Saturday 18 August 2012

One man's fino...

... is another man's something else!  Or: my first vocabulary gaffe in Portugal.

Those of you who've been following my adventure will know — if you didn't already — that fino is the term for the palest, driest sherry from Jerez.  This evening as I staggered off the bus in Porto after a six-hour journey I was feeling rather hot and bothered.  I trundled into the first bar I came across and when I happened to see "fino"  chalked up on the board my mind was made up.  Fortunately I also like cold beer, for that's what I was served.  It turns out that fino in this part of the world means a 200ml glass of beer.

My second mistake was at dinner later.  I decided to take the menu in Portuguese to see if I could work things out thanks to their similarity with Spanish and French.  I imagined caldo verde to be some kind of cold soup, a sort of green gazpacho.  I was more than half right: it's soup, and it's green.  But it is served piping hot.  The green looked like it was from spinach or seaweed (a special thought here for at least two of my sisters who are squirming at the idea).  The caldo part is nothing to do with "cold" — it simply means soup or broth.

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