welcome to emmas housethought

moving in

They say moving house is one of life’s more stressful experiences. We are doing it for the second time in a month.


It’s tretas anyway. Stressful. I’ll give you stressful.

Emma’s Top Five Stressful Life Experiences:

1. Realising you don’t have your passport at check-in.
2. Losing a very large chunk of money in a global financial crisis.
3. Your dog chasing the neighbour’s herd of sheep into the forest during a hailstorm while you are houseminding.
4a. Your dog getting run over by your neighbour and then the neighbour asking for the money to fix his headlights.
4b. Your other, smaller, cuter dog going missing in mysterious circumstances
5. Building a house together in your first year of marriage

(and a more sincere note, the death or illness of a close friend is very stressful and working with toxic people or in a toxic workplace is too, but that’s all behind me now)


Moving is just packing stuff, and I do love to parcel. I am a meticulous packer and am very good at chucking stuff out, like my mother. Like my father, The One is a bit of a hoarder and packs haphazardly… in that Get it Done way that I aspire to.

The reason I’m such a careful packer is that I once lost three bottles of good french wine in a move. The wine was bought in acutely sentimental circumstances; the last good moments at the end of a relationship, wine tasting in France. I had to move in a hurry: my new flatmate’s friends were homicidal maniacs and I had recruited friends to help me escape. When I arrived at my parent’s house and opened the esky that the wine was travelling in, the contents resembled my bloodied and broken heart. One of those scarring symbolic moments you never forget.


I will miss the lovely village where we’ve been living. Wookie will miss it even more. He has run free with his gang of chums for a year, and we now return to Cú de Judas where all the dogs are chained up, except for the one that bites :-/ Oh how I lecture them about the uselessness of a chained dog as security (he can hardly bite the legs off an intruder), and how none of us will jump up and check on the house if their dog is barking because their dog never stops barking day or night and what’s the need for security anyway? Is this New York? Is this Redfern? And what are these criminal gangs going to steal? Around here, it is the dog itself which is most likely to disappear …


In the last week we went to considerable effort installing gates and some fencing so that Wookie could have a piss outside without hurting anyone’s feelings. Day one and he’s already found a way out. I don’t know why I worry so much about upsetting my cruelty-to-animal neighbours anyway. Maybe if my dog actually gets a goat (the dog which had never caught a mouse) they might consider the wild idea of fencing their livestock…? At this stage I still have no real hope that he will catch a goat, as he is too busy wooing them as playmates, parked in my yard as they are.


Enough pontificating. I have somewhat less interesting things to say about logistics. Our belongings have been divided between five different locations. Mattresses on one side of the mountain, sofas and chairs on the other side, in someone’s garage, I know not where exactly. Some cookware in the annexe, some pet food in the ruin. Presently we have a very random selection of stuff in a pile around us, which does not include the electric frypan, bed sheets or towels but does include stuff for the Miranda boot sale sometime in March. By my calculations we have been using the same doona cover since mid October and The One is still devoted to his Qantas pyjamas which in daylight hour-terms means he has been wearing the same clothes for a more than a month. And we don’t care.


We do have a stunning bathroom although there’s still cement stuck to the floor. And the woodburner is worth the very last scrap of money I had to my name, although the fireplace needs another coat of paint. I can work wonders with only a microwave (The One reckoned Christmas Day’s prawn korma was one of the best ever). We have internet for the day and movies for the night. We are broke but we are rich.


We are in at last and the pets are very happy.


all hands on deck

Nothing destroys the memory of a holiday better than filthy labouring with a monstrous deadline looming and the money running out. Stress, it’s called. Mega stress.

But so it was, these last few weeks. I gathered up all the stray workers I could find and set about making the place slightly more hospitable than just a shed with a million dollar fireplace. We were moving in before Christmas and no santa could stop us.


While the most obvious thing was getting the doors and windows hung, the scene was a train crash of competing priorities. Putting a finish on the new floor and oh god what colour, keeping mud out of the house and off that newly sealed floor (forget the dark stain I had in mind all along and go for linseed oil, no worries thanks tango). Finishing the never finished ceiling, because, like, when would I next have the chance to erect scaffolding in the living room. The hallway had to be dug up and redone because it ended up being lower than the outside, and that stuffed up the doorway height to the bathroom which I had tried to make tall-husband accessible. Two old leaks had continued to flourish despite the new roof, so we had to seal up and re-render a section of the outside, replace some roof tiles, and add a new strip of tiles to properly drain away the offending water trap. And so on. And on. And on.


