We didn’t taste Port in Porto, but still got hung over
When you visit Porto you have to taste the famous Port wine everybody says. Well, we didn’t because we were hung over in the worst kind of way.
It was very cold when we were in Porto. Colder then we thought. Before our trip we booked a hostel and didn’t want to spend to much money on it. That was not the best choice we made this trip. It was only 6 degrees outside, but inside the hotel it was literally freezing. I’m just a little bit allergic to dust, but when I entered the room I got into some kind of allergic hyperventilating state. I blamed it on a cold and thought it would be better after a brisk walk, so off we went.
Porto is a magnificent city to discover by foot. The second largest city of Portugal is known for it’s beautiful bridges, narrow streets and medieval centre where you can find one of the most famous bookstores in the world: Livraria Lello & Irmão.
When we arrived there was a line of tourist that wanted to visit the bookstore. Policy was one in one out, so we can say it was a bit busy. Inside we could see why. It’s a stunning book store where you can buy English books as well as Portuguese ones. The stairs in the middle and the usage of wooden creates a real ‘Harry Potter atmosphere.’ No wonder J.K. Rowling spend her time here when she taught English in Porto.
If you like colours Porto is the place to be. São Bento railway station is worth a visit. The main hall is covered with azulejos, typical Portuguese painted ceramic tilework. The blue tiles are found on the interior and exterior of churches, palaces, ordinary houses, schools etc. In this railway station you can find 20.000 of them! The tiles show scenes of the history of Portugal.
When you walk down to the riverside you will find the Ribeira neighbourhood. The colourful houses, narrow streets and the smell of delicious Portuguese food makes this a must-see part of town. Just like in the train station there are a lot of azulejos to see here too. The houses look stunning with their iron made balconies and laundry blowing in the wind. We could wander here al day. Some parts of the neighbourhood look really neglected though. But the city is busy to renovate and restore these parts.
To take better pictures of the Ribeira riverside we had to cross a bridge. On the other side of the river we bought roasted chestnuts (careful, they are addictive).
On this side of the river you can take a cable car that will cost you just a few euros. From here the view on Porto is the best. It isn’t a very long ride but it saves you a lot of time walking uphill.
Trying to make things better
We had dinner and in the evening we got back to the hostel. It was still freezing. There were only two very dusty blankets and it felt like my eyes were popping out of my skull because of the allergic reaction to dust. We don’t like to complain because we know these thing happen when you book the cheapest hostel, but we can try to make it better. My boyfriend went to the hostel owner and asked for another heater (we had a portable one in the room and figured we could get an extra one as we were the only guests.) The woman suddenly stormed into our room, waved her arms in the air and said: ‘It is not cold at all!’ The fact that she was wearing a winter jacket inside the ‘warm hotel room’ was to be ignored. With no extra heater, dusty blankets and a bottle filled with hot water in the bed we went to sleep.
Thankfully Porto is a great place to wander and outside was far better than inside.
We walked a little and climbed a tower called Torre dos Clérigos. You can see the tower everywhere in the city, and you can see the entire city from the top.
When it started raining we thought we should visit a museum or something like that. The railway museum was closed so we ended up in the ‘World of Discoveries.’ An interactive museum that’s all about the history of Portugal, Porto and what life is like on a boat. After the tour through the museum you can take a theme park boat ride. You get headphones to listen to the story told in your own language. The voice didn’t warn me for the alligator though! We had so much fun here.
Beer and beer and beer and shots and beer
In the evening we celebrated our cool trip so far with a beer or two, three, four. When we wanted to go home after dinner an older couple asked why we hadn’t see the nightlife yet and pointed us in the right direction. Another couple of beers later we really had to go back to the hostel, but then we met Peter and Manuel. We ended up drinking more beer and more and more people joined our group, there were shots and more beer. After midnight somebody suggested to go clubbing. We did. The club scene was unexpectedly cool although I don’t remember were it was. If you want to know just ask around on the streets, that’s what we did.
The next morning we woke up in our shabby, dusty and cold hostel. We wanted to rent a scooter that day but we ended up filling bottles of warm water to put in our bed and cold water for ourselves. This was the worst hangover we ever had. We couldn’t do a thing. Around one o’clock we got a message from Peter and Manuel, they missed their flight home. So check out the club scene in Porto because it’s awesome. But don’t be like us.
The last day of our tip we had to catch the plane home in the afternoon. Feeling guilty about our hangover we decided to make the most of this day. We woke up reall early to rent a scooter. The sun was shining and we drove around Porto for a couple of hours, along the beach and through little villages. It was one of the best mornings ever. Feeling a little bit less guilty, we caught our plane home a few hours later.