food, inspiration, travel

Porto, Portugal

Expected a better weather, eventually it came in the middle of June. The life here after the covid lock down returned to normal. Travel during the covid (April) was as strict as ever, except when leaving the country where no PCR and online registration was needed (June). Finally, having an appointment for second dose this week to put the end to further PCR tests and quarantine.

From now on, Portugal is black due to Indian mutation mostly close to Lissabon. Daily cases are not so bad for 10 million population country so it is going to be good soon. In Porto had no bad experience with covid and restaurants and bars have been opened since the arrival in April. The weather in April and May is pretty much rainy with heavy showers and not so warm unlike the south coastal area called Algarve which should be top on your bucket list once in the country. There is always hot and nice beaches. Basically, more south from Porto the better weather and beaches.

Speaking of beaches and ocean, Portugal is renowned for its surfing and there is one coast south from Porto that has the biggest waves in the world (Nazaré). Staying solely in Portugal seems like a good idea, especially now with all the restrictions. The best way is by renting a car cause some districts are hardly accessible like mountains in the North (the car for a day costs around 30€). My most preferable way is using flixbus like in other parts of Europe or using a train CP . It is way cheaper to travel south during a week rather than in the weekend.

The stay was in proud city of Porto for people claim that their city, wine, women and football is best in the world. The wine is good though and if you get a taste of homemade one than you are lucky one (it is also stronger). Football is very good as FC Porto plays regularly big tournaments with lower budget and do great there plus a lot seemed to be happening in this city like the final match in football champions league and World championship in rally. Not want to insult Portuguese women but Brazilian were very nice and friendly so did the Brazilian people.

The people are genuinely good and got lucky with a chef cooking from time to time for me. The food is not expensive and fruits & veggies along with sea food is top quality like in Greece. To maintain your fitness efficiently do not forget to top up on nuts and green veggies. There is probably one place where you can get a decent peanut butter which is in Continente supermarket chain. You can also stick with the nuts and mix it with other great ones like Brazilian ones (personal favorite), mandles, walnuts although it seemed as little bit more expensive option so go for peanuts. One kilogram of peanut butter is only 7€ which is like online price, awesome right?

One great discovery made was finding about couscous. It is cheap, nutritious, tasty and fills the stomach. My lack of knowledge is probably caused by sticking to strict diet and not traveling to exotic places which could be changed after the covid. Also very good combination was crab meat with eggs which is quite cheap. A great drinking tip, you could purchase preferably a red wine add some fruits like orange and apple in most cases and do not forget ice cubes to stay hydrated and enjoy it (called Sangria). We do similar stuffs with vodka so did not hear about it, cheers!

Inhabitants of Porto are also proud of their Portuguese beer (SUPERBOCK) which is good but was not so sure once compared to Spanish alternative Estrella. As to food, try their local specialty panike, filled baguettes and kebab prato. Another one worth trying is francesinha, although did not try as felt guilty by eating quite often fried foods and thus breaking the line. It is sandwich filled with lots of good stuffs like meat veggies and covered with cheese all around with fries. I am a big fan of sea food and ate a lot shells, many types of fishes and calamaris with rice.

The lame excuse is that I moved a lot as got my sport science studies there. It definitely earned a lot of sweatcoins which could be turned into rewards but giving it some more time as the goal is to cash out 1000 USD amazon voucher. Speaking of active, you should try jogging around FC PORTO stadium where there is a track around the stadium just for that purpose which is quite uncommon but worth it. The view from there is nice and stadium is probably not the best as they claim but very nice though.

Other great places to visit is the longest suspended bridge in the world not so far from Porto and Mountains with their national parks – best accessible with a car. You should also make a trip to Lissabon for there is much to see and experience. The bridges in Lissabon and Porto are massive.

In Porto it is definitely a view from Villa nova de Gaia also called just Gaia. Only the walk over the bridge gives the memorable experience and there are best beaches in Porto area. You get to Gaia just by crossing the bridge on foot from other great spot Ribeira (the old town in Porto). Getting around in Porto is way cheaper by metro 1,2€ rather than bus 2€. You could also use Bolt or Uber for quick travel. The local architecture is of different shapes and colors which was to my taste. There is also a nice park called Parque de São Roque if you want to escape busy streets and there is also a maze in it and lots of walking and clean spaces.

If you are party guy or just like to meet other nationalities at one spot than, Adega is the best place for you or also the street next to Adega Leonor bar. The bars are getting shut down before midnight but people stay out in the streets anyway and was interesting to watch some street dancing styles where people gather in circle and watch others to do their flows.

It is not expensive to get to Portugal at all from each corner of Europe – up to 100€ with a luggage and it is also exotic for its colonial history, lots of international students and tourists, and especially the Brazilian who are also the most friendliest people out there. The best time to come is end of June for the biggest event in Porto saint Joao and also for the weather.