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Saturday, 20 March 2010

Oh Man, I need TV when I got TRex

We didn’t know much about Portugal before we came; we hadn’t found a book written by an ex-pat journalist or academic who had moved here for the good life and was keen to publish his thoughts on the ups and downs of life in this country on the edge of Europe. Consequently, Portugal keeps surprising us and often enchants us.

We have found out for ourselves that the Portuguese feel that the Spanish treat them as backward neighbours, they learn French and English at school, the country does not close down for three hours for siesta and people eat at what the British would consider reasonable hours. The Portuguese tile everything and prefer to build new houses, rather than live in a rustic cottage, all supermarkets smell like fishmongers, due to the amount of salt cod on sale, every café and restaurant has a TV switched on constantly, even if you go out for a meal in the evening.

This lack of fore-knowledge also means that we find tourist sights that were not on the must-see list. The dinosaur footprints near Tomar are an amazing treat, not even covered in our Church-obsessed Rough Guide. The Sauropod footprints are the oldest in the world and the best example; there are a number of tracks of different animals and you can clearly see the prints of their large back feet and smaller front feet. We paid two Euros each for the privilege of visiting the limestone quarry where these footprints were found in 1994; visitors are trusted to walk close to the tracks without damaging them, giving you an opportunity to have a good look. To see something so rare, made 175 million years ago and found by chance is an experience we will never forget. We don’t regret by-passing Rome, but overlooking these footprints would have been to miss an awesome experience that puts the present in to context and that we will never forget.


  1. These dinosaur prints look like a great find, I'd never heard of such a thing in Portugal! Our EU trip didn't make it to Portugal this time but hopefully in a few years we'll try again. If you like this sort of thing then a visit to the Petrified forest at Curio Bay on the South Island of New Zealand is a must. Slightly younger at 170m yrs but with resident Yellow eyed penguins cautiously wandering past.

    Enjoyed the blog and great photos!


  2. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your comments. Make sure you don't miss Portugal next time, everyone loves it. Not sure if we'll ever make it to NZ, it involves a lot of flying, but if we did we would certainly visit Curio Bay.

    Carol and Anthony