So many absurd distractions! Our old furniture wouldn’t fit, but there’s no money left for everything new. Where would we sleep? Living room or office? The stairs, the hatch-door, he says no, I say yes. Skirting boards on curved walls? How will I cook? Instead of getting a good night’s sleep I’m up redesigning the kitchen and fantasising about the perfect solution and not the fast one. Again I find myself chanting: Get it Done. Don’t Make it Perfect, Just Get it Done.


Och aye, there’s the plumbers. Three weeks before going to Australia I hired these two clowns calling themselves plumbers and gave them the benefit of the doubt for their first few appearances. No, they did not want to do the plumbing as previsioned by the builder, no they would not be insulating the pipes as I asked but yes they would be giving me a tap there and a mess there and fiddling about with the electricians work exactly as I had not requested. I should have fired them then but who else was there? In Act Two, with the director off sunning herself down under, instructions with colour diagrams in two languages were left with amply capable and qualified male friend with translating woofer. The bath had to be installed so. Não. This is what the client wants and this is what we do. Não. Não and não. So the bath is not level, the bath is not insulated and the bath has no inspection hatch. And the work is not finished. And still not finished two weeks later, which adds up to 12 days of work on a bathroom of 10m2. Clearly they are pulling my leg, and even more sharply when they try going back on our already extortionist €15/hr agreement by asking for €120 per day, each, same for the guy who did nothing and same for the kid. And that’s being paid for the one-and-three-quarters lunch breaks. And the travel. Ha ha.


Well yes, silly me: one for not wising up on day one, two for paying them way over the going rate, three for letting it go on so long, four for letting them touch someone else’s work (“I’m an electrician too”, they said). Anyway, I’m pretty sure Laurel and Hardy weren’t prepped for negotiating with an ex-producer with a ledger alleging every minute they had spent smoking fags and drinking coffee. Nor a list, long, of complaints about work badly done, not done or done at the expense of other’s people’s work. And how about the taps not being centred at the end of the bath? A mockery!

I love arguing in Portuguese. It’s too easy to ignore everything the other party says and unprovoked, return to the bottom line of the argument: The work was not done as I had instructed. If it had been, I’d be happy and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Pure and simple. Not negotiable.


So they were paid what I had agreed to, with a solatium (word of the day on Thesaurus.com). But the inconvenience didn’t stop with their departure. The toilet leaked. The sink leaked. The drains blocked up. The electrics were so badly mangled that the electrician wasted a day just figuring out what was going on. Much griping between the workers about a lack of respect, lying, cheating non-professionals who brag about beating their wives on site! I wish I’d been there to hear that one, and he would’ve been beaten off site, smartly.

So, people, plumbers from Vilarinho? Run. Away. Run. Far. Away.


After the others had mostly recovered from the plumbing trauma, it was time for me to really lose the plot. I shouted, screamed, cried and abused everyone who came near me. The One copped it the worst. I was horrible. Stress gets me in the guts, and the guts got me good. I made myself very ill indeed. They say that renovating is stressful, y’know. They say it’s hard on marriages, y’know. I recall a dear friend whose husband was building their house right under them. She was fed up with the dust, the dirt, her mate being exhausted, being shut out and left with the kids. How ungrateful, I thought, he’s building you a damn house! But now I know, and she has my sympathy. I am fed up with dust, I am fed up with dirty, sore hands, of the bruises and cuts. I am totally fed up with renovating. I cannot see people’s help for what it is, and I can no longer think straight. It is time to stop.


The windows and doors went in, the switches turned lights on and the preposterously luxurious woodburner got it’s fans going. The place was habitable, and come Christmas Eve, we set about moving in.



No posts since 30 September? I think it was around that time I stupidly thought we would move into the house before going to Oz for 3 weeks in November. Ha ha. October was a month of bedlam: frantic house building like the umpteenth coat of interior render, intense fiddling with the windows, watching the painfully slow progress of the plumbers, cars breaking down, friends I haven’t seen for 15 years visiting… My random lists of to do things ran roughshod over genuine priorities with the delusions of a stressed out mess head: finish first window, change banks, vacuum sofa, make door frames, fix washing machine, cut doors, get cat food, clean mattress, buy tracksuit, paint bath ceiling, die.


