How I Love Port Towns!
02.01.2009 - 03.01.2009
Porto is the second biggest city in Portugal, but it's not even really that big! It had a small-town feel to it, there were churches everywhere. We were reminded quite often that Portugal still holds many traditional values, one of them being that they are a catholic country, but this just added to the old world feel that I absolutely loved. In general though, I'm a huge fan of port towns, they're always so fresh and have seagulls flying all over (which remind me of Santa Barbara back home!). Once again, we continued couchsurfing and had another wonderful experience with Miguel, who showed us all about family values in his culture. I loved the kind of relationship he had with his family and how welcome they all made us feel even though they could hardly communicate with us. Unfortunately, we only had one full day to explore the city since I had to get back by the 3rd and taking a bus from Portugal to France, while being really cheap, also takes quite a while.
We woke up really early and went out to explore the town, we saw churches, the river, great views of the city and the other side of town, which is technically a part of Porto, but almost it's own little town.
Some of the cathedrals...
Sé do Porto
This is the view from the Sé do Porto... One of the best!
We wandered through the narrow streets, took the bridge and went to the other side of town...
We looked around for something to eat and since by now we'd had nothing but meat to eat for two weeks, aside from the one vegetarian meal in Madrid, we skipped out on a traditional meal and ordered some salads, which was a big mistake. I don't think the Portuguese believe in salads.
Upon our return, our wonderful host took us out to eat, walk around the city and shake a tail feather.
The next morning, before catching our bus, Miguel wanted us to try the most typical/traditional Portuguese snack. He said it was their take on the french Croque Monsieur. It's called a Francesinha. It's pretty much a meat sandwhich covered in cheese and meat sauce. It was really heavy and I can't believe I somehow ate it all.
And with that lunch our travels finally ended. Spain and Portugal for two weeks was an unforgettable experience. Leaving France made me realize how hungry I am to discover other cultures because everything the locals do in each country is so different than France and so much fun in its own way. It made me conscious of how much more I want to travel. I really loved Portugal and I can't even exactly tell you why. It somehow felt so good to be there. Things were cheap (at least cheaper than France), the topography of the city was so animated- there's no such thing as "flat" space and I guess it's the most exotic place I've been so far. That said, I think I may have left my heart in Portugal.