Nostalgia about my beloved South Europe again.
Partly, I guess, it’s because there is not enough good wine in my blood and parlty – because there is no charming architecture of old Europe which I love so much.
So, North of Portugal and magic Porto city is again in my mind.
Porto is a special city for me. First, it’s a motherland of porto-wine. Second, my favorite embankment in the whole world is there. Third, Atlantic ocean is just few steps from there.
Ocean just in few meters from my house is not something impossible and crazy for me now. And embankments… I saw way bigger/better/greater than that one in Porto city along the Doru river, but still Porto is porto wine motherland and I would be addicted to it if I could get it whenever I want. And even embankment… it’s still my favorite one by some reason.
I don’t know any useful information about Porto cause the only thing I did there with a friend of mine – it was just random walking along streets we didn’t choose in the day time and in the evening our CS’ host drove us somewhere and I even didn’t ask where exactly and what we are passing by. But still I was so strongly impressed by the city even if I was there just for a couple of days.
I have no idea what one can do besides random walking in the old city center… It was more that enough for me to feel happy. And embankment, of course.
For the first time I discovered the embankment by accident. At the sunset. Second time I waited there for the darkness to photo shoot and just cause I fell in love with this place. I liked it because of all those many layers of buildings along both sides of the river, beautiful bridge and such a good, calm lights.
I lived in Saint-Petersburg, Russia for a long and local embankment along the Neva river is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. Yeh, it really could be so but the lights… Whose idea was that? It’s like “Chinese neon standard” – all those lights of different color blinking with different speed and frequency. Horrible! It’s so flashy and low. The place is good itself but all those light arrangements kill its beauty totally. But… well, it’s not about Petersburg anyway =)
And in Oporto they managed to make it look posh and calm and truly beautiful. It looks exactly like I imagined old Europe. I do believe that the torches shined the same way ones long-long time ago.
The embankment was not that charming for me in the day light as it was in the night but then, there were old districts of the city with azulejo which covers almost all buildings. And nice bonus – almost no tourists in the city.
I have no idea how is that possible but I met a lot of tourists only in Sintra while traveling in Portugal. Rest places – even castle in Tomar – was almost empty.
And porto wine…
Porto wine was the reason why I went to Portugal actually. I’ve never thought that there is a country “Portugal” before I tried 30 years old porto wine in Spain. But after I did… Well, I realized that I must go there. Right now!
Almost every porto wine making company is ready to tell the tourists about porto wine and show them its property. They have excursions in many languages, several times a day. I was in Calem wine cellars.
The excursion started with visiting of some sort of a museum and an information about porto wine history, production technology, all what, where and when, and what types of porto wine exist. Then we were in wine vault with all its barrels and bottles. Nice atmosphere. And in the end of our visit to Calem wine cellars (after unobtrusive suggestion to buy porto wine from their company), there was a degustation. That was the second time when I drank porto wine. That was young, cheap and simple wine. Nothing like that 30 yo I tried in Madrid.
Actually, I found that Portuguese don’t drink porto wine that much (nor Russians vodka) cause they have lots of other wines. Cheaper, softer, lighter (ahh, verde wine!) So, the most famous Portuguese drink – porto wine – it is more like for a present or on special occasions.
I wanted to take some bottles of porto wine with me back to St Petersburg. I had no idea how much they could cost, I just knew that even young porto wine is bloody expensive in Russia. So, that was such a good surprise when I found 12 yo porto wine in Ashan hypermarket for 21 and 24 euros. God, that’s crazy how cheap it could be! Feel the difference…
Ah, cheese, wine, narrow streets of old Europe… I miss all that! How could that there is no good alcohol in South-East Asia? Even that stuff they call their local typical alcohol – that’s always such a crap. I’ve heard about good Chinese wine but never found one. But in Portugal… well, you have to try hard to find something undrinkable.
If you haven’t got any accommodation for your next trip booked yet, try it here: Airbnb.
You will get $25 discount for your first booking
and would be able to stay in a nice room or apartment rented from locals and not just in a dorm!