Thus somehow we arrived at Coimbra train station with 60 kilos of luggage and The One desperate for a pee. Train arrives, train departs, husband returns from men’s room. We buy new tickets for the next train which might get us to the check-in in the nick of time, with the kind cooperation of a taxi driver on speed. Once this feat was accomplished, Emma discovers she has no passport. Of the hundreds and hundreds of flights I have caught in my little life and it has to be this one: a great gorgeously generous gift from my sister-in-law to surprise my brother on his 50th birthday. This flight could not be missed. This could not be happening.

I’ll spare you the next half hour of head exploding panic in its gruesome detail. The passport was located, a new seat found for me on the next flight (lucky, lucky) and husband sent forward to Frankfurt on the existing ticket. Good friends, who will drive your passport to you two and a half hours away, are the most important thing in the world. And yes, I am your slave for life. Anyway, a couple of valium and several hundred kilometres later and The One and I were boarding our Qantas flight for Sydney only to discover we’d been downgraded.


Two more valium later and we arrived in Old Sydney Town and to husband’s delight we were picked up in a caramel butter-coloured Maserati. Even I had to restrain myself from licking the upholstery. It set the tone really for what would be three weeks of luxy decadent bliss, oh except for the sanding painting cleaning & repairing part. Let’s skip that story for now and start with the champagne-museum-of-contemporary-art-party-overlooking-sydneyharbourbridge-and-opera-house… in full jetlag, it was quite surreal.

The first thing The One did on his holiday was get a new girlfriend. Every time I turned my back they were in bed together. It got a bit embarrassing when our dear hostess would wonder where the hell her cat was and would search all the usual hiding places like sock drawers, lumps of washing and inside the hi-fi speakers, only to find that the guest was bed-hogging her, like, again. The thing with the Burmese is they have a supersonic sense of who is most likely to get horizontal regularly, and The One smells like an immanent lie-down.


So then we spent a week of surveying the damage to my other property asset abroad. Tenants, mate. Can’t pay mortgage without them, can’t kill ’em. Broken leg on coffee table, sofa, and dining table, filth smeared from aft to fore, damage to this and that and a charming hole punched into a wardrobe door. So we filled sanded painted repaired and cleaned in sensational 37º heat, when we should have been at the beach, hanging out with friends, visiting mom, or lying around with the cat. Sorry darling. Nice holiday. Not.

Fortunately our hosts (oh let’s be frank. You remember tinyartdirector? Well she’s my sister and we are staying with her) had some sense and whisked us away for an enviable long weekend which looked like this:


Some whales dropped by for our appreciation. And hung around for three days smashing their tails on the water and mucking about. Priceless. I know it sounds coy but whales really are something special. They are so damn big and out of our league, you can’t help but gobblesmacked by them. We certainly were. Better than tele.


The One insisted on seeing kangaroos in the wild. We got dressed, packed our hats and sunscreen and even locked the door of the timber shack holiday house such was the anticipation of the hunt. An extremely short drive later, there were half a dozen roos posing for our photos, racing the Volvo and just staring us out as if to say yeah, take the pictures and bugger off, would ya?

There’s no doubt about it, kangaroos are funny animals. Firstly they look funny. And like camels, they have attitude. A sort of, what do you want, yeah come as close as you want I couldn’t give a toss and now I’m bored of you, type attitude. They are one of those rare animals who is firmly in control of the situation. Piss me off and I’ll kick your arse. They are cool.


So. Whales, tick. Kangaroos, tick. Savage sunburn on pommy skin, tick. Prawns on the barbie, naturally.


But then as some people have to work, we returned to Sydney and yet another week of culinary sensations. Thai, Japanese, quality beef, real lamb, Pacific Ocean fish and even bacon and eggs on damper breakfast at 3pm. My superfluous sister-in-law had also remembered our wedding anniversary (who is this woman and why can’t we all marry her) and sent us off to The Best Restaurant in The World, Tetsuyas. Extraordinary. Unforgettable. Quite difficult to find the words for its awesomeness, other than, say, perfect.


Somewhat staggered by everyone’s generosity towards us we loaded up our trunks and headed, sadly, for the airport. We did not want to come home, not one little bit. Not to winter, not to house building, not to the pressing need to make a living out of an oily rag.

