Culture · Europe · Lisboa · Lisbon · lissabon · portugal · travel · traveling · trip

Understanding of Time and Space in Portugal 

It is amazing that some issues are universal, no matter at which point of the globe you are. Such things are love, family, and friendship. At the same time, there are things which differ significantly even within our small Europe. As you probably guessed from the title, today I will write about how people see time and space in Portugal or at least how I felt they do.

Many people have a stereotype that southerners are almost always late. When I myself lived in Russia I was exactly like that, at least 30 minutes late basically everywhere (I am from southern Russia). What is interesting, I always had a reasonable explanation for it. As soon as I moved to Finland, everything changed. Pretty quickly I adopted the Finnish way of coming 15 minutes earlier than required and never had awkward situations.

So, when I was in Portugal I had a cultural shock 😀 most of my friends were around 30 minutes late. More then that, I myself started being late too! And trust me, there was always a good reason for it, I always could find a good justification. Must be something in the air 😊

I was also warned that Portuguese people are not very specific about the place when they meet. As for this aspect, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. All my friends perfectly well described the meeting point, so there was no confusion. 

Except one of my friends… We agreed to meet at the metro station Restauradores (entrance), which is located in the center of Lisbon. When I was approaching the place, I noticed an elevator exit from the metro. No, that could not be the right one as the location was extremely unconvenient. I followed the road further and there were 2 entrances located close to each other. This was good because I would see my friend anyway. But the time was passing and he was still not there. I was about to call him, when I saw an incoming call. My friend pretty angrily questioned where I was. Being a hot-tempered person myself, I immediately responded hushly that I am at the entrance and wait for him already for a while. My friend answered that it is not possible because he is there and he can’t see me. 

How on earth I could know that there was a fourth entrance!? 😂 When we finally met, of course we were laughing at it. Then, went for a ginja shot. 

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9 thoughts on “Understanding of Time and Space in Portugal 

  1. We are peculiar people, aren’t we? =) I try to never be late because I hate waiting but sometimes it happens. There’s always traffic, or a “late” (missed) bus, etc etc. About the meeting points, I think we’ve been getting better at it. It’s good you stayed with locals, it adds to the Portuguese experience haha

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  2. I love to hear about life all around the world. Thank you for sharing!
    Funny you talked about cultural change. We get that here in America. Moving to Florida from Texas was a cultural shock. Seriously. And then moving from Texas to Arkansas was a REAL cultural shock!! Ooh…the people. Not all are “hillbillies”, but many are! I don’t really like it there. But for the moment I am stuck there.

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    1. Thank you for the comment! So much true! Even in the same country there is such a big difference in habits. I hope soon you will have a chance to move to the place where you will feel more comfortable! 🙂

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  3. In the U.S. you’re expected to be exactly on time. In the Philippines, 30 minutes late is acceptable (I found this appalling at first but have gotten used to it). I didn’t know the rest of the globe had a time culture as well.

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    1. It is a strong cultural habit. If you are in Europe some day, in Nordic and German speaking countries should be 5 min ahead, in Russia and southern Europe people are usually late.. but is it the same for each State? I heard U.S. is a diverse country with different customs 🙂

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  4. When we first got together The Spouse was very relaxed about time keeping—I was ex-navy, which meant two things: (1) I was very punctual, and (2) I had a very flexible sense of humour.

    Now, of course, she has become more punctual while I have relaxed a lot; we’ve met in the middle. (I still have that sense of humour) (and sometimes need it~!).

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