Being diplomatic: Portugal

By Daniel Silva

Diplomats tell us what Kiwis need to know about their homelands.

Daniel Silva recommends seeing Lisbon by day and by night ... and visiting the beaches of the Algarve. Photo / 123RF
Daniel Silva recommends seeing Lisbon by day and by night ... and visiting the beaches of the Algarve. Photo / 123RF

The thing you probably know about my country is: We make Port wine ...

But the thing you really should know is: We don't drink it that much; it is mainly exported. What we do enjoy a lot is a selection of some of the finest red wines in Europe and the very surprising green wine, a delightful white also known as Portuguese summer wine.

Over there, we think Kiwis are: Half of them are rugby players who poke their tongues out during an impressive war dance and the other half are hobbits who roam the best scenery in the world.

On a short visit, you should: See Lisbon by night and listen to a live Fado performance.

On a longer visit, you should: See Lisbon by day, take a river cruise up the Douro (Porto) and enjoy the magnificent beaches in the Algarve (southern coast).

Our national sport is: Football. More of a religion, really.

The one food thing you really should try is: Fresh charcoal-barbecued fish.

Make sure you avoid: Trains. Roads are way better.

The weather is: Beautiful. Summer goes on for months. Winter is short, sharp and wet, but not freezing. In spring and autumn, the countryside is at its most beautiful.

Best way to get around: Rent a car and enjoy the modern motorways. Lisbon taxis are cheap and the trams are cute.

A handy phrase you should know is: "Obrigado", which means "thank you".

Daniel Silva is the Honorary Consul for Portugal.

- NZ Herald

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