Howard and I had the most fabulous time in both Spain and Portugal! We never tired of the beautiful architecture, the scenery, whether it was a city, countryside, ocean, mountains...it was all incredible!
Hopefully some day we'll be back!
At the beginning I was wondering if I'd want to go back to Mexico (Barcelona is so beautiful) but by the end I really appreciated Mexico - the people, the food, the Joy!
We learned an important lesson - end your long trip with 3-4 days relaxing in just one place (the Algarve Coast would have been nice), next time!!!
We made some interesting observations -
1. Very pedestrian friendly, unfortunately you feel like you're going to get hit because they stop about 1foot before you, but they do stop! It takes some getting used to.
2. They are more environmentally minded - huge recycling bins sit outside on corners for you to bring down your trash and sort your recyclables.
3. We didn't really see obese people even though they eat a lot of carbs.
4.They smoke a lot (maybe that explains #3 above).
5. More energy conscious then the US - they use a lot of Florescent Light bulbs, lights in public restrooms were all on timers (sometimes way too short)
6. People in Barcelona very closed, cold, dry.........whatever! Especially noticeable in the restaurants!
7. The AVE, fast train was fabulous and so much easier then boarding a Plane!
1.People a lot friendlier than Spain.
2. Lisboa reminded us of Mexico, neighborhood parties, many religious processions celebrating one Saint or another.
3. Tuna spread was served with Bread and Butter before your meal, along with olives etc.
4. You were charged for everything you ate, even 1 Olive ****this was also true in Spain.
5. Gas was $8.50 a gallon -Fiche - Wow, in Portuguese!
6. The highways were extremely well designed from the toll booths, on ramps etc., very modern!
7. They smoke a lot too, I guess all Europeans do
8. Drivers here are crazy, they drive very fast right up to your tail, flash lights - they appear out of nowhere!
9. Driving up and down the country we really had a new appreciation for Fast Food, we had none and we missed them. They do serve a purpose sometimes!
Both Countries: Average lunch was $30 and we're not talking great food, the Wine and Beer were the cheapest. All cars are small, Barcelona is the #1 city in Europe for Motorcycle, Scooter use!
Funny how we don't frequent Starbucks and/or Fast Food places in the US but they saved us many times in Spain and Portugal.
Europeans in general are not as courteous as Americans - we were surrounded by tourist from all over Europe and we noticed they don't say excuse me, sorry, push to get by you etc. I understand its a Cultural Difference but its hard not to notice.
A sad observation - we really have become generic in our clothing, you could not tell the difference between someone from the US, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia etc, we all now dress alike ;(, the styles are the same everywhere!