The “godfather of Portuguese tourism” speaks of his for the country.
I was six years old when I first came to Portugal. I came with my parents, a baby sister and a cousin of my age. We were fleeing Poland, where the first flames of World War II were starting to engulf Europe. I was dazzled both by Lisbon’s light and an unknown sea that introduced itself in placid guise. However, more than anything, I loved the bonhomie of the Portuguese, and the gibberish of a completely strange language, which I had no idea would, in just a few years, replace my native tongue in my daily life and in my heart. I still speak Polish, English has become the lingua franca of my work throughout the world, but, most of the time, I’ve lived and live in Portuguese.
After so many years, this world has changed more than anyone could imagine. And here is Portugal, more changed than any other place. However, the Portuguese have preserved the best of themselves and their country. Modernity, with its extraordinary pageant of infrastructures, has not robbed Portugal of its public tranquillity, nor the charm of its natural landscapes and environments. To a certain extent, globalisation, that great leveller of societies, started with these people and their great maritime adventure, this year celebrated with Magellan’s remarkable journey. The world has shrunk and now we all live with one another. The Portuguese were wise enough to keep, and offer to the world, a hospitality unlike any other I know.
Raised in Brazil and the USA, half a century ago I found opportunities and friends here. I see my grandchildren grow up with many more opportunities and resources, but with the same peace and safety. We can come here to study, work or stay, or just spend a few days and enjoy the good food. Portugal and the Portuguese seduce us, showing us a surprisingly original lifestyle.
Considered a pioneer of quality tourism, I was also a pioneer in bringing Brazilians to Lisbon. Nowadays, TAP is one of the main reasons that each of the two populations discover one another, leading millions of people to traverse the Atlantic of the aviators Sacadura Cabral and Gago Coutinho; to experience the other’s country and fall in love with it.
by André Jordan
web design & development 262media.com