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Drinking Porto in the harbor of Porto

17 Aprile 2006

Actually I have not seen the harbor of Porto, but I drank Porto in a restaurant near the river, close to the harbor, which is a bit far away.

Landed after three hours flight, with Portugalia airlines, where I seated in a very small seat, I took a taxi and I went to rua Alegria where my hotel is located.

The place is interesting ?cause is very close to the city center, to rua Caterina, that looks like our via Italia in Biella, but with not so many underwear shops.
First of all I got inside a shopping mall, the biggest one in the area? Asia changed me a lot; I can?t survive without visiting shopping malls: this is life.

I can say that Porto and its historical centre (world Heritage site according to UNESCO) is wonderful; you can breath the history in the air, in every corner, in every spot of the city, each road seems to make history of this glorious Country alive.
Walking for a while, I arrived to Ribeira, the ancient part of the city near the river Douro.

For all about historical facts regarding the city, click the link below.
It is not my duty bothering you with tourist information you can easily find somewhere else.

Suddenly I walked around the city and I took a lot of photos; the city in the night is simply beautiful. I was starving, ?cause I did not take the lunch served in the aircraft, and I tried to find a typical place for dinner; an advise: never looking for typical places, you can easily find only foreigners who are looking for typical places, where food is not good, it is not typical, but at least sometimes quite cheap.
I sometimes make this mistake; I found a tavern, all kitsch decorated with useless things, including a cash collection hanged on a wood beams: ?I don?t think I can find Korean won?? I thought and when I raise the head, I noticed one! The beginning of the dinner was not so lucky.
I ordered a bottle of Porto.
The typical dinner was going on and after few minutes I noticed that near my table 4 Italian people from Turin were talking about teachers during secondary school? I fed up about them and I sent sms from my mobile about my neighbors?.
I ate the food, I drank as much Porto as I could, but I couldn?t finish the bottle and I went away as soon as possible.

I took a walk; I crossed a giant iron bridge that reminded me something like the Tour Eiffel: this bridge in the night is fully lighted and can be admired in all its beauty.
The old town, the Ribeira, takes your breath away for its dramatic splendor: its quite a while I couldn?t have the chance to admire something ?European?; nothing you can compare with Asia?s spots (i.e. Hong Kong): the only thing in common is that you can remain without breath.

Sunday I had lunch in the same restaurant close the river where Francois Mitterrand (former French President) went few years before; menu price in a such a cool place was around Euro 36? about the price of a Pizza and coke and cake and espresso in Biella.
Everything here in Portugal is less expensive than in Italy, even because salaries are cheaper than here; anyway, I was surprised as well when I paid a Lavazza espresso almost half price than in Italy. ?Foreign? brands should be more expensive abroad than in the origin Country, but probably when we talk about Italy, things never are logical.

At the restaurant they always serve something you did not order, like appetizers, cheese, ham, seafood snacks: you can either eat them or not. If you don eat, of course you won?t pay it. Do not be forgotten to leave the tip. Service charge is not applied.

I left Porto to travel in the north of Portugal, actually not far from the city; I drove around a region of green hills, graveyards and textile farms: it seems to be around Biella.
I also visited Guimaraes, where Italy national team played against Denmark and Bulgaria during European Championship in 2004.
In Guimaraes, where I am writing this post, there is a wall where it?s written ?Aqui nasceu Portugal? (Here Portugal was born): it?s interesting discovering that a Country can be born on a wall.
I should mention a very nice and cozy cervejaria (pub), where I had dinner and drank local beer watching AC Milan ? Olympique Lyon football match; nobody noticed that I was Italian until AC Milan scored the last goal and the AC Milan fan inside me went out.

Visiting customers, selling my products speaking a Spanish, English and Italian mixed Esperanto, including two words in Portuguese, I learn to appreciate the Portuguese language, not so different from Italian language.
Some things I have learned in a week:
1. there is not the sound ?che? ? ?ce? like in Spanish.
2. the days of the week have an interesting name; segunda (second) feira – Monday, terca (third) feira – Tuesday, quarta (fourth) feira – Wednesday, quinta (fifth) feira – Thursday, sesta (sixth) feira ? Friday and its very hard to understand the meaning without any key?
The word feira means market, the name indicates in which day of the week and in which place there used to be the market. Something like this.

I should learn more in a week, anyway?
I never tasted the bachalau, I prefer much more a good dish with meat: here meat is simply delicious.
See you next time.
Bye bye.
(Guimaraes, 7 April 2006)

In the photo
From Porto, through Guimaraes, to Atlantic Ocean.
Riferimenti: Porto on Wikipedia.org

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