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Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

Published by Dominique Gherghe — 3 months ago

3 Tags: Erasmus experiences Porto, Porto, Portugal


Porto - my first irretrievable love

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

What I knew about Porto when I applied for the Erasmus scholarship:

- it is the second largest city in Portugal;

- it lies along the coastline of Atlantic Ocean and there is a river somewhere;

- it is a popular, kind of cheap destination for students.

It seemed to have my dream of living near the sea fulfilled. But, in fact I knew nothing… I walked on sunshine all my study abroad experience!

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

Getting there could have been postponed in the airport of Milano, because of the best ice-cream, for Adela (my travel companion) and me. You know… Italian gelato… But we made it!

Here is Porto from the sky:

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

Be careful! Even though it's the beginning of autumn, pack warm clothes if you plan to visit Portugal! Don’t forget the umbrella!

It is said that Portuguese people are like onions! In the morning they put layered clothing on and, as they start to do diverse activities, warming up, they take off ('peel') the layers one by one. In the evening, they put them on, one by one. The next day, the cycle repeats itself. :))

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

Sightseeing - or, how I like to call it, wandering around for minimum 10 km per day

I often went to Vila Nova de Gaia, on the other side of the Douro River, where most of the port wine cellars are. Dom Luís I Bridge helped me to get there, offering some of the best views for sunsets.

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

From there, you can admire the traditional, colourful houses along Ribeira, the neighbourhood designated World Heritage by UNESCO.

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

Most of the buildings in Porto are decorated with ceramic tiles, called azulejos. Some of them depict historic scenes (as São Bento railway station in the picture below), religious figures, but my favourite ones are the yellow ‘alto relevo’ tiles or how the Portuguese people say: ‘the eggs’.

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

Porto offers everything in my opinion! That’s why whenever I went to visit a place, I did not stop there! I always discovered ‘extras’ on my way.

  • Delicious food, from francesinha (a caloric hit covered by a sauce made of beer and tomatoes – crazy, right?! ) to grilled fish (try bacalhau in the port area) As dessert I recommend nata!

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

  • Gorgeous sandy beaches

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

  • Bridges that offer you amazing and unexplainable feelings

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

  • Warm and lovely people, as my experienced teacher that advised us about Portugal’s points of interest

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

  • Lively nightlife

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

  • International environment

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

  • Diverse cafés and cocktail bars (Mirajazz – one of my favorite)

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

  • Complex culture, coming from a colourful and rich history.

The next photo shows the bloody sunset covering The Porto Cathedral (Portuguese: Sé do Porto). This kind of cathedral (Sé) is found in every major city of Portugal.

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

  • Street art – ‘The Trash Rabbit’ through which the author wants to make people aware of the sustainability and I totally support it, since I find ecology in Porto undeveloped for such an important urban area.

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

Almost the conclusion…

You might have wondered when clicking on my title what’s the story behind it, so here it is my inspiration: my landlady, Cristina. She has taught us a lot of valuable lessons, but the first one, before going out to the city centre of Porto, was: ‘If, in the middle of the night, anybody approaches you in the streets or whatever, just walk like you are proud Portuguese girls, who know the way, nod if necessary and speed up. ’ Pretty funny for the first meeting, right? :))

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

As for ‘the end’, here’s a piece of advice: visit Porto, explore its magical narrow streets and enjoy a glass of local almond liqueur (Licor Beirão) at Café Casa da Música. There are free concerts on Wednesdays!

Playing the role of a proud Portuguese girl

Cheers!


Photo gallery



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If you know Porto as native, traveler or as exchange student... share your opinion on Porto! Rate different characteristics and share your experience.

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