GO THERE: PORTUGAL
Nuzzled betwixt 43 and 37 degrees north of the equator, Portugal gets all kinds of swells from all kinds of angles, and enjoys a prolonged summer/autumn phase and relatively short winter.
Ruben Gonzalez loves his Portugal and his Portugal loves him back! Photos: Ricardo Bravo.
WHEN TO GO?
For surfing tournaments! Portugal is the natural south-bound wander for October/ Nov, after the Quik Pro France has wound up and that obtuse cold front has pissed on the Aquitaine coast’s parade. Head south and west to Portugal, where The Moche Rip Curl Pro and the Portuguese Waves Series Prime are waiting for you, legs akimbo!
WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT?
Nuzzled betwixt 43 and 37 degrees north of the equator, Portugal is your most southerly, Atlantic-facing mainland European nation. It gets all kinds of swells from all kinds of angles, and enjoys a prolonged summer/autumn phase and relatively short winter. East winds are offshore and the best-ist. North (nortada) is the devil. But, the drink is colder than you might imagine. I guess it’s all kind of relative according to where you come from, but summer water temps are considerably cooler than France, although winter ones milder. The cross-over probably happens sometime in November. This is due to the Canaries current, a south-flowing branch of the North Atlantic Drift. because this current is heading south and then back out to sea (divergence), it causes upwelling, which makes it cold, but also great for...
If you love fish, and let’s face it, most of you fuckers do, then Portugal is like you’ve died and gone to heaven (hell from their point of view). Peniche, as we all know, is sardine capital of the universe, but there’s literally all sorts of scaley stuff to eat. Now if you feel like getting all autonomous and shit, get some fishing tips of your own.
DID U SAY PAR-TAY...?
Portugal pleases party people profusely. While these Portugeezers aren’t perhaps as famous as their Spanish neighbours for their love of late nights, they secretly love it just as much! You’ll find all sorts of going out pozzies from your cheesy surf hair and beard vibes to ultra slick hip city clubs, and much between. They don’t mind a VIP area and a b, C and D-list celebrity, those Portugeezers! Clubs can be mega-pricey so try to get your liquid groove on afore ye go.
WHAT IF SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS?
Bring your EHIC card and you’ll be alright; Portugal being part of the EU, you can get patched up at hozzy or the quack’s no probs. Watch out for thieving from cars, which just like anywhere, can happen. And don’t buy street drugs in places like Lisbon’s bairro alto unless you want to part with top dollar for drugs with no actual drug in them. And of course because they’re bad for you.
WILL THE LOCALS BE MEAN TO ME?
At certain spots, they might be a bit... solemn, just like anywhere. but in general, you’re alright. Remember: Like the Canaries, boogieboarding is considered normal in Portugal, even amongst adult males, even ones who are like, 40 years old! I don’t know why you need to remember that, but hey.
MUST DO/DON’T DO
The Portuguese excel at languages but that’s no excuse for being lazy. Try to get some phrases going and you’ll have a better trip. Remember: it’s not Spain. Throwing a ‘gracias’ at em is a bit like calling a Glaswegian, ‘English’... not cool. J is said ‘J’ like in English not like ‘H’ as it is in Spanish. Hence it’s fucken Jose Mourinho, not Hose, dig? It’s also worth noting that the Portuguese never, ever insult each other. Seriously, nobody has ever called someone a ‘fucking stupid fucking cunt face cunt’. It just doesn’t happen. They do get animated when they talk though.
You can fly Easyjet to Lisbon and Porto from Gatwick for around £150 return, or Ryanair to Faro and Porto from Manchester for slightly less. If you drive down from France via the conventional route (Vitoria, burgos, Valladolid, Club Jamaica), it’ll take about 8 1/2 hours from biarritz to Ericeira, or around 10 hours to Sagres, and will cost about 100 Euros in fuel and tolls, depending on your donk.