Spain’s Iberian neighbour has shown that it can produce more than tanned footballers this week. Yes, Portugal finally added a Eurovision Song Contest win to its achievements, reminding the rest of Europe that part of this peninsula we now call home is not Spain and was certainly proud of that in Kiev on Saturday night.
Portugal is so different from Spain despite sharing the same piece of land, and not just in its choice of Eurovision entries. They have the right time for a start, which perhaps explains why they eat lunch and dinner earlier than their neighbours; and they don’t dub every film and TV show imported from abroad. This original version watching must surely improve the Portuguese people’s understanding and pronunciation of English. Academics must have studied this with graphs and tables but my evidence lies in one word: get a Spanish child and a Portuguese child together and ask them to pronounce Spiderman and you’ll see what I mean.
This beautiful country sits half surrounded by its great neighbour, but it doesn’t seem intimidated by Spain, simply fond of it and politely enthusiastic about its culture, gastronomy and monuments.
Spain, however, seems to ignore Portugal. When you hear someone in Spain talking about their closest neighbours, they’re more likely, in my experience, to be referring to France, not Portugal.
However the most annoying lack of recognition lies in the TV weather reports. The forecaster stands in front of the map of the Iberian peninsula with its entire coastline clearly marked out.
However viewers find that the weather stops south of Galicia and west of Extremadura and Andalucía. Would it really be that difficult for them to add a couple more rain clouds, suns and temperatures in that empty space, even though it’s not home territory?
I hope Portugal enjoys its unexpected spot in the limelight this week, for once shining bright above its neighbour, weather or no weather.