BOM DIA peepps. I finally made it to Portugal, the last stop on this part of my trip. After the absolutely wonderful, but insanely busy time in the Middle East, I’ve been looking forward to relaxing for bit (and also not paying 50 million dollars for a drink).. which makes Porto the perfect first stop :)
The best way for me to describe Porto is pretty, yet understated. It’s absolutely gorgeous, yet grungy; colorful, yet dreary.. it’s laid-back, unpretentious, and has some of the same inspirational beauty of Barcelona and the Bohemian spirit of Berlin…it’s pretty and cheap and wonderful :)
I’ve loved walking down the narrow streets, tilting my head back, and looking up at the buildings which have some of the most beautiful facades and balconies i’ve ever seen.. (LIFE LESSON: you miss a lot when you go thru life walking with your head down!!1)
I’ll admit, Porto is a little rough on the outside, but it has tons of character, as well as exquisite characters living within the city :) Like the city, they’re a bit grungy, with some scruff and tattoos.. which i definitely dig :) I’ve been couchsurfing with a super cool guy, Bruno, a Porto native who owns his own business and works at a fun bar in downtown Porto on the weekend.. he was extremely smart, amazingly generous, and a wonderful chef/grill master who made us some delicious dinners :) (don't worry, i'll repay his kindness when he visits NYC.. I'll be waiting!!)
Despite just moving into a new apartment which has a beautiful view of the city from the top of his roof (especially when the sun was setting!) he kindly offered to host me and a bunch of other beautiful ladies from Rebecca, Jenny, Olga, and Paulina (From Germany and Poland) aka the Girl Gang who i absolutely adored!
Since the weather was shit the first few days I was here, the girls and I spent a lot of time chatting and laughing indoors, which was nice since i haven’t had a lot of girl time in recent months (CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THE TRIFECTA PERFECTA & MY QUEENS LUNCH CREW!!) They were about 18-21, which made me REALLY feel like my age at certain times... We did shots of tequila (oivey!), drank outside by the Riberia, and danced in crowded clubs (i definitely felt like a momma bear, shooing away all the creeps) which brought back a ton of memories from my first solo trip in Europe when I was 19… it was nice to reminisce but it also made me appreciate (and feel relieved!) to be at a different stage in life where there are less shots, but more wineeeee.. perfect since i just turned 26 :)
Speaking of wine (and getting old.. and we all know wines get better with age!) there was absolutely no way I was going to miss a trip to the Douro Valley aka the Port making region of the world
I took the train to Pinhao, a pretty port producing town to do a few tastings. The train ride itself was absolutely stunning—it goes right along the Douro River, offering very scenic views of the river and valley. I could not stop taking photos.
When I got to the small town, I made my way straight to Quinta do Bomfim.. while I admittedly am not a huge fan of ports (they are way to sweet for my taste), the ones I tasted were amazing… They also taught me that ports are produced when the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente is added to wine in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content (#themoreyouknow) I had about 3 glasses, got a little tipsy, and wandered into town for a delicious fish lunch (which was only 6 firkin euros.. SO CHEAP!!!)
I’ve had a fantastic time here and I’m sad a bit sad to leave.. but I'm excited to go to Coimbra, a student city that's supposed to be absolutely beautiful.. and turn 26!!! (AHHH!)