Travels with Grandpa 2010 (9)

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Portugal is a fantastic country where unexpected things happen all the time! One needs to experience it in order to understand. Patricia believes it is all about holding on to high levels of adrenalin and that people get addicted. For Swedes who do not want everything organized and predictable (if there are any?) it might be seen as relaxing. Grandpa can cope, but gets irritated at times, like when they went to buy train tickets to Viseu and there were no people waiting- but the internet suddenly died. It all eventually started to work again but a lot of time was wasted…

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Time is something that we cannot administer very well in Portugal because of the high rate of improbabilities. We were invited by Great grandpa to eat at the “El Corte Ingles”. We were there at the agreed time. Even Great grandpa was there on time but was waiting at another place and had forgotten his cell phone. Grandpa solved the whole thing by contacting Uncle Pedro who in turn rang Leonor. In any case, Jonatan and Liv were given each a check for 30€ by Greatgrandpa and his wife Leonor. Jonatan bought a pair of football shoes
and Liv a schoolbag. We travelled as fast as we could to S. Pedro and Great Grandma Pamela. She was irritated about several things, which had to do with her health. Everyone went off to the beach, as Grandpa stayed with Pedro to go through some papers with a Notary. Great grandma gave a flat to Grandpa. Maybe we will be able to stay there when we come to Portugal next time. So, thank you Great Grandma!

Travels with Grandpa 2010 (1)


We left Sweden spot on time, on a plane called Florbela Espanca!
This because grandpa drove at a record time from Sundsvall. The newly updated GPS functioned to perfection and for the first time, correctly showed the new road north of Uppsala. The trip went well and we were lucky, to get Jonatan a vegetarian meal, on board. Grandpa offered to land the plane but the captain declined politely but firmly.
In Lisbon there was a huge crowd waiting, in what must be described, as a sort of welcome committee.People ran around on different directions in great excitement as Grandpa held welcome speeches and gave out some information on Lisbon’s history and geography! The group then split up into three different vehicles. Grandpa and Jonatan went off with Greatgrandpa and Leonor (Greatgrandpa’s wife). This was also the first car to arrive at the hotel after a speedy trip with Leonor as co-pilot and Greatgrandpa holding the wheel, in what made us think of the Lisbon rally in WRC. We arrived at the Londres hotel on time to see the second half of the match between Spain and Germany. We saw this, surrounded by loud Spaniards, screaming for joy. The goal scored by David Villa was enough to put Spain on the finals for the first time ever. As the brothers D&D had disappeared for a few hours, Patricia could fulfill a much awaited dream and shared 4 sardines with Grandpa.

Next day Jonatan and Liv went off with Grandpa to visit Greatgrandma. Pamela. Before that, they picked up uncle Pedro, at the beach so he could guide the whole expedition. Pamela was well and stayed at a luxurious home for elderly. Grandpa later invited all for pizzas which was very well appreciated by all concerned. All, were also, very thankful to Grandpa who had managed to acquire tickets for the local train, which seemed to be very complicated in Portugal. Then it was decided that everybody should eat dinner at Vótetta’s. We travelled speedily to Algés. During this trip we all listened to scenes and tales being told from Grandpa’s life to everyone’s overwhelming interest.
Arrived in Algés we got a message that Vótetta was waiting for us at another station. Nothing to worry about…After a while she appeared and all could get into a small car. Grandpa who got to seat in the front offered to push the car on a steep hill but it was not necessary. Everyone was very satisfied with Vótettas wonderful cooking.

Resan2  At Arlanda Airport- Daniel Meneses

Intermezzo in Hamburg


The summer of 1972 had but one purpose! Meet the families and spend time together. Mona had heard me enough times talking about Portugal and the speculations about when getting back could become a reality. Her own curiosity was also there…If we bought an Interrail ticket in Finland we could use it from Sundsvall to very close to the Portuguese frontier. This would be an opportunity to meet my grandmother Bua, my parents, brother Pedro and sister Joana!

It was settled. The Inter rail ticket meant that we could travel throughout Europe without extra cost if travelling in second class and on ordinary trains. We left Scandinavia via Rödby in Denmark on the ferry to Germany on the 3rd august. Our first stop in Germany was in Hamburg. We did not stay in hotels if we could avoid them. But we had to eat.

Areas around central stations are unpleasant and sometimes dangerous. We looked for a place to eat not far from the station. This was before the times of fast food chains as we know them today. As we were eating and from nowhere a gang of thugs (young men, acting aggressively) approached our table and started to provoke me by taking chips off Mona’s plate and putting them near her mouth. I honestly did not know what to do, but felt I could not resolve the situation by any other means than getting beaten up. I chose not to and it bothered me for some time to think what a coward I was. Mona never mentioned and did not seem to think I should have acted in any other way! My first German experience was not very positive.

That night the trip continued towards Switzerland and the impecable city of Geneve. Even there my new leather jacket came to good use!

The passport that flew away


I have touched on this subject before and I am doing it again today! It is about the question of nationalities. People have many times asked me what I see myself as. I have to be honest and explain that I am convinced that our first years are most important in shaping one’s personal identity.

I carry today a Swedish passport and it makes sense since I have lived in Sweden for the most part of my life. But I have had the Portuguese and British passports before. What happened for me to lose the Portuguese nationality which emotionally best correspond to my own feelings and identity!

I will explain. When I was living in London my thoughts were always to go back to Portugal which I missed grandly. Apart from my nearest family that lived there and the friends I had left I missed the Atlantic coast. I often talked about it and the people that came closest to me during those London years knew and could plan on going there with me. But I couldn’t so when my father came to London in 1971 he looked up some of his old acquaintances at the Consulate, from his own time there.

We were told that if I wanted to go back I would have to lose the Portuguese nationality first or I would risk being sent to the army and subsequently to some of the fronts in colonized Africa. Of course this was said on an unofficial way as a personal favour. I was give some forms, filled them in handed in my first passport with the national symbol on the front and the word PORTUGAL.

As I left for Sweden in 1972 it wasn’t until years later that my request was granted and sadly it was already after the revolution of 1974.

This is not a picture of my passport but mine looked something like this!

What am I?


The nationality question has undergone a lot of mental and legal changes since the Second World War and the development of the European Union.

Certain countries such as Britain have long had the principle of “Jus Soli” which means that the place of birth defines the nationality. As I was born in Stafford, England my nationality was British from birth. Portugal in turn defines nationality as connected with the father’s nationality “Jus Sanguinis”. From the moment I was registered at a Portuguese consulate I became Portuguese.

Britain was one of the countries that first accepted dual nationality. That meant for practical purpose that in Britain I was both British and Portuguese whereas in Portugal only Portuguese. This created a problem and in order to be able to return to Portugal without risking being drafted to the war it was necessary to renounce the Portuguese nationality which was done through the consulate in London. I learned that this renouncement was finally granted but already after the 25th of April 1974. Soon after, and to comply with the interest of many Portuguese immigrated citizens, Portugal accepted dual nationality! For my part I had wasted time, money and fidelity points!


After many years, living in Sweden and because I did not have full political rights here, I decided to apply for Swedish nationality. This was granted but I was obliged to write to British authorities in order to explain that I no longer wished to be a British national. After this process was finalized and I had obtained a Swedish passport it was finally decide that Sweden would accept dual nationality.

It all boils down to the fact that I could have had three nationalities but have only one! My first passport is Portuguese and if it hasn’t been destroyed it will be filed in some Lisbon office dealing with nationality!