Oporto, thank you for being so pretty and welcoming and allowing me to confirm my love for you!
After not travelling for eight months, due to lack of time because of university and work, I got four days off and decided it was time to hit the road again one last time before heading to my Europe solo trip. Seriously, I deserved these days of freedom, fun and wandering around in such a beautiful city.
I slept two hours, woke up at 4am and was out of the door by 5am to get a taxi and catch the earliest train at 5.30. But of course no trip goes without a bump or two, and I immediately got mine as I realized way too late that I was in the wrong train and missed the right one for my stupidity. I was a little annoyed with myself, since I catch the train at this station every single day, but I was way too sleepy to make a scene and yell at myself about this. Took the next train, caught the metro and bought my tickets.
With an hour to kill I went to get a second breakfast and sat outside waiting. As usual (because apparently I’m a magnet to creeps) a guy sat next to me and really got under my skin because all I wanted was to get on the bus and have some beauty sleep and he was annoyingly trying to sell me weed. Aren’t these people suppose to be sleeping at 7am?? Guess not..
Arrived in Oporto with a smile on my face. Bought some sweets and walked in search for a tourist point. Found it in a blink of an eye! It really is true that once you’re alone in an unknown city, every small conquest feels like pure victory!
I decided to play tourist and spoke with the man in English and asked for tips. He immediately gave me a full itinerary with cool places I should go and since I hadn’t planned my trip I left with a smile of appreciation and started walking around the city.
Made my first stop at Batalha Monastery but really didn’t get in the place. I was rather impressed with the views over the city and as I was holding my camera (which I hadn’t used for so long) I had this small moment of happiness for being there.
Decided to avoid using the map just yet – I wanted to explore a little of the streets first – I went down some stairs not really knowing where I was heading. Best decision ever! Felt like I was in Italy to be fair, with cute little buildings in a million colors.
I’m a watcher you know? I love just sitting at some bench and simply look at what other others are doing and how they act. This small moment I take to myself is what makes me feel like I belong to the place; it’s about not always having a place to go or wanting to see something, but stopping and taking a big look around me and what’s going on. So I sat by the river, when out of nowhere I hear someone calling my name…A friend from Lisbon I hadn’t seen in four years was sitting right next to me. How weird is that? Gotta love coincidences!
After finding out the friend I was staying with didn’t really live in the center, but like 20km away, I went to ride the metro which I faced as a new challenge – getting to my friend without getting lost -, and one that I completed with success, all because I was repetitively asking people the way. I even had help at the ticket machine (this one is embarrassing since I was at my own country but apparently the machines in Lisbon and Oporto appeared too different for me to understand it).
Funny thing: as I was heading to the metro station, I saw a person being rescued from hole she had fallen into. Found this hilarious since I was trying to imagine how the hell did she got down there!!
As I met my friend who I had missed a lot after not seeing her for months, we went to have lunch that actually cost me 5€ dish and drink. Can I stay here forever, please?
Before heading off to the center again, my friend made me put on some make-up and change clothes since she said I looked like I was going to sky the mountains. Gotta love honest friends!
I was solo again for a a few hours and can I say I don’t mind being alone at all? This trip was the best of both worlds: I was able to walk solo and go everywhere I wanted, but for a part of it I had great company (a perfect balance of 50/50).
When I’m alone I tend to spend money in stupid ways, and this time was no exception – I walked into a place to buy a simple coffee and ended up with a chocolate muffin and a hot chocolate!! I spent a lot of time convincing myself I deserved that expensive snack…and I did! Didn’t I?
By night we went to get some typical Portuguese food and decided we were going to have a night to forget all our life’s problems and were going to have some fun. Let’s just say the restaurant’s worker had to clean sangria out of my friend’s jeans, so you can imagine how this went down.
Even though I had only slept two hours, we still went to the bars downtown to drink some Gin andSumersby. Not sure if you know this, but apparently people in Oporto in their 30s and 40s go out!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many older people hitting the bars for a few drinks and a chat with friends. Found this amazing!!! Seriously, life in Oporto impressed me a lot!
By the end of the night we were exhausted and I was thrilled to finally find the bed waiting for me. I fell asleep in an instant, but couldn’t have been happier for making the decision to visit this place.