14 (German) habits that changed when I moved to Portugal

Being both within Europe, I expected not THAT many cultural differences when I moved from Berlin, Germany, to Portugal end of last year. Except for some things that I already knew, but considered prejudices, I discovered, that there is way more. The following 14 things are just an excerpt of my experiences here …

All pictures (c) NSFoto (me)

1. Regard “5 minutes” as actual 5 minutes on the clock

Although the Latin countries being not on time is a cliché – it is just as true for 90% of the inhabitants. On the contrary, Germans are known for their punctuality, and although personally not being the best example for that, I still was surprised here. If someone tells me “just a minute”, I expect them to take 10, maybe 15min, and if it takes them even longer to ask them what happened. Portuguese just regard time as something way more flexible than Germans. This does not mean that doctor’s appointments or working hours are flexible (a big mistake I made in the beginning), but nobody expects their friends to be at a bar for a drink before an hour after the supposed meeting time.

2. Drinking (American) coffees during the day at work or at home for waking up


The Portuguese espresso is undoubtedly one of the best in the world. Like Italian? Go to Portugal and you will be even more amazed. Moreover, drinking an espresso in a café, bar, or whatever is cheap. 60c is the basic price, and going for at least one espresso daily is a common social thing and nearly expected of you. Arriving at 11pm in a bar and ordering an espresso? Completely normal.

3. Bothering about my last name. Or, even my first name. Or, real names at all

And for a few reasons:
First, nobody cares much about last names, unless to identify a person (1000s of Joões and Anas, anyone?). Going there with unique looks and a unique first name, nobody cares about my last name. Unless they wanna try how to pronounce it to make fun of the German pronounciation.
Second, because of a way lower variety of both first and last names than in Germany, nicknames here are a given. Especially amongst men, I hardly know anyone usually called by his proper first name. Ranges go from last name, simple short versions, names considering appearances, to ridiculous names know one really remembers where they came from.
And third, as 99% are even pronouncing my (not even German) name wrong when they first try it, and some even keep failing after months, I got used to so many variations, that I basically listen to everything that KINDA sounds like my name. Not kidding. I turn my head thousands of times someone is shouting Gabi (short for Gabriel) instead of Nadin.

4. My view on meals

DSC_0009 (2)Back in Germany, I usually ate a big breakfast early in the morning (7am), a normal lunch, and an early light dinner at 6 or 7, maybe 7.30. The meals consisted of a lot of vegetables, a lot of spices, rarely meat, hardly ever fish, and the food was hardly ever typical German.

Portuguese love their whole culinary – they love their food, meals (at least lunch and especially dinner) are a social event. Their whole way of eating is very different: they don’t use many spices (and even those sparcely), they have this really strange habit of eating rice and fries together, cooked vegetables on the side is a special (although a salad with the meal is normal), and they eat their food cold a lot of times because they get caught up in conversations. Oh, and a meal without meat or fish is not a meal!

5. Being focused on one language

By now I can proudly say I am fluent on a “normal conversation” level in 3 languages, German, English and Portuguese. While in the beginning, I sometimes got confused with only 2 languages, now I can now switch between all 3 within seconds, and even understand a word of Turkish from my flatmate in between. This ability gets lost as soon as I get really tired, but gets doubled with a few drinks 😉

6. Cooking daily


Eating out is really cheap, especially compared to Germany. And I’m not talking about Fast Food, but whole meals. Plus, drinks are ridiculously cheap from my POV, so why not be a bit more lazy and enjoy a dinner out instead of cooking every day?

7. Actually answering when someone asks how I am

While Germans expect an answer when asking you how you are, and look at you waiting for an answer, the Portuguese “tudo bem?” and its variations is part of the greeting and nobody expects you to give a long answer, or even to answer at all. Seeing someone walking by on the other side of the street? “Olá, tudo bem?” and keep on walking. In Germany, you probably don’t even notice each other because you’re not really looking at who walks by.

8. Seeing my (local) friends once a week max

DSC_0223If I haven’t seen my friends here for 3 days, I’m wondering where they are. People here are socialising a lot, and going for a café or a beer daily or at least every 2nd day is part of the routine. In Germany, even living 15 minutes from one of my best friends, I saw her once a week on the weekend, if even. Completely normal.

9. Being able to go unnoticed

Forget it. Just, forget it. Apart from Portuguese people usually being pretty curious, as a blond blue-eyed girl speaking with an accent, you have all eyes on you within seconds. Especially in Berlin, it’s nearly normal that half of your friends have an immigration background at the least, here people looking like me usually are tourists. Like, 97%. That means that whenever I’m on the streets, I have eyes on me, naturally. Germany is full of tourists and foreign looking people, so nobody cares much about other people on the streets.