And we wouldn’t be flying if they wasn’t some sort of industrial action impeding our trip. Qantas on the way over (CEO of which is a dipshit) and now a Portuguese general strike on the return trip. I am a card carrying socialist but I reckon the strike cost me way more than it cost Paulo Passos Coelho. Not to mention my sister-in-law. I’m sure the general strike in Portugal really changed her mind on a few policies.

Thus a day or two were endured in the most boring city on Earth, Frankfurt. And jetlag and minus 1º centigrade do not agree with me. Christmas Markets still do not charm me. The German language does not charm me. Sausages and Gluhwein make me puke. Just get me home, oh god, where there are some little fur-people waiting for me.



it’s not easy being green


I am walking the path of many idealistic owner-builders.  You want to use environmentally kind products, you do not want to create waste, you do not want to destroy the landscape and in the end you want to build a healthy, sustainable, carbon neutral home that either creates its own energy or uses very little.

It’s not only about the Earth, as low impact living has an enormous economic advantage. You spend less (or even nothing) on electricity, gas & water; your heating requirements are greatly reduced and your organically grown vegetables are free & healthier. That’s all great, except when it comes to paying the initial outlay. My green dreams began to fade once the global financial crisis had eaten my self invested personal pension. Suddenly solar power, central heating, double glazing and superinsulation are luxuries I can no longer fit into the budget. But why should it be so? green-1

WHY IS SOLAR HOT WATER SO EXPENSIVE IN THIS COUNTRY? Why the hell is solar, and photovoltaic systems in particular, in any country, priced to prohibit them being a standard installation? We have the technology, it’s just that the government does not want to give it to us. Looking at solar in Portugal for a moment: the most prominant products are the same ugly things Australians were putting on their rooves 40 years ago, and yet Germany, that partner in the European Union, has state of the art systems and the highest implementation of them in Europe (or is that the world, I can’t remember).  AND IT’S NOT EVEN VERY SUNNY THERE.

And Portugal’s attempt at a grant scheme for solar hot water installation was so flawed, supplying only particular products through selected suppliers and running the rebates through the banks – what a comedy of corruption, and what an abysmal failure.

SO I ASK – WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD? Isn’t it about time governments realised that it is good business to be green? That there is an enormous demand for the science community to improve the technology for a demanding marketplace and a dying planet? Why not think a little Chinese for a second and work out how many millions are to be made by the manufacturer and distributor of the cheapest domestic sustainable energy supplier, say something under $1000 with a lifetime warranty?

Where is the regulation of distributors? The products themselves do not, as is widely believed, cost a lot to manufacture. It’s the distributors who are responsible firstly for the inadequate supply of quality products and the ramping of prices. Again, slack governments failing to prioritise an area of industry: a lack of ethics on part of government and of the distributors themselves. Haven’t we seen this all before with the pharmaceutical industry?


Everyone says “it’s because governments make so much money from fuel taxes” or “it’s because the oil companies are the most powerful beings in the universe”. Bullshit. Oil is an endangered species. Coal is an endangered species. Finding solutions for alternative energy is the most pressing problem facing all governments – unless of course they are so weak that their only focus is the next election.

WELL WE CAN SEE FARTHER THAN THAT. And most of us reading this live in democracies. I say OUT with any government who does not have strong environmental policies that cast into the future, fund scientific development, engage manufacturers and distributors and deliver real incentives, as in govt or tax rebates, to convert the masses to alternative energy. In return we will consume less, save more, live longer, healthier and more productive lives and not send same government running to the IMF for handouts.


Be cynical as you may, but I still believe in personal responsibility, in human rights, in the fundamental knowledge we all possess of what is just, for all of us and for the Earth we live on. I believe in people having ethical integrity whose wealth and power can rise above the rationalisation of economy, of political process, and of personal greed. A worldwide movement exists which is propelled not by consumption but by sustainability. It is not just about pollution and carbon emissions and beaching whales. It is about the burgeoning realisation that capitalism is a failure, that democracy needs a kick up the arse, and the only way forward economically for the world is to halt consumption, build community and for each person to live self sufficiently, collaboratively and ultimately, peacefully.


