Portugal is often labelled “slow and unprofessional”. But I have to say that in several years of living in the Algarve I have not had many experiences confirming that (except with Portugal Telecom and at home the Telecom is not better).
I think that most things are very well organised, with friendliness and quite some effort applied. E.g. I am always amazed by how smoothly the yearly “invasion” of 30,000 motorbikes works, with many competent and friendly GNR policemen on duty – this year even while the hinterland was blazing with forest fires, which also required police forces to block the roads etc.
I genuinely feel that the police are here to help, which stands in stark contrast to Spain – where we always feel that the constant criminal activities that happened to us and our friends were regarded as “normal” and us tourist victims were a disturbance reporting them.
And I loved the Rugby Series last weekend in the beautiful Algarve Stadium – please more of that! It was almost a “family atmosphere” as in most places in the Algarve.
To add some ideas for road safety into this letter: I find the arrows and signs on the tollway to Lisbon, which give you an understanding about a safe distance, very useful.
As I feel very unsafe driving on Portuguese roads, I would strongly suggest to implement them into other roads like the EN125 to tackle the problem of tailgating. In my opinion, the hazardous driving which we experience daily is also a lack of knowledge.
I would also wish for campaigns like TV spots about safe driving and combine them with severe punishments and frequent checks to catch and fine dangerous drivers.
Irene Manns, São Brás