10. Vorglühen at home, club later


In Germany, you meet your friends for Vorglühen at home, a bunch of drinks before usually hitting a club later in the night. But in Portugal, a jantar (pt. for dinner) is the common thing to do here with friends, family, or, even more often, both. You invite them to dinner, have some beer and wine and go to a café / bar later. And if you happen to be really into it, you hit a club in the night. Getting drunk? Not something very usual to do here in general. This is for big celebrations only, not a weekend habit.

11. Thinking of people older than me as people with a lot of dignity and trying to uphold an image

A sorry here to all Germans, but it’s a fact: The major part of Germans is a pretty uptight bunch, at least from age 40 up. Having a woman (not talking about family) that could be your grandma making jokes with AND about you all day is not something I ever saw in Germany. Yes, you see them smile and everything, but gestulating a lot, telling funny stories, even making fun of you? A very rare image and no way anyone would even think of describing a German old lady. Germans seem to reach an age where they think they have to change and go through life with more dignity, they are “too old” for that “young stuff”. But does that really mean having fun in life?

12. Not traveling

DSC_0290 (2)Traveling here is cheap. And you can basically pick a random location on the map, and you’ll find something worth seeing. I hardly ever traveled in Germany – mostly because it was expensive and I thought most beautiful things are outside of the country. This view changed, and if one day I’ll have the time and money to travel around a bit, I certainly will.

13. Not knowing the real differences between German and other European cultures

It is interesting that you actually have to leave your own country to learn more about it, but it is true. Being confronted with a culture, that seems to be so similar on the surface, but is pretty different on the inside, every single day makes you aware of what being German actually means. You learn about prejudices, you understand the small quirks of your native language, the unique things of your culture, etc.

14. Sunny days are special days

DSC_0088 (2)When at the beginning of last December in Portugal there was a day without any clouds and a shining blue sky, I was baffled. In Germany, everyone would have left their house to basically “celebrate” that day. Here, hardly anyone noticed. And I soon saw why, it is just normal.
If the temperature in summer drops below 25, it’s frio. Having clouds on the sky? A bad day.


The Portuguese Kitchen – Part 1: Meals and Meat

A cozinha portuguesa …

With my parents coming to Porto in less than 3 weeks, I’m starting to think deeply about how I want to show them the country I fall in love with – and one of the first things coming in mind is, the Portuguese kitchen. No one outside of Portugal and maybe Spain has an idea about what the Portuguese kitchen actually is.


It is the richest kitchen I know, it can definitely not be compared to the German one. Apart from some really basic but still really nice stuff like soups, they have quite a few whole amazing meals and foods. Not even mentioning the unbelievable Portuguese pastelaria!!

The downside is: as a vegetarian, the only thing you’ll enjoy here, is the pastelaria. For all meat-eaters: welcome to heaven!

So, let me show you just a few favourites of mine, starting with actual meals (and I’ll probably forget half of the stuff):

Caldo Verde

This kale soup will be the best you ever ate, if you have the luck to taste it somewhere in Portugal / in a Portuguese kitchen. It also contains a bit of Chouriço, which is mentioned further down.

Sopa da Pedra

This soup is not for everyone. But for everyone with a great (non-vegetarian!!) taste.

Bacalhau com Natas

And basically every other bacalhau recipe. Bacalhau (English stockfish) is THE FISH here. There are over a hundred recipes. Not kidding, look it up!


I’m really not a fan of that kind of sausages usually. This actually reminds me of German Salami, and I don’t like that one very much. But Chouriço… Oh. My. God. Really.



Oh Bifana… So simple. Bread. Meat. Some sauce. And so delicious.



This is the first Portuguese dish I fell in love with. Has to be tried in the Porto area (my favourite can be found in Vila Nova da Gaia, just 10min on foot from Porto. This dish is usually served with fries and an egg on top – I prefer it this way like in the picture, more pure. And with toasts, sausage, meat, a lot of cheese and a ton of sauce, this dish alone is more than enough for me (and I can stomach a lot, trust me).


One of the first other meals I tried, after a friend’s recommendation. Totally different from anything I had ever eaten before, and loved it anyway. A very unique kind of “sausage” u won’t regret having tried, promise!

Cozido à Portuguesa

THE national dish. Apparently. Still waiting to try it, but so far I was never let down by a Portuguese suggestion! And I’ve gotten this one so many times. Unfortunately it is a bit expensive compared to the rest I usually eat when I eat out. I’ll have an opportunity with my parents in Porto I guess! =) It is supposed to be a mixture of a lot of pretty amazing typical Portuguese foods. Can’t wait!