I have not given up on my pursuit of green. I’ve used lime instead of cement wherever its engineeringly viable. I’ve recycled clay, stone and timber, I have double insulated the house. I’ve put in a grey water system which diverts everything except toilet and bidet deep into the lawn and I’ve got a sensationally massive 1000L rainwater tank for the horta. The house has passive solar conditions, is cross ventilated, and I’ll have one woodburner and A+ only appliances eventually. Two shopping bags of waste a day are sent to the bin (chiefly full of jaffa cake biscuit wrappings, the site’s favourite) but other than that no construction waste has left my place for landfill. I’m quite proud of that bit.

But to the future. I am steadfast on minimising electric and gas and yet there’s no way I’ve got the money for a solar-plus-recuperador-de-calor set up. The solar part is so tragic, that despite being “sunny Portugal” you cannot rely on it all year round – six months perhaps, because the cheaper systems available here are reliant on sunshine and not light.


Hence, my solution has been brought to me by the excellent people of Raiz Verde, one of the very few alternative energy companies in Portugal with a palpable level of integrity, and not one of those who want to sell you overpriced obsolete technology and a whole lot of bullshit. I remember a funny conversation with a guy in such an alternative energy shop who had no faith in reflective foil insulation because “the light can’t get into the air space between the bricks”… if you can’t differentiate between light and heat then perhaps you’re in the wrong business?

Anyway Raiz Verde has offered me the Sunpack heat exchanger system at a drastically generously reduced price and it would be criminal of me not to go for it. It is such a sexy system, so simple, and slightly beyond my comprehension. This is what it’s all about (straight from their website I confess):

A simple principle and an efficient way of using energy from the sun, the wind and the rain. The SunPack Heat Pump works on a thermodynamic principle and is based on the use of an evaporator panel. This panel captures the free energy which exists in direct and diffuse solar radiation, the rain and the wind. The energy is then transferred to a heat exchanger in the storage tank, heating the water inside at a cost approximately a fifth that of conventional systems.


The evaporator panel is fixed on the outside, capturing energy in the form of direct solar and / or diffuse solar, wind, rain and air. The panel extracts the available energy in the environment, the refrigerant in the panel boils and returns to the compressor as gas, where the heat is extracted and passed to the body of stored water via a high efficiency heat exchanger. Once the heat from the gas has been extracted, the gas returns to its liquid form as it cools and the process repeats, bringing the body of stored water to the desired temperature. With a power consumption of only 390W, the system can provide water at between 55ºC and 60ºC all year round, 24 hours per day, even on rainy days in the winter. Given that most of the energy is harnessed from nature, up to 80% of all the hot water obtained is free, which will significantly reduce your energy bill.

From me all it requires is the space for the cylinder, as in a new small enclosure attached to an existing shed and a space above the vines for the panel. It’s a beautiful thing. But even at the wonderful price of $1750 plus tax and transport and stuff, it is still outside my budget. So I’m appealing to you all who visit emmashouseinportugal.com, who’ve enjoyed the story and the journey, to make a little donation, and to do what is good and what is right, and to help me to fulfill my promises.

There’s a supportbutton to the right and below.

With huge thanks to Simon Sharp for his expertise and input.

are portuguese drivers the worst in the world?

The Greeks drive with one hand on the horn and the other hand on their horn. Bangkok is bedlam. Cairo is chaos.

One of the first things a foreigner notices about Portugal is just how bad the drivers are, and how many accidents you see. It’s a talking point amongst us, and if you think this is just a bit of Portugal bashing, you’re wrong. It is a deadly serious issue.

Driver behaviour and in turn, road fatalities, shape the reputation of a country. Do we think of Greeks and Italians as hotheaded, Germans as aggressive and volvo drivers (or Scandinavians) as boring and safe? The individual who drives dangerously endangers the lives of others. In the main the victims are men: 75% of road deaths are male and under 35. Road fatalities are a meter of a “civilisation”. Responsible governments improve roads and have campaigns to reduce road deaths.


2009 data - blue is the EU average

So what’s wrong with Portuguese driving?

1. Extremes of speed – it seems half the country is driving way too fast and the other half way too slow.

2. Tailgating.

3. Failing to indicate.

4. Failing to Give Way.

5. Lack of understanding of how to use a roundabout. It doesn’t help that the country is built on roundabouts of multiple lanes, totally superfluous given the size of the population. Whatever happened to good old fashioned traffic lights? Even a three year old knows that green is for go and red is for stop.

I’ll bury the lead right now and say that statistically speaking, the Portuguese are definitely not the worst drivers in the world. You are far more likely to be killed on the roads of Africa and the Middle East, no where more so than in Libya, Niger and the United Arab Emirates. Not even within the EU does Portugal look bad. Almost all the Eastern European EU newcomers have more fatalities.

