Porto surprising the senses

Porto. . And not a port with adjectives. The port of navigators or… well… one of them, anyway.

Portuguese. The genuine. Genuine like its wine, the one of the kind, mixed with brandy from the vineyards of the Douro Valley, to captivate the palates. The one carried in oak barrels, loaded on the characteristic caravels that you stare from the river bank. And behind them, the two-storey and three-storey houses, narrow, very old, those of the opposite bank. This is the favorite view you want to watch when you go there.

Genuine as its inhabitants, simple and polite, not touched by the touristic spike, who will smile at you, just because you smile at them and will tell you much more than you expect to receive as an answer. Just because they like it.

One of the most inconspicuous and thus unappreciated cities, though it is one of the most beautiful in Europe. Due to its location in the western bastion of Eurasian super mass, gazing the Atlantic, co-capital and rival of Lisbon in a “outsider” country, not coming into your mind when there is still a Paris, London, Vienna and Venice to go.

Still. Few like this, so small and so difficult to see everything that has to tell you in a long weekend getaway.

It will steal your heart because it will surprise you, favored by its touristic seclusion. Because, for example, nobody knows the “Eiffel Tower” of Porto, the iron impressive arched super bridge, the once upon a time largest in the world, connecting the two banks of the Douro. Atmospheric and….extremely Portuguese, with brilliant cork techniques, Azulejos, multiple variations of culinary hake feast, medieval neighborhoods, walls and labyrinthine channels that touched UNESCO (let alone myself), hills and downslopes like in a Greek island, fado, hanging laundries looking for the scarce sun like sunflowers, nightlife for raw bar strolls, and as trademark the semi-crumbling houses. We add the necessary churches and monasteries of the Catholic orders full of gold, the mystic former Jewish neighborhood and a couple of palaces and museums and here we are: we have a must destination for all budgets.

Oh…I should not forget the Dragons, who once breathed fire from their mouth and took and the Champions League. Lots of guts needed.

Senhoras e Senhores, ruby ou tawny?

Photos and article by Aris Botas

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