On the road I meet hundreds and hundreds of people, and some of them have already been to Portugal.
– I want to go back there! I loved the people, the weather, and the food! I loved everything!
– It is my favourite country so far!
– I want to live there!
These were some of the comments I heard whenever someone knew that I am Portuguese. They were sincere words; they didn’t say that to be polite. I saw and felt it.
To the others, the many others who have never been to Portugal and didn’t even know much about my country, I spoke as proudly as a father who has the best child in the world, and to who doesn’t matter what his child does, it’s always more and better than the other children. From the beaches to the hinterland and the villages to the cities, about climate and gastronomy, everything!
To be honest, the truth is that I only know a little about Portugal. I always thought about exploring much more of my country, but it never happened. I knew the north of Portugal is beautiful because of the pictures I had seen on the internet, I knew that the people are more welcoming than in the south or even Lisbon because many tourists had told me that, I knew the food are different because everyone says it but unfortunately I had never been up to the north to experience all of that, it was just my fault.
Last September all that changed. Everything began with a wedding invitation! A good friend from high school, Daniel, got married in Mondim de Basto, close to the Spanish border.
I was so happy about the invitation and along with Sahar I went to explore a little bit of the north of Portugal. For ten days a Ford Transit van served as our campervan! We went up through the interior and we came back home all the way by the coast. In total we did more than 1400 km. We drove through Óbidos, Casal de São Simão, Piodão, Pinhão, Vila Real, Mondim de Basto, Gerês, Aveiro, Nazaré and many other cities/villages. It was an amazing journey. From sleeping at river beaches with no one around, to meeting and spending time with people from the villages who are genuinely friendly. The bread and the cheese were delicious! The narrow roads with nothing more than wild landscapes around are stunning, and for many km we didn’t pass any other vehicle. Guimarães the city where Portugal was born and Porto were two cities that I loved.
I need to mention the joy that I felt being at my friend’s wedding with other friends and Sahar. It was awesome being with all of them there.
After these ten days my goal is to explore more of this beautiful country. I have no doubt that is one of the most amazing countries in the world! Now more than ever I will play the role of the father whose child is better than the others!