Ever been to Europe?
Thought about Portugal?
The least touristed Western European country, is also the most inexpensive. No really, people AREN'T talking about it, although I had not actually tested this prior to titling my post... just search Twitter for "Portugal" 95% of the posts are in Portuguese. Search Twitter for France or Spain... and everything you see is written in English.
So other than the fact that Portugal is a fairly undiscovered destination (ironic, seeing as how the Portuguese were the first great pioneers of navigation) , why go?
In winter, the weather in Lisbon (the Portuguese capital) is more than pleasant. Which in all honesty, is the main reason my family thought about visiting in the first place. What a lucky mishap that turned out to be...
Walking around Lisbon has a special charm. The lack of tourists allows one to truly feel like they are experiencing something completely new and different. No matter how far away a place is, or how exotic the fauna may be, load an area up with 3000 kiosks selling touristy chatzky's and it suddenly becomes just like... well... any other foreign exotic place with 3000 kiosks selling tourists chatzky's. Lisbon has a very authentic feel, staying in an apartment rather than a hotel can help with this too, that I must save for another post however.
Sounds, Tastes and Miradouros!
Stop to look over the Meditterranean -esque buildings at one of the Miradouro's or lookouts.
If you don't like to eat fish, you should probably stop reading this article now... or atleast read it knowing that you should never actually go to Portugal. The good news: most restaurants have many options... The bad news: all of these options involve a big filet of fish as the main course, with an accompaniement of potatos and maybe a salad. I personally find it delicious! Specialties like octopus and barnacles are available too. The most popular of the fish specialities is the bacalhau, dried salt cod. It is said that this can be prepared some 300 ways.
In various dinner restaurants, you can sit in on a Fado performance, fado is a very melancholy almost opera like genre, very specific to Portuguese culture.
Alright, this was enough Portugal for one evening... but I will be bringing you further detail in later articles :)
my Portugal pictures are all taken by me! Some can be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/11693731@N07/