The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics start this Friday!

on 1:08 pm

As any good Canuck knows, the Winter Olympics are the important Olympics, and as such, want to see Canada rake in the medals, especially with the home advantage.

Now, if you are living in Portugal, the Winter Olympics rarely make the news, seeing as how winter sports are practically impossible here due to the good weather, and because Portugal has only one athlete in the Winter Olympics (Danny Silva, the only amateur athlete at the Games... that's determination!).

What is the best way to follow the Olympics in Portugal, if you don't have cable TV, you may ask?
Going to a pub is not an option, since with the time difference, they would be closed, and with the little interest in the winter games, they would probably have it on VH1 or SportTv.

Well, the internet of course!
The Official 2010 Vancouver Olympics website has a listing of on-line coverage. Very, very handy.

I recommend checking out the official website, you can follow Olympic news on Twitter, become a Facebook fan, see the schedules, etc.

The Opening Ceremony is set to start at 2:00AM on the 13th of February here in Portugal (6:00PM on the 12th in Vancouver), don't miss it!

Portugal is safe again! ETA base uncovered.

on 12:15 pm

The ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or Basque Homeland and Freedom) logistics base in Óbidos, Portugal has been neutralized, according to the general director of the Portuguese Republican National Guard.

The base was uncovered this Friday, after the buildings  landlord alerted the police that the tenants were leaving without paying the rent.

Portuguese Police discovered close to 1500 kilograms of explosives in the Casal da Avela headquarters. Destruction of those explosives is currently underway.

However, maps discovered at the site show the existence of other bases throughout Portugal.

In the Diário Digital On-line, 08-02-2010

Portuguese airports failing to comply with international laws

on 2:24 pm

Despite being activated more than three years ago, a set of international certification laws that were implemented in May 2007 and affect all aerodromes and airports are still not being carried out to the full in Portugal, even by large airports such as Lisbon, Faro and Oporto, media reports claimed this week.

In theory the non-compliance with these certification laws should in fact legally imply the closure of the airports.

For example, properly certified airport manuals are needed in all seven national airports run by ANA – Airports of Portugal, which include Lisbon, Faro, Oporto and Ponta Delgada (Azores).

These manuals comprise health and safety laws drawn up for each specific airport and must be stamped by the National Institute for Civil Aviation (INAC).

ANA spokesperson Rui Oliveira confirmed that the airports had had the manuals drawn up and that these had been sent off to INAC “some time ago” for approval, but had not yet been sent back.

Portuguese newspaper O Público reported that ANA’s manuals were in fact sent off three years ago and were still awaiting validation.

Because of this, the Democratic Syndicate for Airport and Aviation Workers (Sindav) sent a letter to the Ministry for Public Works highlighting “series doubts” regarding the proper certification of 40 supposedly approved aerodromes on a list published by INAC.

At the time it was implemented aerodromes and heliports were given two years to adjust their standards to the newly-introduced laws.

The law states that failure to do so will mean all air-related infrastructures will have to reapply for licenses to operate.

However, eight months after that deadline (May 2009) no re-applications have been submitted.

Smaller airports argue lack of financial resources to purchase additional equipment such as permanent ambulances and insurances that are compulsory under the new law.

In The Portugal News Online, Edition: 1047, 06/02/2010

Minho Region

on 8:14 pm

Just got back from the north recently (visited Braga and Terras de Bouro), and took some pictures. However they don’t do the place justice, since it is very beautiful. These were taking in a village close to Terras de Bouro. I'm planning on visiting Braga again soon to get some pictures of the city.


Very worth visiting, for the great visages, very rich food (going to have to talk about this later, the food is excellent) and (relatively) friendly people.

If you have a chance, take a hike through one of Portugal’s largest, and most beautiful, natural parks, the «Penedo-Gerês».
Here are some photos of that park from my infamous hike to Santiago de Compostela during the summer.

These are both of the artificial lake (damn reservoir).

A poor shot of the rivers that feed the lake, made up of natural waterfalls.

Considering studying in Portugal?

on 8:05 pm

Well, might as well be useful and tell you what you need to study in Portugal, in case you decide to move here from abroad. Of course the information I'm going to give applies to people moving from Canada before the Bologna reforms, since that is the only experience I have on the matter (and I moved here as a Portuguese national, so I didn’t have to face all the bureaucratic hassles).

Of course, before moving here you'd better think long and hard on what you objectives are, what you'd have to gain, and what you have to lose.

If you're planning on using the Portuguese experience as a stepping stone to the rest of Europe, or if you want to help take Portugal out from the economic crapper, and enjoy great food and weather while you’re at it, then go for it!

What you need:
  • Official transcripts from your high school
  • Official transcripts from your university or college.
  • Course descriptions (if you plan on applying for course equivalences, so you don’t have to repeat them)
  • A letter from the Ministry of Education of your province that declares that the college or university that you attended is official recognized by the government as authorized to grant academic degrees (in order to avoid people with mail-order degrees)
  • Up-to-date vaccines
  • A valid Canadian passport
  • Residence study visa from the nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate 
  • Knowledge of prerequisite courses, otherwise you may to take entrance exams
  • A reasonably good understanding of the Portuguese language (real-world experience is the best teacher!)
  • Money

And remember folks, in Portugal, the more official looking the document the better!

Here’s a link to get started.

And now for something completely different...

(the beaver made it)