I have heard so much from my classmates about Oporto (Spanish for Porto). As we are mostly foreign students here in Spain, part of the experience is to travel around Europe and neighboring Portugal is an easy stop.
To begin, we flew from Barcelona to Porto on the first day of summer – 20 June. That day, the weather prediction in Porto was rain and the next day, more rain. So that very next day of Thursday, we decided to travel to Lisboa where the weather was warmer after which the remaining two days will all be Porto.
We stayed in Spot Hostel. Judging from the interiors and facilities, it is fairly new.
It is actually two years old and the exact date of its birth is the password of their Wifi network: spot08052010.
That Friday, we have set to walk about the city center to find the bookstore Lello & Irmão. It is on my list of places to see in Porto since my casera informed me of this libreria preciosa. She was beside me while I was in front of my laptop and she urged me to google this library in Porto since she has forgotten the name. The moment I saw the pictures, I have blurted out it looks like from the Harry Potter movies.
I have taken several photos already when a bookstore personnel told me picture-taking is not allowed. I then climbed the stairs and cannot resist the urge to sneak in a shot of the stairs. I mean look at it! I couldn’t take no for an answer.
After I took this shot, another personnel from the second floor told me pictures aren’t allowed and so then I obliged. I have been told twice already but happy I was able to take souvenir shots. 😉
We walked about the city.
Noticed that Portuguese display their flags everywhere with pride.
Typical of their churches also are the blue tiles that adorn the outer facade.
The Café Majestic was near our hostel. It’s the only one of its kind now, a cafeteria with Belle Epoque interiors. I’m contented enough just to see it. No plans of ordering coffee. Expensive coffee by the way.
From the city center, we took a bus to going to the beach.
I didn’t enjoy it all because the wind was blowing ever fiercely. Blown sand hurts!
I didn’t get the tan line I wanted, boo..
We decided to go back to the hostel. They are screening live in their bar the quarterfinals between Germany and Greece.
In the hostel you can sign up for dinner. That night they were serving Francesinha which is a sandwich with different meats inside such as sausage, ham and steak covered with molten cheese in tomato beer sauce with servings of french fries.
I wasn’t able to take a picture. The Euro Cup game was priority that time haha. There were 2 German guys watching the game with us. I even asked them if they are putting in Gomez at the second half cos he wasn’t in the starting lineup. Germany’s coach, Joachim Löw, put him in only during the last 10 minutes of the game. Couldn’t help but squeal. The Germans were sort of like cheering me on hearing me shriek in delight. The blonde one even asked if I could see the screen well cos he was in front of me. Germany didn’t need Gomez’s help that much as they were able to score 4 goals already sealing their place in the semifinals. Woohoo!!! Great last night at the hostel. I also downed two beers – Super Bock which was a local Portuguese brand.
That Saturday’s itinerary, our last day, was to do the Porto Wine Tasting Tour and walk by the city center to get a souvenir.
Before that, we grabbed breakfast from the pantry.
And these are the events we were to miss that night: the quarterfinals match between Spain and France and the night’s festivities of San Juan.
Flight back to Spain was 7:25PM. That’s why.. 😦
Anyway the order of the day is the Porto Wine Tour.
For €6 you get to ride a vintage tram going to the other side of the Duoro River, Vila Nova de Gaia, where the wine cellars are that include free wine-tasting. The tram will then go back and tour you within the city center.
I love the red wine. It is strong with a sweet aftertaste. Perfect with cheese! Made me crave for cheese afterwards.
More of the city.
We spent the remaining free time we had that afternoon by the Praça da Ribeira. The Ribeira Square is part of the historical center in the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I had a superb time! We’ve seen most of Porto and this time I didn’t feel we left out anything (unlike in Lisboa with the Palacio da Pana).
I prefer Oporto from Lisboa because this northern city just feels more vibrant to me. Lisboa sure still holds its own with its rich architecture and is also one of the oldest cities in the world. This concludes my Portugal trip. I learned a lot. Even learned how to count one to ten in Portuguese courtesy of an eleven-year old girl in the plane sitting next to us. I love how the letter “s” is pronounced in Portuguese, the sound is “sh.”
Oh and by the way, Spain won versus France 2-0. Woohoo! The pilot even announced it when Spain made the first goal to the cheers of the passengers. 😉 This means I am watching tonight’s semifinals between Portugal and Spain. Todos con la roja!!!