Sam’s Travel Journal: Porto
Two moments of pure terror characterised my first day in Porto. The first, an attack at lunchtime. Callously and suddenly they struck. All for a fry, or a nibble of my burger; their grubby pecks had me recoiling. The pigeons in Porto are next level! They don’t give a shit (but they do shit, and a lot). It’s a relief that the people are much more wholesome, and some of the friendliest people I’ve met!
My second moment of fear: the Dom Luis I bridge! Recently I seem to have acquired an impractical fear of heights. So walking across a wet grate in the rain, 45m in the sky, in the middle of the night may not have been the best idea for this fear. My aversion to bridges has me tending to avoiding crossing them in most of my trips. Perhaps that’s why I’m so good at burning them? The view is great, at any time of the day. You just don’t see me shaking when I’m taking that picture, which is a good thing.
I had always envisaged this trip as a cheap time kill, but it ended up being the best £40 I’ve spent. The city of Porto is gorgeous. Lots of viewpoints and lots of pretty buildings. Tiles be everywhere. Part of my enjoyment of the place is that I’m still getting over the shock of Morocco. That may have heightened things a bit (or a lot).
Porto has lots of churches and a few towers. I spent the most time queueing for my €4 ticket to Livraria Lello. It’s a bookshop that *may* have been the inspiration for Harry Potter (JK Rowling taught English here for a bit, and would come here). But the only thing I found here was a cool €1 from the coin locker. People do not know how to use refundable lockers. The shop is nice but there’s as many tourists as there are books. Plus the books are real used, like out of a Borders store.
The food in Porto is awesome. But don’t think I thrust myself into all kinds of exotic, local delicacies. I don’t eat seafood for one (the main thing here), and local dishes like this sandwich in tomato sauce didn’t have much appeal for me. So, yeah I drowned myself in nata. Eggy, custardy and hot as they give it you moments from the oven. My saturated fat intake went up as much as my happiness did. I did go to a cool restaurant called Cruel that does wacky food like beef carpaccio which taste altering flowers. I’m glad it didn’t end up like that one time in Amsterdam. You taste different things after your mouth is numbed, it’s novel, heh.
Despite the lies of Instagram, 50% of my time was sunny and the other 50% was overcast and rain. I may have been lucky, April is a notoriously wet season for Portugal. London right now is amazing actually – a spicy 21-26 degrees (until the weekend when it turns crap lol). So London. I spent the final day in Porto checking out a few buildings, the stock exchange, countless churches (how devout am I?). But I probably ended up spending the most time in Ale Hop, a discount chain store that’s also in the airport, meaning I went another bonus round. So much unnecessary things.
Ryanair was terrible, both flights were delayed and didn’t get home until 2.30am. I was so out of at the airport that the ePassport machine wouldn’t recognise my face and then I had to line up at manual security. I may have not opened my eyes? But home is home and it’s good to be back, even for a bit. Next: a little trip a new big trip!