Have you ever missed a place so much you can’t get it off your head? You keep thinking of that cute restaurant around the corner of your hostel that serves really great bacalhau. And that uphill street filled with local shops selling gorgeous earrings and bracelets.
Missing is definitely something everyone has felt, but I have never wanted to go back to a place as much as Porto. I’m obviously under some sort of Porto spell, the place is too magical to be forgotten. Heck, I even spilled a tear when my plane took off to my next destination! I may also have been a little crazy with my sharing pictures on all my social media channels on Porto.
Why? Why you may ask, why am I so crazy about this city?
Let me tell you why.
Porto is small. I love small cities, it’s more compact, easily reached by foot and you “become a local” so much easier when you’re in a small city. People tend to be more friendly in smaller cities. In this case, it was proven. However, even though it’s a small city, you can easily be exhausted by the hilly streets. It was something I like secretly since I felt like I was working out, going up a steep hill. Going down the hill seemed like a price after sweating from going up. So fun isn’t it?
Every corner of the city is picture perfect. I am not kidding. Take a random street, and you will see beautifully faded coloured houses with clothes hanging from its windows. Sometimes flowers and hanging plants are put outside to add more beauty. If you’re lucky you’ll also see some street arts, it’s so much more fun seeing street arts in Porto since it’s actually illegal to do it unlike in Lisbon. Still, these artists brighten the city in some hidden spots.
The trams are exquisite. Once I took a tram along Porto’s Douro river. The tram is vintage as if it has been preserved from the past. As the tram speed up, I enjoyed the sound of the engine with the wind blowing on my face and the smell of food along the way. Perfect in every way. As I went back from one corner to another, I remember at one stop a kid decided to join us at the back of the train, without the driver knowing. He held tight on to the railing at the back, I looked at him, he looked back as if saying “Sssh! Don’t tell!”. I kept quiet, it was our little secret, me and this little stranger. It was this kind of little interaction that I keep getting in Porto that makes me fall for the city.
Like so many places in Portugal, tiles are especially popular. The churches in Porto are beautifully decorated with these tiles. I am not used to having tiles being put outside buildings. Aren’t they supposed to be inside a building, better yet usually I see them in toilets. But, in Porto, with these churches, it just works, magically and wonderfully works.
The neighbourhood near the river is amazing. “Please follow me or you’ll get lost!” said Pedro my free walking tour guide that day. If I wasn’t in a group, I would so get lost in this neighbourhood. I mean, why not? The dark aisles with gorgeous brick and stone walls. Then the uber small restaurants where old men were gathering drinking afternoon beer and enjoying their fried snacks, their laughter filling the small street. Then there were these small street signs which looked like they were individually crafted with orange and blue tiles. It’s like a labirin in there, and who doesn’t love labirin if it was this beautiful!
Porto is a city made for lazing around. You will see so many open-spaced small restaurants and cafés all over the city as if asking you to come and sit and enjoy the seducing atmosphere of Porto. I did that, too many times. I didn’t feel like I was wasting my time eating and drinking while absorbing the city, I felt like it was what I was meant to do.
So now, you tell me how am I supposed to forget and move on from a place like that? I can’t, I just simply cannot. A blissful encounter with you Porto, I promise there will be more of you in the future.
Have you ever been addicted to a city before? Do tell!