But the coastline, where most of the Portuguese live, is a welcoming place. It has a simple beauty, maybe a little like California, but a lot less crowded. There is sun and rain and the water is warm.
Maybe all this helps explain the people: they are gracious hosts, who have a low-key calm that makes the stranger feel welcome and relaxed. They take obvious pride in their home. They keep their storefronts and streets clean; those who work the land have a deep connection to it and previous generations who worked it.
In restaurants, customers are expected to linger, to enjoy another glass of Port or a dessert, and not ask for the bill right away. If you let it, Portugal can get under your skin like few places can.