Strange objects in Portugal WithPortugal
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Strange objects in Portugal

Immigration to a new country is characterized not only by the legal side of the issue and the undertaking of relevant documents but also by an interesting and exciting process of getting to know the local mentality. A new language, unfamiliar traditions, and even some objects -after immigrating to Portugal, you will indeed have a lot of discoveries every day.

That is why we will talk about some unique items that can only be found in Portugal in today's article, not without humor.


Why are details so important?

As Sherlock Holmes once said: "Minor details are usually the most important", and this is true because the devil, as you know, lies precisely in the details. Naturally, this means that by looking at some small object, we can tell a lot about its owner or the system of which it is a part.

If you come to Portugal from another European country, then most likely everything will seem familiar to you because moving between countries of the same continent won't cause such a strong culture shock, as, for example, in the case of a trip to Asia or Africa.

However, during the 8 years of my life in Portugal, I still came across several unusual objects that I had never seen in my native country and which were a real discovery for me. By these small objects, it is quite possible to evaluate the Portuguese way of life and living conditions in the country, so today, I will also introduce you to these unusual objects typical for Portugal.

Door cushion

It is called in so many different ways in Portuguese: both sausage for the door (chouriço para porta) and protection (veda-portas), and the roller for the door (rolo para porta) - the meaning of this subject remains unchanged. This mysterious "door sausage" looks like an elongated weighted pillow that can be placed under a door or window to close the existing gaps and prevent the cold wind from entering the apartment.


Someone might think that the objective of this item is to slow down the door, but such pillows just close the gaps, preventing the appearance of a breeze in the apartment.


This may seem strange because if you have never been to Portugal before, there are some logical questions, why not make high-quality insulation in the apartment? Why not put good doors, etc.? But the fact is that high-quality insulation of a Portuguese apartment would cost its owners several thousand, or even tens of thousands of euros, but the "door sausage" costs a couple of euros. Cheap and practical.

If the wind blows strongly in your Portuguese rented apartment with the windows and doors closed, you should buy such pillows for windows or doors, and you can do this in many stores, for example, here or here.


We have repeatedly written about this subject in our articles, for example, here or here, so we won't repeat ourselves and write laudatory odes to this electrical appliance again. However, it is highly recommended to read the above materials, where you can learn how to properly use the dehumidifier (Desumidificador) and why it is a must-have product in the country. Just be aware that you will never find humidifiers in Portugal because humidity often exceeds 90% anyway, and therefore your faithful friend will be a dehumidifier, which can be purchased at any Portuguese electronics store, starting from 100 euros, for example, here.


Cat litter bags

As you can understand from the two points above, a rather significant problem in Portugal is high humidity and the lack of high-quality insulation on the premises. And the next strange thing that I will talk about is related to this problem.


Even if you use an expensive and high-quality dehumidifier, there are places where it is even powerless. For example, inside cabinets and bedside tables, in small gaps between furniture and walls, etc.

In this case, the Portuguese "folk wisdom" comes to the rescue, which is based on the use of silica cat litter (Silica). Silica granules are created to absorb moisture, respectively, they can be packaged in small fabric bags (or old socks), and such silica balls can be scattered over the most inaccessible places where moisture can potentially accumulate. By the way, it is silica that can be found when buying new shoes or electrical appliances - these well-known bags serve to fight excess moisture.


My Portuguese friends acquainted this trick with me, and to this day, you can find small bags the size of a tennis ball filled with silica in the trunk of my car and inside the cabinets. The price of the issue is from 5 euros for a package of cat litter, old textiles, and a little creativity (a video with a simple creative process can be found here). It really works!


Wind wall

If you think you can wallow on the beaches of Portugal, slowly sipping a cocktail, you will most likely be upset by the clash of expectation and reality. Often the wind from the Atlantic Ocean is so strong that it can easily blow away both an umbrella and a deck chair, not to mention that your cocktail will be filled with sand, which is carried by the strongest gusts of wind. The wind is typical not only for the country's north but also for the south, so every Portuguese, in addition to the sun umbrella, also has a "wind protection wall" (Para-Vento). It can be bought for 10-15 euros in any supermarket or sports store.


Clay grill for sausages

This strange object (Assador de Chouriço de Barro) is often seen in videos and articles by travelers who want to experience an authentic Portuguese flavor by roasting sausages over a fire in such a clay format.


Such a clay grill can be purchased starting from 5 euros in any supermarket, and you will also need ethyl alcohol and matches to fry the selected product.

Speaking of sausages, be careful. In Portugal, many sausages look like ordinary sausages or chorizo, but they cannot be eaten raw.


Such products include sausages like Alheira and Morcela, while Morcela uses fresh animal blood. Such products are ground minced meat from various ingredients (fat, meat, blood, flour, bread, etc.), so most often, they cannot be eaten raw (here is one of the possible recipes for cooking). So be careful. Otherwise, you will be very unpleasantly surprised by the taste of a raw "sausage" that you mistakenly bought in a store without understanding what kind of product it is.


Unusual vegetables and fruits

Sure, for some time after immigrating to Portugal, you will go to local supermarkets like to a museum: new foods, overseas fruits, exciting pastries. But, after some time, you will get used to unfamiliar products and realize that although pastries and sweets are different, frankly speaking, there is nothing extraordinary in Portugal in this issue, except that nothing can replace the Portuguese love for using sweet yolk instead of cream.

Also, over time, you will notice that many fruits are imported from Spain or Brazil, so it will also be difficult to consider them unique Portuguese products.


However, the country has many local gifts of nature that I have never seen in my home country but are extremely popular with the Portuguese.

For example, I can note Agrião, which translates as "common watercress" among products I often buy. And right now, it can be found in any Portuguese supermarket. I have never heard of such a vegetable outside of Portugal, but it is sold in all stores and is especially popular for making cream soup.


Chuchu is also very popular, which translates as "Chayot", and even though it looks like some overseas fruit (and it really is a fruit), the Portuguese use it like a potato, for example, in vegetable stews and soups.


Sure, this list could go on and on, but I decided to give as an example only these two products, the names of which you, most likely, have never heard before, like me.


Every detail is a reflection of the whole system

And this is true because, as we see, strange and unusual objects in Portugal reflect the life of residents and the realities of their lives in one way or another.

In apartments, many strange objects are associated with cold, high humidity, and poor insulation. Portugal is among the top countries characterized by the maximum "energy poverty". The low incomes of the population and cold apartments with poor insulation provoke people to look for various tricks, such as making bags to collect moisture or making pillows under the door.

Also very simple and affordable is the "Portuguese diet", which consists of processed sausages and inexpensive local vegetables and fruits from the garden.

Here they are, "strange objects" that you are unlikely to ever meet outside of Portugal. However, if you remember other unusual things that surprised you in Portugal, feel free to note them in the comments to this article, and together we can make a more detailed list.