Portugal vacation (Porto) – part 3

Excited and apprehensive of the next part of my journey, I arrived at my finally destination – Porto. That evening, I met a couple of people from my hostel and enjoyed a night of Porto’s nightlife. It was crazy as I met a guy from my hostel in Faro – what are the chances!

The next day, after exploring Porto on my own: finding churches, a photography museum, beautiful panoramic views, I went to a tiny restaurant to taste some Portuguese food. To begin with, I had a runny, watery, slightly wierd- tasting cabbage soup with little portion of a stogy Portuguese bread. Then had a sardine and curry sauce sandwich and wine. For dessert, I had a delicious crunchy, chocolate sponge cheese cake type thing with some port. The kind man, who served me, was extremely chatty: telling me where to visit in Porto.

joined a free walking tour. One of the great thing about these tours is that the guide makes it interesting, informative and amusing as they want tips. I didn’t realise that Porto was home to many Harry Potter creations: the bookshop is based on an ancient looking, spiral stairs bookshop in Porto. I also got told about one of Porto have-to-try foods: francesinha, which is two large slices of bread with sausage and beef stuffed inside, topped with melted cheese, a meat sauce and chip (unfortunately I couldn’t try it but it looked massive and fatty). On this tour, I met two fun, lovely Australians, who invited me back to their hostel, to hang out. This hostel offered a three course meal with drinks for a cheap price. Amazingly, they cooked me my own special vegetarian meal – cheese pastry; it was delicious.

While chilling at the hostel, the music was pumped loudly, shots were given. As I had been out quite a lot, I thought I would have an early night. This did not happen. Being easily persuaded, I joined the wild hostel workers and other travellers for a night in a dark, lively club; trying Portuguese shots, mingling and dancing. Unfortunately, my phone got stolen that night by a homeless guy.

Waking up in a rush, I sped to the meeting point to start the historic walking tour, where I bumped into some of the people I met in Lisbon. Then, after heading back to the hostel, I strolled down to the river, crossing the huge bridge to relax and lay in the sun. Then I decided to enjoy one of the things Porto is famous for: Port. Slowly dawdling up the steep, cobbled path, I reached Taylor’s port factory, where I tasted three different types of port (I didn’t realise that you get white port) and a tour around.

After, I went back to the hostel from the previous night to enjoy the company of the two Australians I had met. Again, we were spoilt with a three course meal (separate vegi option for me – this hostel were so hospitable), which included a heavenly dessert: thick, creamy, sweet consistency.

That evening, we joined the pub crawl, which was run by the same people as the free walking tours. I danced the night away at many different pubs and clubs: chatting and meeting new people. In the last club, which was my favourite from the whole trip, they played some of my favourite type of music: old school rock. I was baffled to discover that the chef from the hostel had lived in my home town for six months, the year before: he was describing where I lived with every little detail (CRAZY!). Finally, we decided to leave around 6.30am (yes, that is a ridiculous time but that’s the way the Portuguese roll) with some of the hostel workers. They took us to a Portuguese version of an English kebab shop but with a difference: the types of food. We tasted some delicacies with the sun already risen: cod ball covered in breadcrumbs, octopus and chickens neck (obviously I didn’t try the latter). Drunk people, the food and company were hilarious: I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my life.

Waddling back to my hostel, I realised that it was my final day in Portugal before returning back to England that evening, so I made the decision not to go to bed and carry on. I wanted to take some photographs of the famous bookshop but it was only allowed to do this before 10am (which I think is a little silly). After, I wandered around the market, looked in McDonalds (apparently it is the most prettiest and decorated McD’s in the world) and the train station. Starting to feel exhausted and tired, I thought I would have one last Portuguese lunch: prawn balls in batter (tasty but a slight strange texture), chip, salad and a large orange juice.

Reflecting on my adventure in Portugal, I am grateful for the experiences, the memories I now have, the amazing people I encountered, the relaxed culture, the different food I tasted, the incredible views and that I was kept safe throughout. One day, I will return to this vibrant, beautiful country.

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Enjoying some port with a lovely view of Porto

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View of Porto from the coach

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