December 14, 2008

Credit Crunch in Portugal by Numbers

The minimum monthly wage in Portugal before tax is 426 euros. The average monthly wage in Portugal is 804.22 euros.

The Global Competitiveness Index 2007-2008 placed Portugal in 40th position out of 131 nations.

Over 1 million pensioners survive on pensions of 300 euros a month.

Portugal has the second highest number of families with debt in the Euro Zone.

Portuguese companies were the most heavily-indebted in the Euro Zone in 2004.

Average growth rate in the 21st century is 1%.

The Portuguese Food Bank provides food aid for 67,000 people.

35 tons of food aid is distributed every weekday in Lisbon alone.

Unemployment was 7.3% in the second quarter of 2008.

December 13, 2008

Portugal Offer on Guantanamo

The Portuguese Foreign Minister, Luis Amado, has urged the EU to take in detainees from the US prison at Guantanamo, Cuba, in an effort to help close the detention center.

In his letter to the EU, Amado wrote:

"As a matter of principle and coherence, we should send a clear signal of our willingness to help the US government in that regard, namely through the resettlement of detainees."

Around 255 men remain at Guantanamo, the controversial prison incoming US President Barack Obama has promised to close.

November 9, 2008

Portuguese Bank of Business (BPN)

Portuguese Bank of Business (BPN) The Portuguese government proposes to nationalize the troubled Portuguese Bank of Business (BPN), which has amassed debts of 700 million euros.

Fernando Teixeira dos Santos, the Portuguese Finance Minister reassured the public that the government will guarantee deposits in BPN (Banco Português de Negócios).

Teixeira dos Santos also stated that the Portuguese government will inject four billion euros into the banking system to improve liquidity.

BPN, which posted net profits of 56.7 million euros last year, was accused of "operations of dubious legality" by Teixeira dos Santos.

Portugal's other big banks BCP, BES and BPI, announced they would seek state guarantees to fund lending activities.

Banco Português de Negócios

October 20, 2008

Portugal Masters Vilamoura

Spain's Alvaro Quiros won the Portugal Masters at Vilamoura by three shots on Sunday.

The Spaniard shot a 4-under par 68 in his final round to card a 19-under total of 269.

Former British Open winner Paul Lawrie was second after shooting a final round of 67.

Ross Fisher, Steve Webster and Sweden's Robert Karlsson were joint third.

The tournament was played at the Oceânico Victoria Golf Course - one of five golf courses at Oceânico, Vilamoura. The 18 hole championship course, par 72, was designed by Arnold Palmer and opened in 2004. The total distance is 6,560 metres (7,105 yards).

The course is located in the Algarve, midway between Faro and Albufeira.

Oceanico Golf Course
Oceânico Golf
Apartado 970
8126-912 Vilamoura
Tel: 00 351 289 310 333
Fax: 00 351 289 310 349

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October 2, 2008

National Geographic Portugal

This video, in Portuguese, from National Geographic has some stunning photography and interesting Portuguese backing music.

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October 1, 2008

September 19, 2008

Porto on YouTube

Porto in northern Portugal is the country's second city and a must see on any visit to Portugal. Here's a quick video guide on YouTube.

Books on Porto

Porto, Portugal

Lisbon on YouTube

See Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, on YouTube from a quick US perspective.

July 22, 2008

Portuguese Police

The Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP) is Portugal's police force and is deployed in mainly urban areas.

Portuguese Police

The PSP's duties include the preservation of public order, the prevention of general and organised crime as well as protection from terrorism, airport security and the security of diplomatic missions. PSP officers are generally armed with pistols.

Police car in Lisbon.

Dial 112 to contact the police in emergencies in Portugal.

Portuguese Police on Segways

The National Republican Guard (Guarda Nacional Republicana) or GNR is the national gendarmerie force of Portugal. Members of the GNR are military personnel and are subject to military law.

The GNR is responsible for the preventive police and highway patrol in the countryside and small towns of mainland Portugal. Large towns and cities and all the Portuguese islands territory (Madeira, The Azores) are patrolled by the PSP. The GNR has a force of about 26,000 officers and is also responsible for customs enforcement, control of Portugal's coastline, nature protection, search and rescue operations and state ceremonial duties.

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June 30, 2008

Ponte de Santa Clara Coimbra

The Ponte de Santa Clara spans the Rio Mondego in Coimbra and is the oldest of the three bridges crossing the river in the city. The Ponte Europa (Rainha Santa) and the Ponte de Acude are the other two bridges.


Image © Dias dos Reis

May 25, 2008

Portugal Adopts Brazilian Spelling

Portugal Adopts Brazilian Spelling.
Portugal's parliament has decided to adopt Brazilian spelling in the language in Portugal, the changes include adding three new letters k, w and y - to the alphabet, removing silent consonants and standardizing many spellings.

The changes will be gradually phased in over a period of six years.

The major Portuguese-speaking nations: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tome and Principe originally agreed to unify the language in 1991.

Portuguese is the world's 4th major language spoken by an estimated 250 people, with 189 million of them in Brazil.

April 21, 2008

Federer Wins Estoril

World number one Switzerland's Roger Federer won this year's Estoril Open when his opponent, Russia's Nikolay Davydenko was forced to withdraw with injury in the final, with Federer leading 7-6 (7-5), 1-2.

The weather had been cold and windy which may have contributed to Davydenko's muscle strain in the second set.

Federer duly won his first title of the season and the 54th of his career as he strives to win the French open on clay - the only Grand Slam to have eluded the world's best player.

In the womens' singles, Russia's Maria Kirilenko defeated Iveta Benesova from the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2.

Estoril Open

March 27, 2008

Jeronimos Monastery

The Jeronimos Monastery in Belem, Lisbon, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a masterpiece of Manueline architecture.

The monastery was built to commemorate the successful voyage of Vasco da Gama to the Indies and was begun in 1502. The monastery would take a further 50 years to complete.

Jeronimos Monastery

A number of architects worked on the project including Diogo de Boitaca, the Spaniard Joao de Castilho, Diogo de Torralva and Jerome de Rouen. Work finally finished in 1580 after a number of stops and starts due to financing problems.

Jeronimos Monastery
Praça do Império
1400-206 Lisboa
Tel: 021 362 00 34
October - April 10am - 5pm
May - September 10am - 6pm
Closed Mondays and some public holidays


Bus: #27, #28, #29, #43, #49, #51e #112
Streetcar: #15
Train: From Cascais or Cais de Sodré on the Cascais Line. Get off at Belem Station.
Ferry: From Porto Brandao on south side of the River Tagus to Belem.

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February 28, 2008


Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage listed site, continues to draw visitors to its historic center to marvel at the picturesque palaces, villas and gardens.


Only 45 minutes by regular train from Lisbon, Sintra makes a pleasant day-trip or half-day trip from the capital.

Places to visit include the royal Palacio National de Sintra (Tel: 219 106 840), the ruined Castel dos Mouros (Tel: 219 079 955) and the extravagant Qinta da Regaleira (Tel: 219 106 650).


Sintra is an excellent place to walk or bike and the town has some recommended cafes, restaurants and tea rooms if you decide to stay overnight and linger in Sintra's welcoming atmosphere.

January 23, 2008


Beatrice Bulteau is a world renown French artist based in Portugal.


Beatrice has exhibited her work in galleries around the world including Paris, Lisbon, San Francisco and Tokyo.

These unique azulejos (traditional Portuguese painted ceramic tiles) make superb gifts for the home or garden.

Size: 25 x 25 x 2cm (9.84 x 9.84 x 0.79 inches)

Packing: Each azulejos tile is presented in a blue velvet box.