What is a Mafalda?

Where are we now?

I organized a Portuguese car tour with Mafalda. “But what is Mafalda?” you might ask.

Mafalda is an iconic comic book character from Argentina created by cartoonist Joaquín Salvador Lavado, better known as Quino. His story was first published in 1964 and ran until 1973. Mafalda is a six-year-old girl who reflects on the Argentine middle class and progressive youth. He is known for his concern for humanity and world peace, and often deals with complex issues with an innocent yet serious attitude. Mafalda likes politics, but he doesn’t like soup.
Mafalda has been described as a masterful satire and has been compared to other comic book characters such as Charlie Brown, but with a distinct South American perspective and rebellious nature. The character has had a lasting impact on popular culture and continues to be celebrated for his insightful commentary on society and politics.


Somewhere in the early 90s, a Portuguese couple decided to bring the cartoon character to life, and this operation was a remarkable success. Mafalda F. was born, who can be a warning example that what has been drawn once can become reality at any time. You can see it yourself; the resemblance is uncanny.

 Spot the difference!

Spot the difference!

This Mafalda has two cats and a Filipe. She is co-owner of a hostel with his Filipé on a tiny island called Sao Miguel, where I stayed in 2018. At the time he had no idea what a huge mistake he was going to make by letting me stay there for 3 months. The first picture in my Azores photobook is an eternal reminder of his mistake.

In our long-distance friendship, we meet every two or three years. The last time I saw them was two years ago, when they made the mistake of visiting Budapest in cold winter, but dressed for the mild weather of the Portuguese. That’s when it turned out that this Mafalda doesn’t like Unicum instead of soup.

This time I convinced her to come with me on a trip to explore the coast of Portugal. In the following stories you will witness her searching for the hidden beauty of her natural habitat, enjoying and/or regretting her latest decision in life to be my driver as my driver’s license is still in the making… I fed her well so that she would tolerate my company and smile.

The plane left Budapest one hour late. I’ve flown to Lisbon several times, but I always forget that it’s a four-hour journey. Mafalda was waiting at the airport and rainy weather, which I was definitely happy about after the dry air conditioning of the plane. We took over the rented car, which turned out to be a hybrid Fiat 500. We sat down in a restaurant called Honest Green, where you can only order healthy food, had a good meal, and at eleven in the evening we arrived at his parents’ country, which is twenty kilometres south of Lisbon. Our tour of a few days starts from here.

Stay with me, and I’ll tell you stories about oceans and beaches, parks, painters and poets in the next fourteen stories. We will immediately continue our explorations with the most beautiful ocean coast…