soccer & saints

A lot has happened these last 10 days, and when it concerns Portugal, there's been a flurry of activity. There is lots to talk about, but I don't think I'll get to it all today, although most of it has been in sports, as usual.

Benfica, Benfica, Benfica

They started the week with a loss to Victoria de Guimaraes, and ended up with two wins at home - one with Liverpool and the other to Porto.

Lucia returns home to Fatima

The remains of the last of the shepherd children of Fatima were moved to Fatima last Sunday.

The new Portuguese uniforms
On February 13th, the new uniforms, still done by Nike were unveiled in Portugal. These will be worn by the national team in Germany in 2006. They actually look better.

And in other news...
Here is a recap of some of the most interesting stories of late:

Naming your kid in Portugal can be really complicated! - Honey, let‘s name junior UFO!
Let the planning begin - Scolari plots Portugal progress
...and let's party - it's Carnival!!
Until next time, I am...
Uma Portuguesa


danny silva, the portuguese olympian

It's a good thing we're not without representation at the 2006 Winter Olympics. The sole athlete there from Portugal is Danny Silva.

Visit his web site here.

Competing in the 15 km cross country classical, Danny competed yesterday, and made a great showing. Out of 97 athletes, he placed 94th.

Be proud! Força Portugal.


faial & soccer

A photo by Paul French for the Globe and Mail, He visited the Azores and wrote a great article about his visit there, and it makes me want to visit that part of Portugal even more.

I remember landing in Ponta Delgada one year when returning back to Canada, and the view of the ocean when landing was amazing. I had never landed in an airport like that, and the air and the view when getting on the plane to go back to Canada was amazing. It was probably one of the only instances where I actually liked to go through a particular airport. Paul French actually makes it sound much better - here's an example:
More recently, the Azores are being explored by visitors in search of clean and unspoiled vistas and the thrill of finding oneself in utter isolation, whether it's on a cliff high above the sea, trekking through fields of wild hydrangeas, swimming in warm tidal pools or standing on the edge of a volcanic crater.
We've celebrated the beauty that is Portugal, but now, we have to move on to, what sometimes is considered an uglier side of that country, the national soccer league. The 22nd "jornada" had the following matches:

V.Setubal - Sporting CP
Belenenses - FC Porto
Maritimo - V.Guimarães (will play on February 13th)
Académica - Boavista
SL Benfica - Penafiel
P.Ferreira - Gil Vicente
Nacional - U. Leiria
Rio Ave - Naval
SC Braga - E. Amadora

The current standings are as follows:

FC Porto - 48
Sporting CP - 43
SL Benfica - 43
SC Braga - 41
Nacional - 39
Boavista - 38
V.Setubal - 33
U. Leiria - 31
Maritimo - 27
E. Amadora - 27
Rio Ave - 26
Académica - 26
Belenenses - 25
P.Ferreira - 25
Gil Vicente - 24
Naval - 21
V.Guimarães - 17
Penafiel - 11



The best thing about February in Portugal is that Carnaval is soon around the corner. Normally, it's in the first couple of weeks, but this year it's on February 28th. I remember spending Carnaval in Portugal while I was young, but it was nothing like you see on TV, and in the photo. As cheesy as it was, we used to dress up to hide our true selves and roam around our little town trying to guess who the "enmascarado" was. It was the funnest thing ever!

Until next time, I am....

Uma Portuguesa


rich in portugal

Being Portuguese means you will talk about Port wine as often as a Canadian says 'Eh?', which is why I love finding articles in foreign papers about it like this one at The Age.

I remember when I was younger living in Portugal going to the "quinta" my family owned and eating the grapes and watching people get ready to make the wine. The vineyard was in the Douro region, and it was beautiful. It really is a great tradition, and it's nice to see other non-Portuguese appreciating the tradition and what it all involves in making such a special wine.

A wine of depth, concentration and majestic structure, port is produced from grapes grown on the steep, rocky slopes of northern Portugal's Upper Douro and its tributaries and was discovered during the 17th century when two British traders added brandy to preserve the local wine for an Atlantic sea voyage.

The pioneers of the port trade soon found that "fortifying" did far more than just protect the wine, it actually improved it, giving it the power to mature into something unique, transformed in the cool, peaceful wine lodges that huddle in the tight streets of Vila Nova de Gaia, across the River Douro estuary from Porto.


Meanwhile, over at Portugal's richest man's (at least according to Forbes) corporate headquarters, they're planning a corporate takeover. Belmiro de Azevedo (that's his photo on the left), owns Sonae SGPS and put a US$12.6 billion bid to buy Portugal Telecom.

