A burning light came over, which prompted “Be careful, watch your way, but dare to dream big.”
A volcano in red… Icelandic volcano turned flights across Europe upside down.
This article is not merely about the sights of interest in Porto, not even about the list of all the possible touristic sights. But it’s more about the feeling this incredible city transmits, which I experienced on the deepest level and which hopefully will transfer to you with a lingering promise of more to be discovered.
It was April 2010, a beautiful springtime exuding a bloom of love and courage…courage that helped me to stand still and not lose heart in front of the volcano consequences. My trip to Porto had been organized since March, before the volcanic eruption in Iceland. For many years, Portugal intrigued me as an exotic country. A land bordering with Spain, but differing in its forms and tastes. By that time, a cheap European airline proposed an affordable solution to fly directly to Porto. So, I purchased the air ticket one month in advance. But later on, about a week before my trip, a volcano erupted in Iceland, which plumed unhealthy elements in the air and which caused a considerable list of cancellations in European flights. Even though the Icelandic volcano disrupted many flights across Europe, I had reorganized the schedules of my flights just a couple of days before my trip to Porto.
On April 22, I was finally in Porto breathing in the warm exotic Portuguese fragrance. My first impression about the locals was that they were encased in their very own thoughts and daily routine, which was somehow nostalgic. The magnitude of nostalgia seemed to have been inherited by the history of their country. And the historic buildings like Casa da Câmara intertwined with dolor of its people.
The morning following my arrival in Porto, I opened the window, and the view from the hilltop Hotel was contrastingly shocking: the exotic green trees intermingled with the old and in some parts, the dilapidated buildings created an image of poorly-rich Porto:
But the abundance of strange green helped me to get a better feeling of where I was at that moment.
As I went out, walking through the steep streets, I got the feeling that the Portuguese people have no idea how to accommodate their transport accurately in those curved streets:
While in most of my previous trips, I had a sketched plan on where to go, what to see, and what to taste, this time I merely walked around like a vagabond, with no specific plan in my head. This kind of freedom gave me a chance to spot the fancy ornaments on the walls and more prominent wall arts in blue.
This one turned out to be my absolute favorite one, which I believe will delight the eyes of many travelers and simply short-time visitors:
Step by step, I walked through the mythical Porto and noted deep meanings in all kinds of architectural constructions and sculptures. If you ever heard about Port wine, you may want to know that it was born in the Douro valley, exactly where the magnetic Porto lies beautifully. Generally speaking, the city of Porto is famed for wine tourism. Statues like this childish one with vines perfectly illustrate this:
As promised initially, I am not going to list must-see places in Porto. Nevertheless, if you are on a brief visit like mine, these sights are suggested to be witnessed, to get an authentic image of the mystical Porto:
Foz do Douro- this is where the River Douro meets the Atlantic Ocean…
Casa da Câmara- the old Municipal Building
Ah yes, do not forget to capture a Portuguese tram:)
And the list can be continued… But the rest I leave it on your taste…
Once I went back to the Netherlands after the extreme vacation in Porto, I felt that the city had touched me in a way that is hard to describe. After my trip, I discovered that it’s not only me left in that state: many of my friends, who have visited Porto, have been enticed so deeply that they wished to return there over and over again. This city is like a magnet, unseen force that enslaves in its frontiers, without giving a sign on how and when you have been attracted to it.