Just take 5 minutes time, relax, put your headphones on and listen to my first Portuguese story as a prelude to my upcoming podcast Dreamy Cappuccino.
If you prefer to read it, here it is:
‘Swipe left. Swipe left. Swipe right. Yep, nice looking Philipp. He’s only 13 km’s away. How can it be he looks so different in each pic; with beard, shaved, hair dark and hair light.
It’s like I am looking at five different versions of hopefully the same man. I wonder what he currently looks like?
Philipp contacts me, asking in German whether I’d like to meet for a coffee. That settles it, he’s not Portuguese.
My luck… You can’t escape the Germans. They’re everywhere…
A week later we meet in person. Right from the get go, I had the feeling, he’s not very invested. Even though I am not, as he put it, a surf camp girl, coming here for just a week. I wonder, who is this man, living like me in another country to his own? What’s his journey been like? Could this turn into a fling?
We meet in Aljezur in a café by the bridge, close to the mercado municipal. It’s a cozy little place with mainly chairs outside. It used to be run by a German couple from Köln. What happened to them!
I am parking my rental car thinking:
‘This is kind of weird and exciting! Will I recognise him?’
I go for the dark haired guy with the beard and sunglasses. Bingo!
He gets up from his seat, I stretch my hand out, but he opts for the Portuguese greeting; two kisses on both cheeks. Nice! Luckily he actually looks much better in real life than in his pictures.
A penny for his thoughts…
To my surprise Philipp doesn’t order a galao like me, milk coffee in a glas, but a freshly pressed orange juice. Mmmhhh…
Whole chunks of orange are floating leisurely in his glas. He doesn’t approve. Philipp says he didn’t want to eat half an orange, but drink juice. I can’t help but smile on the inside. The bits and pieces of orange must have overheard, deciding to go to war with the man. They attach themselves to his lips and beard. Not wanting to let go. He tries to trick them with a straw, but the orange chunks win the battle. I am grateful for my uncomplicated galao. That’s what you drink here in Portugal and not bloody orange juice. Come on!
Philipp is originally from Kiel in Northern Germany, having left his home country over 13 years ago to move to Spain, where he stayed for 8 years. For the past five years he’s settled here in the Algarve. Owning his own little place and a dog. Philipp earns his money with web design. Most of his clients are based in Germany. Clever, I think. He lives in one place and virtually works in another.
Could he imagine to go back to Germany?
No! Never! Especially not with the current political climate and the rising islamic phobia. It’s ridiculous. His own family discussions feel like they are part of a German populist right wing party called AFD. Nasty! No he’s happy to be far away from all this bullshit.
In some ways Philipp is a male version of me, wanting to be free. We both go and leave Germany on our own, making a fresh start. And we leave again by ourselves, when each of us feels the need to move on. Him from Spain to Portugal, me from England to Ireland. There’s an air of independence linking us both.
I can’t help but think his dog is his closest companion here. With all the surfer dudes never staying for long and the locals taking a long time to open up to foreigners. It must be challenging. Maybe that’s why he appears so uninvested…
When I finally leave, I pay for my own uncomplicated galao, letting him sort out his feisty orange juice. Will we meet again? Maybe. One thing is for sure though. German men are just no gentlemen. How could I have forgotten…’
Portuguese Snapshots is a prelude to my up and coming podcast Dreamy Cappuccino with stories, musings and memoirs. I hope you enjoyed this little taster.