Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…drinking porto in Oporto

If there’s one thing that’s great about the Portuguese city of Porto, it’s that they make a lot of port. There are, admittedly, other good things, but let’s make it clear that that’s the best.

porto-panorama

It’s good, see, because the port city is both a port for ships and has a reputation for drinking port. It then calls itself Porto, or Oporto if you’re local, and you don’t know which it’s most proud of. Could you drink port in the Porto port of Portugal? Yes. And that’s what makes it great.

porto-night

Getting to Porto for me was also interesting, as I’d just found a rideshare website that lets strangers pay other strangers to drive them somewhere, generally somewhere they’re already going. I got in a car with three Spanish people who could barely speak English before being dropped at the bus station in Vigo, near the border.
porto-river
The other best thing about Porto, because it’s allowed to have lots of best things, is it’s ridiculous transportation methods. The city is a hilly one, so it’s effectively built on two levels. Can’t be bothered walking up the slope? Just take the cable car or that ridiculous funicular train, beside the wall that’s been built just to try to hide that stupid-looking track.

porto-cable-car
FUNicular
Of course, there’s also the water where you can put some silly looking boats and if you’re going to bridge the gap you’ll want a double-decker bridge, right? Right. Double-decker bridge. Then, just for good measure, have a huge road tunnel in the middle of town.

porto-boats

portoboats

porto-general

The riverside area is the most beautiful, with lots of what I think of as Dutch style architecture but Portuguese people might disagree with me. What would they know, though? Have they spent around a week in their country?

porto-plaza
porto-waterfront

Then you’ve got the mix of the olde- day buildings like the big cathedral I could see from my hostel window with modern glass constructions right beside them. There’s not much space left to spare, so you have to let them off with destroying photos like this one.

porto-cityview
When they could look more like this. And, yes, those buildings are covered in tiles like an extended bathroom wall.

porto-city

porto-cathedral

Bathroom or building exterior?

As well as the ridiculous building facades, the pride of the locals and their stupid-looking hats really took the biscuit.

Found it!

Looking back, Porto was ace. Maybe I should’ve spent more time there/in Portugal, but the initial plan was to explore Spain and it just made a nice sidetrack, plus added another country to this trip. Maybe next time.

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4 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    This looks like the best place you’ve been. I wish they put the effort into making places the best around here.

    I drank a bottle of port a week when I first moved to Edinburgh and a flatmate introduced me to the woody nectar. Then I forgot to ever drink it again.

    • Oliver says:

      When I moved into one of my places in Aberdeen there was a(n unopened) bottle of port there that my flatmate told me to drink. It was the first, I think, time I’d tried it and it hurt my gums.

      I hadn’t really remembered much about Porto other than ‘it was quite nice’ before I looked at my photos again and decided it was actually really nice. I wonder if I’m in for any more surprises soon.

  2. Jemma Porter says:

    I remember I wasn’t in the best frame of mind when I visited Oporto, either. I don’t think I even drank any port while I was there. You’d probably prefer Lisbon, btw. Strangely for an Iberian city there are actually some restaurants that sell vegetarian food. Shocker. If you ever decide to head there let me know, I’ll tell you some good places to get food that doesn’t have fish or chicken in it.

    • Oliver says:

      There was something I saw there that looked amazing, but it had meat. Is it a Portgual-wide delicacy or something they keep to themselves up north?

      Basically it was a meat toastie, with melted cheese on top (on top of the bread) all served in a bowl of gravy and maybe with a bunch of chips. I think it might be called a Francesinha. You know it?

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