3-6 April 2011
So, saying goodbye to Coimbra, Alyson and I headed up to Porto, our final destination. From there she would head back to Scotland and I would go home to Los Angeles via a brief layover in Madrid.
But I was glad to have saved Porto for last. Alyson had spent a summer working there, so she was the best tour guide–eager to show me her favorite spots and willing to go do all the things she’d missed the last visit. But even without her, Porto is the perfect city for a quick holiday, a jaunt to a magical land that felt so similar to the rest of Portugal, and yet, entirely its own.
Portugal was (and in some ways still) is divided into North and South. Different beers are drank in each region, different food is accentuated in each region (think tomatoes v. cabbage), and the Southerners can trace their ancestry to the Latin world, whereas the Northerners are more closely related to the Gauls.
As for Porto, it was originally an industrial city, spawning out of the great wine and Port industry of the Douro Valley. Whereas Lisbon had a more imperial feel, Porto feels more industrial. It is wonderfully picturesque, but everything has a purpose, a function. The people move around intent on their business. Porto is smaller than Lisbon, so it feels much more accessible in a short amount of time.
And of course, the ex-patriot in me loved all the art nouveau buildings and cafes strewn about.
But what did we do? More to follow.