A Portuguese resident of Luxembourg who for decades believed he had never left his home country actually has been living in Esch-sur-Alzette for the past 30 years, according to sources.
In 1988, Tiago Carneiro moved from Lisbon to a town he believed was “just north of Braga,” as everyone around him spoke Portuguese and because the -sh sound in Esch sounds Portuguese.
However, last week during a drive to a new supermarket, Carneiro missed an exit, got lost, and found himself crossing into France.
“Ai, meu deus,” he said before returning home to consult a map. “Ai, meu deus,” he again said when he learned the shocking truth.
Experts warn against rushing to judgment, as hundreds of indicators led the man to believe he was still in his homeland.
“He lived and worked in a Portuguese neighborhood, surrounded by Portuguese shops and Portuguese people,” said Matilde Mestre, a professor of psychology at the University of Wiltz. “It’s no different than the famous case of the sausage vendor who lived his whole life in Wasserbillig thinking it was in Germany, or the woman from Steinsel who believed she was an apple.”
However, one of the man’s friends says a few years ago Carneiro did harbor a doubt.
“He asked what that strange language was so many people were speaking these days, and I said, oh, that’s Luxembourgish,” said the friend. “And he said, wonderful, first the British colonize our beaches in the south, and now the Luxembourgers want our towns in the north.”