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ONLY IN PORTUGAL

Once again, I had been absent for a bit.  Rushing, full of excitement to ride my horse for the first time in several months, I stopped at the motorway service station to fill up, and pick up a couple of bottles of water.  It was very hot.
 
At the moment in Portugal, there is a system on the motorways of paying for fuel in the shop, then returning to the pump to fill up the allotted amount. I paid, picked up my bottles and got back in the car.
 
I had a wonderful time with my horse, lunched and watched some training sessions, before leaving to return by the country route.  I was surprised to see the fuel-empty sign light up.  Had I not been at such a nice establishment, I might have thought that my tank had been drained!  Or that I had put the nozzle in the car, but not noticed that the fuel had not been delivered.
 
It was none of those things.  I had simply been too preoccupied and had got back in the car without filling up!
 
In true UK fashion, I immediately started reckoning on my chances of ever seeing my fuel/money again.  I had paid in cash!  At the next filling station, I put a small amount of fuel in the tank, enough to get me back home, and to the service station on the motorway the next day.
 
Armed with my receipt, I hoped to meet the same young man who had served me and spoke perfect English.  I thought I would need to do a lot of explaining.
 
Not so!  The older lady at the till looked at me with humour as I started to make my case in my long-winded fashion.  "How much was it?" she simply asked.  When I told her, she quietly slipped the exact amount of money across the counter, clipped by a paperclip to the shop copy of my receipt!
 
As I said, only in Portugal!!

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Horses, houses and Supermercados

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Horses, houses and Supermercados

I stopped off, as I usually do, on my way home from riding my horses, in a supermarket in a rural area.  This is something I have been doing for the last two years, in the time that I have owned my horses here.  I have to say, that Portuguese hospitality is such, that the shopping for the day usually only involves enough for a light supper, and not for two meals.  But if you arrived in the middle of the night, as I had, and still went to ride the next morning, (this is normal for slaves of horses), then getting home asap is on the cards, to catch up on sleep.  And, in the case of horse-slaves, to be better equipped to go back and fight another day!

I was inspired to put my experience down in writing, after having relayed it to a friend here.  It struck me, that it is worthy of note.

loja pituresca.jpeg

I had been absent for a bit, and the owner was at the check-out till.  They treat me like an old friend, and he likes to speak to me in French.  It pleases him, and it pleases me, for it gives us the chance to communicate, and practice our language skills.  I find that the Portuguese ability to speak more that their mother tongue is something that they are all proud of, and rightly so.

I bought a bottle of the wine I usually buy, and he suggested I might like to try a similar type which was produced by the local estates.  He fetched it for me, and gave me a bit about its provenance.  I could see that the exercise was as much customer orientated, as supplier supportive.

How community spirited is that.

Portugal is such a nice place to be.  The people are so friendly.  The Eurozone is in a dreadful state, and weaker members are hit the hardest, and hit first.  So it has been here.  Has it changed them?  Yes.  If anything, for the better.  The desire to pull together is very strong here, and a sense of common adversity makes itself felt.  And it binds them closer to each other.  They take care of each other.  And also of visitors!

Saude!

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