I decided a while ago that I wanted to go to Porto. The TBU conference was held here this year, and after reading many positive reviews I knew I would probably love it.
Unfortunately, many people in Lisbon looked at me like I was crazy when I sai I wanted to spend 3 days there. ‘You’ll be bored after two’ was the common response.
I refused to be discouraged.
I took an evening train from Lisbon (30 euro, a bus is 19 euro and has wifi) and got into Porto around 10 o’clock. It was dark and it was raining. Considering I have seen very little rain so far during my trip, I was a bit disappointed. Then, I had a hard time figuring out the transit system.
I felt lost. I had also just left some of the most amazing friends in Lisbon, so I was feeling lonely. But, I refuse to have another massive cell-phone bill (read more about that here).
I found my way to The Spot Hostel in about an hour, but only after arriving at the quietest metro ever! I was petrified!
I got a good nights rest, and woke up the next day determined to explore no matter what the weather.
First, I had to go buy shoes. I left my hikers in Lisbon as I only brought a small bag for this portion of my trip. Silly girl. That’s okay though, I needed to buy more regular looking shoes anyway. I ended up buying a 25 euro pair of casual sneakers, an 8 euro umbrella, and 5 pairs of socks for 7 euro. Not too bad!
Then, I headed to the famous Majestic Cafe on Rue Santa Catarina.
It has been open since 1923, not having changed it’s interior since then. It was truly beautiful, and a nice break from the rain.
But, be warned, it is expensive! I had already been wandering around though, and needed a small bite too since the hostel served ham and cheese and bread for breakfast (fail!).
I decided to treat myself to an American style coffee and some scones with cream and jam. Healthy? Nope. But it was the least expensive thing on the menu.
Oh my, was it ever delicious. The scones were served hot, the jam came in a small glass jar, and the cream was so sweet. Heaven.
Armed with my umbrella, new shoes and a full stomach, I headed back to the hostel to pick up Andy (met him at Gspot he came along to Porto). We decided to head out and explore and grab some food. Thankfully the rain let up so despite the lack of sun it was warm and we were dry.
We saw some sights and got lost in the smaller streets of Porto. We walked by a restaurant and the woman saw us looking at the menu and invited us in. She was so pleasant! I had bacalhaul braga and it was excellent! It doesn’t look like much much believe me it was yummy!
For a glass of wine, my meal, some starter codfish thing (?) and a coffee I paid 8 euro! Not bad!
Next we just wandered down to the water front and took some photos. I wandered into a touristy port/olive shop and was very tempted to make a purchase! But I’m going to wait for the port tasting.
So far, I’m really enjoying Porto. The weather obviously makes it a bit more difficult to enjoy it, but so far I love the alternativeness of it. It’s less touristy, and I’m excited to visit the rua Miguel Bombarda area! Art galleries, cafes and book stores!
For those of you who know Alberta at all, Lisbon is the Calgary of Portugal, while Porto is like Edmonton. I think Porto is best appreciated over time, when you’ve had a chance to find the quirky cafes and hidden gems.