Of course not just driving skills are responsible for road deaths. The quality of the roads and the age and safety of cars obviously have a part to play. However, neither of these factors explains why Portugal does fair badly compared to Spain, France or Western Europe generally. Here’s a rough summary, including a few other places for interest’s sake:


2010 data

Only Greece lives up to its reputation – I’d never have guessed that the Belgians or the Poles were raging petrol heads, but there you are. As for the US, well that’ll be just another shame.

Now to Portugal. Actually Portugal is doing very well to reduce what used to be a truly horrific record. It has the greatest reduction in deaths in the EU over the last 10 years. Still, every life is worth saving and it does give a country something to be proud of. Given the economic disaster Portugal finds itself in right now, I can’t imagine that road deaths are really on the government’s mind. But it should be, because as other countries have discovered, traffic policing not only brings down fatalities but it is a nice little revenue earner. Here’s how it works:

Road accidents cost about 1 -3% of a country’s GDP. So in Portugal’s case a mere 1% equal €1.8 BILLION euros. Oh yeah. As I said, let’s reduce traffic accidents.


About half of all fatal accidents involve drunk drivers. Let’s start there. In a google search about effective policing to reduce road fatalities the state of Victoria in Australia got a mention in several places.

In 1977, 49% of all drivers killed in Victoria were found to be in excess of 0.05% (alcohol in the blood in a blunt sense). By 1992 that figure had been reduced to 21%. What the government did was set up an independent body called the Transport Accident Commission, which took over the governance of compulsory third party insurance, paid by drivers. They raised the levies on third party which helped to pay for some of the most exceptional TV commercials of the time. Then they programmed the random breath testing units run by police on the streets. It rested on the principles that it be highly visible; rigorously enforced so as to ensure credibility; was sustained; and well publicised. The success of the programme to reduce drink driving in that state spread to other states. These days, if you drink and drive you can expect to be caught.


2009 stats

TAC´s second agenda was to reduce speeding, which they believe was accountable for about 40% of fatal crashes (in the UK it is apparently believed to be about 5% and elsewhere on the internet about 30% – but obviously you’re better off hitting something doing 15kms/hr than 150kms/hr if it’s survival you have in mind). Along with their blanket quality advertising campaigns, the widespread implementation of speed cameras, red light cameras and police radar got them profound results.


a little message from the netherlands

Victoria achieved record low road tolls in both 2008 and 2009, some of the most impressive reductions in the world at that time. Newspaper reports credited a co-ordinated and well-funded campaign that focused on higher risk young drivers, more aggressive policing, increased police activity, random breath testing, and in 2009, a 50% increase in the use of mobile speed cameras.

The Victoria government forecasts that a revenue of A$245 million (about €176.5 million euros, from a population of 5.5 million) will be raised from fines levied on drivers breaking Victorian road rules, a large proportion being from speed limit enforcement, in 2011.

I’m not advocating a police state, and there’s been quite a bit of argument against the use of speed cameras, especially in the UK. But for a country where speeding is obviously a major issue, I can only see speed cameras doing some good. As for government revenue, in New South Wales, Australia (pop. 7.2 million) the government were reported to have raised $350 million (€252 million euros) over the previous five years from speed cameras.

If you’ve got an ethical issue with cameras then why not go the way of France who in some areas prosecute drivers for speeding using an average speed calculated from timestamps on toll road tickets.


2009 data

Like Victoria, there’s room for revenue raising in Portugal from compulsory third party insurance, which is comparatively low in Portugal. Larger vehicles especially seem to get a disproportionately easy run. If you’ve happened to look at caravan insurance quotes over summer you’ll know what I mean. I’m a firm believer in penalising commercial trucks too, for their carbon emissions as well as being a greater danger on the roads than other vehicles.

So there you are. If you think the Portuguese are really bad drivers then you should get out more. After all, they are bloody patient and polite when they’re not in their cars. It’s just a matter of perspective, and a matter of time until their fatalities toll competes with the best of Europe. Congratulations Britarians, you do have one of the very best driving records on the planet, but possibly the also the best record for whingeing as well. And you Australians too, pompous little asses.  It could be worse, you could be in Greece.

Driving in Portugal? If you need a rental car… click!

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