5 Things I Learned in Portugal

  1. It’s not illegal to have drugs.   I had about 8 different people try to sell me ‘Weed, hashish, cocaine?’ during the first 9 hours I was in Lisbon.  It’s still illegal to buy and sell drugs, or to use drugs I think, just not illegal to have them on your person.  There is a progressive drug policy in Portugal, they treat it as a health problem instead of a criminal problem.  The results have been good as fewer people are dependent now than before the law changed.  One bad side effect: drug dealers walk up to anyone they think might want some pot.  Since it’s not illegal to have drugs on you, they only have to worry about being caught selling them. FYI…this only happened to me in the main tourist section of downtown Lisbon.  There were no more drug dealer encounters the other 12 days I was in Portugal.
  2. The Portuguese people are really friendly (see Adega Winery for one example), especially if you attempt to speak in Portuguese.  Nobody knows Portuguese….Spanish speakers don’t.  The Italians?…No.  French?…Huh-uh.  So they loved me when I tried to use the 10 or so words I learned before arriving.
  3. Coimbra is an amazing city to walk through.  And the university on top of the hill is the icing on top of the cake.  And the local music is a treat to see in person!
  4. Real Port Wine (and Portuguese fortified wine in general) is really good!
  5. Two days in Sintra is not enough!  There are so many interesting and beautiful things to see in and around this hill town, to do it properly (without rushing) you need to set aside three days.
  6. Bonus thing I learned…Obidos is a destination gem many tourist’s go to but few spend more than several hours in. My advice…..go there.  Spend the night.  Enjoy!
    Flower in Path, Pena Park, Sintra
    Flower in Path, Pena Park, Sintra

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