It's the big buzz across the Atlantic with all kinds of talk about it. According to Reuters, the CEO of Portugal Telecom considered it a "hostile" bid and it could lead to the breakup of the company.

Lots to talk about for sure, here's a snippet of the article in Forbes:

Cited as audacious, the bid sent shares in the telecom giant soaring 22%, just over the offer price as investors wagered on a ounterbid from the likes of Spain's Telefonica or France Telecom according to AFX newswire. All this from a company a quarter the size of the country's main telecom giant, biggest cellular firm and main pay-TV broadcaster.

As for the soccer, here are the latest standings:
The next round of play in the Portuguese league takes place from February 11th to the 13th.
The place where the winningticket was sold to the Portuguese winner of EUR$61 million:

Bill Gates visits Portugal, and makes all kinds of promises. I just hope they pan out:

I don't know why I enjoy this photo so much, but either because I think the joke is about the guy in track pants or it's the look on Paulo Bento's face:

Until next time, I am...

Uma Portuguesa


back to the portuguese business

After taking a small break to reflect upon how much this blog means to me, I've decided to get back to the Portuguese business and this post will be shock full of tidbits for those wanting to know the latest and greatest reasons why I love to discuss that country.

First, off, some items making news of late...

Proving just how backwards that country sometimes is, a lesbian couple was denied a marriage license. (Pictured: Helena Paixão and Teresa Pires) Our Spanish neighbour appears to not have any problems with having an open-mind, even though the Roman Catholic church opposed the change. At least, the Portuguese have a saving grace - the Leftist Bloc is pushing for this in the government. What makes this such a hot topic is that the constitution says that sexual discrimination is not allowed, but they can discriminate when giving out marriage licenses? These 2 women have as much right to be married to each other as any other 2 people in the world. If they want to spend their life with each other, all the power to them.

There's a very rich person in Portugal after yesterday's Euro Millions lottery draw. I wonder if I'm related.
The golden arches have elected Portugal as its best in Europe. We love beer and burgers!


Some consider the election of Cavaco Silva just another nail in the coffin of liberalism. I don't agree much with her point of view. A "see-it-through-the-eyes-of-a-conservative" read:

Not long before Canada's rightward swing, Portugal’s Anibal Cavaco Silva, a former conservative prime minister, won Portugal's presidential election, becoming the first conservative politician to be elected president in Portugal since 1974 when revolution ushered in democracy.


Microsoft plans to save the day in Portugal. Good luck with that, although, it is a positive project:

The projects, as announced by Bill Gates and Prime Minister Jose Socrates,
will, according to Reuters:

The projects include technology training for students, workers and police,
aid in fighting cybercrime, apprenticeships, software development centres and
programmes aimed at Portuguese-speaking African nations.

This is part of a larger program Socrates calls a "technology shock",
designed to bring Portugal's economy in line with European Union growth.

As part of the programme, the government has launched English instruction in
primary schools and provided all schools to broadband Internet links.


The golden boy is slowly, but surely falling from grace. Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for one game for his obscene behaviour in a game against Benfica.

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for one match by UEFA for a gesture towards Benfica fans in a Champions League match last month.

The 20-year-old Portugal winger made the one-fingered sign at the Estadio da Luz on Dec. 7 when United were eliminated from the competition after losing the Group D match 2-1.

Ronaldo played for Sporting, Benfica's rivals, before joining United in August 2003.

Because United have been eliminated from Europe this season, the ban will come into effect next season should United qualify for a European competition. They are second in the Premier League behind Chelsea.


Lots to think about...don't you think? Don't forget, we still have soccer. The 21st round of the Portuguese tournament is in full swing.

U. Leiria vs. SL Benfica
FC Porto vs. Braga
Penafiel vs. Maritimo
E. Amadora vs. Rio Ave
V.Guimarães vs. Belenenses
Gil Vicente vs. V.Setubal
Sporting CP vs. Nacional
Académica vs. P.Ferreira
Boavista vs. Naval

Current standings:

FC Porto - 44
SL Benfica - 40
Nacional - 39
Braga - 39
Sporting CP - 37
Boavista - 35
V.Setubal - 33
Maritimo - 27
Académica - 26
U. Leiria - 25
Rio Ave - 25
E. Amadora - 25
Belenenses - 24
P.Ferreira - 22
Gil Vicente - 21
Naval - 18
V.Guimarães - 16
Penafiel - 8

If all else fails, watch this video: