I do really like the cheek-kiss greetings. They convey warmth and a willingness to share personal space.

TrumpaI’ve been asked by other Americans what the Portuguese think of Americans. Aside from the virtually universal detesting of Trump (a fact that is true of most Europeans), they love America, and they love Americans. It’s pretty funny that in Portuguese “trumpa” literally means “shit;” I’ve heard it exclaimed with vigor more than once when the subject of politics comes up. They also know more about American politics than most Americans, and all without fake news, imagine that!

The best analogy I can come up with about how they feel about the US is how you might feel about living in the same neighborhood as a very wealthy family. This family has a house so big they need hired help to keep it clean. They drive fancy cars that can go far faster than the law allows and gobble up fuel like cruise ships. They have all the toys their hearts desire, and want for nothing.

Except they’re miserable. They work too much. Their kids are on drugs. They’re constantly fighting with each other. The company he owns pays barely enough for the employees to make ends meet. They have affairs, and the man even brags to his buddies about the women he can grope because he’s rich and famous. Despite being given all the worldly possessions they’d ever want, or perhaps because of that, they appreciate very little, and act very entitled. A recent study proved that empathy weakens as wealth and privilege grow. Poorer Americans think if they could just get there they’d be different. I think the Portuguese know that’s simply not true.

I think that in the end the Portuguese look at America just like that, and while they’re quick to acknowledge that having all that stuff might be kinda cool, are pretty much just content to be living in Portugal. I know we are.

Portuguese heartAnyway, I never would have thought that one of the most endearing things about Portugal would’ve been its people. They fly well under the radar, so no one seems to give them a lot of consideration. But I feel right at home among them, and in all my travels, I’ve never encountered a culture that made me feel so comfortable.


I heart Portugal


Number Two of the Top Ten Things We Love About Portugal

2Location, Geography, and Flora & Fauna

Much of the reason we chose to move to Portugal was so we could use it as a launching pad for exploring Europe. You wanna quick trip to Rome? No problem! For under 200 bucks and in under three hours, we can have you twirling spaghetti and splattering tomato sauce all over your shirt like any obnoxious tourist. You wanna fly to Paris, or London, or Berlin, or drive to Spain? No problemo, señor! It’s all very quick, and comparatively inexpensive, especially when comparing it to a trip from the states.

However, now that we’re in Portugal, our desire to leave it in order to explore has been tempered, at least for the time being. We’re already in paradise… it’s hard to want to leave paradise, y’know? I’m sure we’ll get our wanderlust back into gear after a while, but with temperatures in the 80’s most days and near-continuous blue skies –not to mention some of Europe’s best beaches less than ten minutes away– it’s easy to see why we’re content to stay put for now. Let me in!Besides, we’re still settling into our house (taking our own sweet time… we are retired after all), and our tourist visa has long expired, meaning there’s a chance that if we venture outside the country we might get hung up in the famous Portuguese government bureaucracy upon our return and not be allowed back in. Don’t worry; we’re completely legal, we are just skirting on the edges of the system until we can get our one-year visas nailed down.

Jokes on youBut back to the beaches: I mean, how can you beat this kind of weather plus be this close to beautiful beaches? The only downside to the beaches is that the Atlantic ocean is pretty chilly. Not the deep-freeze-your-bones cold of the Pacific Ocean along Oregon’s coast, but you either need to be wearing a wetsuit, be impervious to cold , or be a kid (because they lack nerve endings) in order to withstand much time in the water. On the plus side, there are not rows of condos or hotels or tourist traps lining the beaches. You simply drive to a spot and walk on a beach that extends as far as the eye can see. With just a short hike, you can pretty much have a beach all to yourself. Carolyn and I drive down to the beach about once a week, weather permitting, just to sit and stare and listen to the waves, and wonder how the hell we got so lucky to have a life like this. Okay, luck and a lot of hard work leading up to it, but our gratitude knows no bounds.

tram_28There are more or less two Portugals, aside from the small differences in regions. One is Lisbon, or most any Portuguese city, and the other is the countryside. Images of Portugal usually start with the “Tram 28” cable car in Lisbon, made famous for its bright yellow color, a route that takes it along some famous Lisbon sights, and the extremely crowded and uncomfortable seating. I think the Portuguese probably make a little fun of the tourists when they ride Tram 28. “Eles adoram o transporte público mais desconfortável que temos!” Which means: “They love the most uncomfortable public transit we have!”

You also certainly can’t ignore the dominance of the terra cotta roofs, which not only scream “Portugal!” but make any view over the rooftops quite striking.

IMG_5161 (1)Since Lisbon is a very old city and extremely compacted, there aren’t a lot of green spaces within the city itself. Certainly there are some parks and green things here and there, especially on the outskirts. But it takes a trip into the countryside to see the real beauty of Portugal’s flora.

We’re very fortunate to live out in the country. Outside my upper-floor office window I can gaze across a sea of green, and beyond that, the ocean (on a clear day anyway). The trees aren’t tall evergreens like in Oregon, but it’s still green and lush.

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A walk along the road or on the many paths that criss-cross the area between our home and the ocean reveals wildflowers in a multitude of amazing colors. I love the blues and purples that many of them feature. IMG_5289Some of the fauna has a scrub brush flavor to it, but unlike some desert-like areas, the green dominates the landscape.

IMG_4849As to the flora, since we live in the country, we can hear plenty of barking dogs, honking (and hissing) geese, warbling turkeys, clucking chickens, buzzing bees, and a large variety of birdsong. It’s never overbearing or annoying, especially since we know it comes with the territory. Besides, a short walk will take you to a place where the only sound you hear is your breath especially if you just walked up a big hill (okay, maybe a little one too, we aren’t getting any younger), and the wind. (Not the breaking kind. Okay, maybe a little of that too. Again, we’re not getting any younger.)

While the following isn’t something I’d normally be happy about, I do appreciate the fact that there are few large wild animals in Portugal, at least in the area where we live. Aside from the various insects, I’ve only seen an occasional jackrabbit and of course there are plenty of birds.IMG_5110 Okay, I did stumble across a badger once… and okay, maybe it was just roadkill (it still made me jump back a couple of steps- it was fresh and looked alive!), but a badger is definitely not an animal I want to meet without tire tracks running down its back.

Badgers are not something anyone should want to meet in the wild. In fact, the Narnia High School Graduating Class of 2015 voted Bennie Badger the Most Likely to Get Sentenced to Twenty Years to Life. They are mean, low to the ground, and have claws that would turn Scarface into Noface, even despite the gunfire from his “little friend,” because badgers are impervious to bullets. They also can leap the tallest ant mound in a single bound, and can defuse an atomic bomb in under three minutes, blindfolded. They’d also take on an elephant if one walked too close, or tried to start an argument about politics. Badgers are notoriously conservative, and elephants, as we all know, are extremely liberal. So while there may be no lions or tigers or bears, oh my! badgers are at the top of my list of things to avoid in Portugal.

But other than badgers, there aren’t many animals to be afraid of. Why is that good? Well, when you walk on those paths and find yourself all alone, armed with nothing but your wits and a cell phone, you appreciate the fact that there are no bears or cougars (or even younger women) or other predators hiding in the bushes ready to pounce. IMG_5138I don’t know if it’s because humanity has dominated the area for thousands of years or whether the fauna and proximity to the ocean just isn’t conducive to a lot of wildlife, but it makes me feel a little safer knowing that the only thing I have to worry about is falling to my death by accidentally stumbling over a cliff. Especially if I’m being chased by a tire-free badger.

In the end, the flora, fauna, and location of Portugal make it our país paradisíaco – paradise country!

But despite this wealth of riches, there is still one more thing… the thing we like best about Portugal!


Number Three of the Top Ten Things We Love About Portugal

3The Climate

Lisbon’s climate is defined as Subtropical-Mediterranean, and features short and very mild winters and then warm summers. They had me at Subtropical.

Its climate seems very similar to San Diego’s, often considered the city with mainland America’s best weather. The average annual temperature is about 70 degrees during the day, and 56 at night. It doesn’t get much below 50 degrees during the day even in January, and is classified as having Europe’s warmest winters. In those winters, Lisbon has about three times more sun duration than in the northern half of Europe. In August, the warmest month, it gets up to about 90, although it can certainly top weather

While you could make a case for Hawaii’s climate being true paradise, there’s something to be said for some variation and seasonality. Instead of 80 degrees year-round, we get a reprieve during the winter, and without having to deal with snow. The reprieve also provides a built-in reminder as to why you enjoy eight months of warmth and sunshine so much.

IMG_4765We’ve been able to go to the beach since April. We still have had bouts of rain, but as Oregonians, we actually think that’s pretty cool too. It just never seems to last more than three to four days, as opposed to the October-through-June drizzle of Oregon.

We’re especially fortunate to be living just outside of Sesimbra. So far we’ve seen some hot spells where Lisbon is about 4-5 degrees warmer. Plus we have a steady breeze due to both our proximity to the ocean as well as our being on a peninsula, where we’re virtually surrounded on three sides by ocean.

Pool failWhenever there’s a hot spell, we spend a lot of time in our pool. As we do so, we constantly marvel at how fortunate we are to be living in what can only be described as a permanent vacation. Sure, since we elect not to wear full-body sunscreen armor like the folks to the right, so our skin will probably age and get crinkled faster than if we were in rainy Oregon, and what little hair I have may get sun-bleached blonde… okay, maybe just from grey to white. But our goal isn’t to create nice-looking corpses. We’re having a great time, and the climate plays a big part in that.

Crinkled skin
Hopefully we’ll never quite this wrinkled.


As you can tell, we adore the climate, and that alone would keep us here. As it happens, there are two more things that we love even more about Portugal!