Ahah, to be honest – I’m actually ONLY putting this up on here because my Portuguese friends made me swear to do it. I have never tried it in my life. It’s on my bucket list. So, trust my Portuguese friends on this one 😀

So, that’s it for now. And this is just the meals I can think of right now.

You haven’t even gotten me started about Portuguese pastelaria, and also drinks! Watch out for Part 2 and 3 coming soon=)

AMAZING healthier cake / bread thingy with chocolate AND avocado (oh yes)

Living Healthy With Chocolate

hey everyone,

once again i’d like to share a recipe with you! original credits definitely go to adriana from Living Healthy With Chocolate who made this absolutely awesome recipe for an avocado chocolate bread.

i decided i HAD to try this but did not want to buy some things, so i substituted some ingredients. honestly, i didn’t measure most of them, too but i mostly sticked to what adriana suggested

AND the result was DELICIOUS but really quite different from the original, so i made my own recipe. it also resulted more in a real cake than in a bread … but oh, i’m so gonna make this again some time soon!! and i really CAN’T believe that there’s no sugar aparty from that tiny bit of vanilla sugar and the one from the chocolate crumbles i used …

so, here comes my healthier cake / bread  thingy recipe ^^  have fun trying out my dears!!

  • 2 avocados, mashed
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 pck vanilla sugar
  • 2 tablespoons low fat butter (i used yoghurt butter)
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup (sliced) almonds
  • 2 cups spelt flour (next time will try with almond flour instead, didn’t have enough)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼- ½ cup raw cacao powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chocolate crumbles, or chips, whatever you like
  1. add the avocado to a food processor and pulse until creamy
  2. add the coconut oil, vanilla, butter, honey and eggs to the avocado and pulse to combine ingredients
  3. mix the almonds with the flour, baking soda, cacao powder, salt and chocolate crumbles in a large bowl
  4. combine wet and dry ingredients and mix gently with a rubber spatula. Do not over mix.
  5. spoon batter into a loaf pan or any cake pan. as the batter is pretty thick anyway it won’t melt away, i actually did it in half of a cake pan … just be sure to spread a little bit of fat (like with a tiny piece of butter) and maybe put some flour on it (for me a little butter worked very well)
  6. preheat oven at 350°F (175°C) and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, approximately 45 minutes
  7. to preserve freshness, place inside an airtight container and store in refrigerator (actually, i did not get to test this – it was eaten right away 😉 )

all new(?) and chicken survival soup recipe

oh my, i really haven’t posted for a pretty long time … life has simply been to busy – by FAR!

by now, i’m in 2nd year (yay for that!) of my dance education, i split up with my boyfriend, had to try to find someone new to live with etc etc etc. with my new schedule my time is extremely limited. i get up at 6.20am and come home by 10pm … monday to friday. oh yes.

in the meantime, i’ve really been busy with nutrition and cooking. i tried to cook a lot more (on the weekends at least) and tried a few new things. and i’ve also come to the conclusion, that i’ll eat whatever my body tells me to do. all the time. that doesn’t mean i’m eating a whole bar of chocolate if i want some, but one peace. during the time i quit completely on all of this i was unhappy and i did not even lose weight. since i started to listen to my body, i lost some pounds and am feeling SO WELL!

so, the only reason i have time to post something here today, is because i’m ill. again… anyway, wanted to share my “chicken survival soup” recipe with you,passed down from my dad 😉

i know, on the picture, it kinda lacks the “soup” – honestly, i have no idea where all the liquid had gone by that time! i made it, i ate one plate, and when i returned to the pot 2 hours later, it was suddenly missing at least half of the liquid … don’t ask me!



Chicken Survival Soup

1 boiler
250g soup noodles
soup greens
1 small ginger
beans or peas or whatever veggies you like

1 onion
3 allspice berries
1 bayleaf

put ginger, onion and half of soup greens into a big pot, divide the boiler at least by 2. fill the pot with water until nearly everything is covered. spice with salt, pepper, allspice berries and the bayleaf. cook for at least 1,5h.
take out chicken and separate meat from bones. strain the soup, put meat back into the soup. take out soup greens and crush them through a sieve over the soup. keep on cooking the soup, insert the 2nd half of soup greens and whatever veggies you want (regard their cooking time!). taste the soup, you might have to spice again (i tend to add too little salt). also add the soup noodles. cook until everything is ready.

enjoy! 🙂