Oporto – Portugal’s second biggest city is a bustling place with many tourists, a lot of beautiful street art, wonderful architecture and culinary specialty that really is a special one.
I had found myself a couchsurfing host with a dog. Both of them were really nice and welcoming. In fact I was staying with a celebrity – the youngest coach of a first league women’s volleyball team (you might be able to guess, that means he didn’t have a lot of money). Together with me a heat wave arrived in the city and my stay was accompanied by lovely blue skies and sweltering 38° C. Lucky us we were invited to a friend of my host or rather the parents of his girlfriend who had a massive pool in the backyard. After a short and sweaty visit and look around in the city we went to said friends parents and spent a carefree rest of the day with a goup of interesting and happy people, in the company of 5 dalmatian dogs. Every couple of hours there were some new food and drinks around and I especially didn’t have to worry about anything as they were mostly speaking portuguese and all I had to do was be, eat and drink.
On my second day I went on a trip around the city by myself. I checked out the main sights, walked up a church tower and I learned that 38°C is something that my body really has issues with.
Oporto is home to a very special book store – Livraria Lello. It is almost 130 years old and shows an interesting and strikingly beautiful architecture. That and probably the fact that J.K. Rolling took inspiration for the Hogwarts library in this place make it to a highly frequented sight. You actually have to pay to get in (which you get back if you buy something) and if you come at the wrong time, wait in a very loooong line. I came at the right time and wasn’t mad I payed 4€ for this stunning place.
Before I ventured back to my host I had to try this very special local dish that was signposted everywhere (“we have it here!”) and that my host wanted to bring to the rest of the world. Francesinha is something like a sandwich – two white toasts hold steak, bacon, sausage and Linguiça (Portuguese sausage). All of this gets covered in melted cheese and then all of that gets soaked and covered in a brownish sauce made out of tomatoes and beer. It is pretty much what you think it would be. For me it wasn’t that great of a meal even though a memorable one and I am glad I tried this extraordinary thing. Afterwards it’s hard to move.
Oporto – a busy and lovely place. There is always more to see and experience but after two days I was happy to continue north where a national park was waiting for me.