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Portugal - Porto

On the way to Porto

Travel is always very rewarding, as long as we are open to the unexpected.


This morning, while driving towards Porto, I see two huge backpacks on the side of the road. Two backpacks? No, it's more like two young Germans who are quietly traveling around the world. Emmie and Joschka, nothing, really nothing can stop them. They began their journey in 2020. Remember,... 2020. They had to navigate health regulations while traveling from one continent to another on a shoestring budget. Real adventurers.


How to cross the ocean when you have no money? Well, you board a cruise ship which repositions itself in another part of the world depending on seasonal demand. This is how they crossed the Atlantic like rich retirees. Two weeks on a transatlantic, food, swimming pool, sun, all for less than €400 per person.


Arriving in the Caribbean, they continued to travel by hitchkicking around the marinas, to travel from one island to another, from one country to another, by sailboat. They visited several islands and learned navigation at the same time.


After four years of absence, they are now on their way back and I had the privilege of traveling with them from Nazaré to Aveiro.



Nazaré

Nazaré being on my way, I stopped for a few minutes to admire the beach and the calm sea.


Calm, it is today, but that is not always the case.



Last month, a German surfer, Sebastian Steudtner, surfed the largest wave ever measured, 28.57 meters (93.73 feet). He's fearless, this one. The water temperature was 15°C, (59°F). So he must have had frozen toes among other things.



Porto

To limit costs, I stay in Espinho, a small town located south of Porto.


From there, I take the train to Porto so I can admire the landscape along the railway line, avoid prohibitive parking fees and test the famous European trains that we hear so much about.


After 30 minutes in a clean and comfortable city train, I arrive and I am ecstatic. Who knew a train station could be so beautiful.



Between Porto and Montreal.... the choice is easy.



The Lives of the Rich and Famous

I was highly recommended to visit Café Majestico.


It is a historic café opened in 1921. Its importance comes both from the cultural atmosphere that surrounds it, in particular the tradition of the “rendezvous café”, where various personalities from cultural life met and artistic aspect of the city, as well as its Art Nouveau architecture.


J. K. Rowling, whose books and ideas I love, wrote the first book in the now world-famous Harry Potter series there.

credit Fofo et Sitomon 



Except... I forgot and ended up at the most beautiful McDonald's in the world instead.


Make no mistake, I'm not a fan of fast food but I like beautiful things and, when I passed this building, I had to stop and admire.



Its predecessor, the famous Café Impérial, closed its doors in 1995 and was bought by McDonald's who decided to keep the decoration, stained glass windows and chandeliers.

McDonald's has even gone a step further by offering traditional Porto dishes such as the famous Pasteis de Nata, or Portuguese tartlet popularized by the famous for some, infamous for others, Horacio Arruda.


       


Porto, it is also the facades of buildings covered with ceramic tiles. 



In Porto, we drink... Port wine


There's nothing like sitting on a terrace and tasting the fruit of the vine... especially after walking, nay, climbing, for a few hours in the streets of the city.


             

Porto is also works of art, at every turn. These gentlemen, sitting in a park, seem to be having fun...



Finally, Porto is also a welcoming city perched on the steep banks of the Douro River, which flows into the ocean here. I'll tell you more about it in the next post...


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