As a traveler, I often find that my expectations of a new place I haven’t visited are usually high, because I carefully choose places I have generally heard good things about or that have been specifically recommended to me. One must tread cautiously though when you EXPECT a lot out of a vacation or holiday, or out of an entire COUNTRY, in this case: Portugal!! Firstly, I will tell you that a month after arriving to Europe when I had begun manifesting future travels with my Mom, I could almost smell the sea as I pictured us on some GREEK ISLAND during my Semana Santa holiday. Yes Greece was on my mind for some reason in November/December when I began planning Mom’s visit to Europe, but for financial and logistical reasons, we changed our mind collectively (mom and sister had input too) and decided PORTUGAL might be a lovely option for their 2 week visit.
I was thrilled because I imagined we could do something similar to our Irish Adventure last year (which you can read about here: #delriosTakeIreland), in that we could visit many parts of the country during those weeks and therefore, understand more about the Portuguese and their unique villages/towns/cities. Having already returned from Portugal, I can assure you that no two places we visited were quite the same, just as in Ireland. Driving an hour or two in Portugal meant a changing climate, different architecture and style, more (or less) interaction with the locals, different local gastronomy, even a different Feeling in the Air. I’d like to give you a little taste of Portugal’s Northern style.
Gorgeous O PORTO in fotos:
I had virgin eyes when I arrived to Portugal’s O Porto (“the Port”) for the first leg of our road-trip (having only been to Lisboa 8 years ago for a quickie weakend trip), and I wanted to capture all the pleasing colors and shapes, the moods and the eclectic style of PORTO. I hope through my photography you can feel some of its Magic.
Porto wasn’t trying to be some great European “destination city”, and yet the tourism here seemed to be booming. Porto wasn’t pretentious. Although we only stayed 2 nights, I believe what you see in Porto is what you get, and what you get depends on your expectations. The city is not as pristine as other bigger cities, or capital cities in Europe. Walking down many streets in Porto, there were building façades that were in desperate need of repair. Whole blocks sometimes were screaming for just a little bit of love, with amazing architecture that if restored could charm the crap out of anyone (tourist or not). And yet I feel that as it stood, Porto had my awe and attention. Who am I to critique anyway? I was there to partake and to learn about this new place. I’m sorry España, but living with Lugo’s grey skies for months and months (and grey moods too)
made traveling to Porto like having my black and white tv suddenly upgraded to Technicolor.
Literally my days in O Porto were full of color at every turn, and metaphorically as well. Leave your expectations at home. . . this is the best advice I can give. That way, whilst traveling in Portugal (or wherever you may be) you can see each place with virgin eyes, and appreciate it as it is.
Where have you visited recently that you loved? Are you inspired to travel to O Porto now? More PORTUGAL posts every week, so check back with this QU-EEN and subscribe too. I promise to give you my take on Portuguese food and drink, dos & donts in the country, and advice for visiting during peak season.