oporto apparently isn’t for everyone

Oporto, Portugal is beautiful but its not, evidently, for everyone. When deciding between a visit to either Oporto/Porto or Lisboa/Lisbon, I took a quick poll and never got a straight answer. Lisboa got generally glowing reviews but many were split on their opinions of Oporto. I heard reviews of a dirty, dark and rundown city while others claimed it was charming and a trip back in time (“its like Spain was 50 years ago”). I made the decision to go there the same way I make all of my decisions: I ignore all the advice I’ve been given and go with whatever’s cheapest. I definitely don’t regret my decision (though I still want to go to Lisbon someday) and figured out that Oporto is pretty much what everyone says about it. For me, that’s awesome.

The weather (and my health) were not cooperating the first day so we took it easy on the sight seeing. It rained and rained but I loved it. It made the city dark and mysterious and there’s also no better feeling when you’re sick than being inside, cozy in bed, knowing you’re not missing anything out there in the world.

Once it cleared up, we (and everyone else and their mom) came out of our hidey holes and took a look around in the sun.

The rocky beaches were beautiful and we took a break to grab a cup of coffee (only 1€ with a view of the ocean! – I’ve been charged 3€ in Madrid for a coffee with a view of a dumpster).

The food was cheaper than in Spain (which is pretty affordable, generally), so we (well, David) had to try all the local specialties like the Francesinha (a sort of enchilada-esque sausage sandwich) and a variety of baked goods that never tasted  the way you thought they would when you first looked at them. Of course we had to drink some Port Wine which, conveniently for us, was provided at a complimentary open bar at our small family, owned motel. Can’t beat that!

What’s this guy trying to communicate and why is it on a sugar packet?

Porto really has seen better days and is now pretty rundown in places but if you’re like me, this makes any city much more interesting. Abandoned buildings and street art are kinda my bag, baby. When you’re looking up at buildings and seeing open windows and terrace doors, its not because someone’s letting the air in. Its usually now home to a mass of pigeons and many times, the ceiling has caved in.

“I’m as alone as you”

Check out more shots from Oporto here and my other posts about trips to Segovia and Salamanca.

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12 thoughts on “oporto apparently isn’t for everyone

  1. Nice to see your photos from Oporto! I’ve been curious what the city was like for a while now. I think my only interest in visiting is because there’s a fast food chain in Australia called Oporto that I used to be obsessed with. They sold “Portuguese-style” chicken sandwiches and I’ve always been curious to visit the city that the chain is named after (even if, as I suspect, the food has nothing to do with the town’s name!).

  2. Those sugar packets are cracking me up–how typical are these “symbols” of Portugal?!

    I traveled to Porto for New Year’s and these little details are bringing back all the memories of the trip. Glad the rainy weather didn’t keep you guys down!

  3. I traveled to Porto for the first time in September, having previously been to Lisbon twice, as well as the Algarve. What I loved is that it wasn’t Lisbon – gritty, artsy and cheaper. I could kind of take or leave Lisbon, but I’m itching to return to Porto (and drink another port-tonic!)

  4. I like Lisbon, but I love Oporto! It has so much more character and the people were so much more hospitable. I’m not particularly fond of fish, but I really enjoyed the what they do with sardines in Oporto. Simple dishes with amazing flavor. One regret, I didn’t try the port-tonic either :-(

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