Yes, when you are travelling with your full heart, sleep appears as the last thing you want to care about. And till you have energy for that, you are keeping on this rule. So, we woke up very early, had a fresh papaya breakfast, took a pleasant walk downhill to the bus station and sat down in our early bus from Coimbra to the North. After one hour and a half we finally put our feet on the Porto, second biggest city’s in Portugal, ground. It was Sunday, we expected a lot of things to be closed, so did not prepare any special plan. It was more about free hanging around and breathing air of the Port wine capital.
Which moments left me the biggest impressions?
• First of all we put a nose into the Porto São Bento train station, which was incredibly beautiful from inside with its spectacular game of azulejo tiles.
• Next point – Livraria Lello & Irmão bookstore. Remember when I mentioned J.K.Rowling while telling you about Coimbra? So this was just a small part of the story. Actually after big personal loss this women decided to make a fresh start in her life and came to Porto. She was working there as an english teacher. The draft for her first book she wrote in different bookstores and cafes of the city. And seems that a lot of time was spent as well there in Livraria Lello & Irmão. Due to this fact, even if the writer never confirmed that in public, it is common to think that staircase of this place gave an inspiration for the main stairs at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Actually Lello & Irmão in Porto is considered as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. And you know what is saddest about that? Just a small fact that I had only one day in Porto, and it was Sunday, the day when this museum-bookshop is closed. I had chance to have a look at it only from the windows. Doesn’t matter if you are crazy about Harry Potter or not, but this place is really very charming and definitely worth visiting.
• I really do not care, that all the masses of tourists are flowing to the same point – Ribeira part at the Douro river. Because the view is just spectacular: roofs and bridges, and colors, and river, and people, and sky, and birds, everything altogether makes the view magic. In the opposite side of river you can see another city – Vila Nova de Gaia, which is sheltering all those popular wine cellars, kindly opening their door for tastings.
• If you want some beautiful panoramic view – get on the Dom Luís bridge and have a look. I had a pleasure to watch the sunset from it. Breathtaking. Porto is known as City of bridges as well because there are 6 of them, crossing Douro river. Opposite side of the river doesn’t count as Porto anymore – there is another previously mentioned city Vila Nova de Gaia.
• It was around lunchtime when we crossed Dom Luís bridge and started approaching those popular wine cellars. Tradition to open the door for those who are interested in Portuguese wines appeared around 50 years ago and till nowadays is still alive. A lot of places are offering free tastings. But of course if you want to spend money – you can always very easy to find where to do that. We decided not to waste them unnecessarily and to explore everything without opening a wallet. Of course, we were not 100% lucky, because it was Sunday and a lot of places were closed. But from the other hand – it was enough. So we were hanging around in Vila Nova de Gaia from one cellar to another. We were able to try not only very different kind of wines, usually lead by various snacks, but as well to get the answers to all our questions. If you fell in love with any kind of wine – you could immediately buy a bottle of it straight there. And for those who are thinking that Portugal has only sweet Port wine and Madeira should be interesting to know, that there are much more of them and really good ones. Part of which you can experience right there in Vila Nova de Gaia. Just have a nice walk!
• During all the time in Portugal I wanted to listen that deeply melancholic traditional Lisbon born music Fado. But my heart just totally refused to pay for this touristic attraction. Luckily on the last evening in Porto I heard it. Just right there in the street. Of course without all the show elements. But for me was beautiful and was enough.
What I pointed out – were aspects, which left me the deepest memories in my mind. I think that Porto is one of those cities, where you can really feel that bohemian spirit. But of course – you need time for everything. One day – it is just a smelling around.