I was running out of things to do in Lisbon so I decided I would head up to Porto for a couple of days.
It’s about 3 hours north from Lisbon and you can get there by either rail or bus (or car too I guess but mine’s still in Vancouver).
Funny thing with Europe – the transit go on strike at any time they feel like it. As it happens, this week was a strike week. They don’t completely shut down but they do limit their services. My original plan was to take the rail up north but the strike made me go with Plan B – the good ‘ol bus.
Actually the bus wasn’t too bad. It had free wi-fi and I spent the time catching up on photo uploads and facebook and all that good stuff.
When I arrived in Porto it was grey and overcast but it wasn’t raining so I was pretty happy about that. My instructions to get to the hostel started with me catching a local transit bus. Problem was, that bus – you guessed it – was cancelled because of the strike. So I waited in the bus shelter for 45 minutes not quite putting two and two together. As I was about to get my gear and tread the long 20 minute walk instead it started to rain. I mean REALLY rain. So I sat back down and after awhile the rain went away so I headed out to the hostel.
Porto streets were alot easier to navigate that the Lisbon streets. Street signs were more prevalent and the roads were wider and less chaotic.
After checking in and getting the tour I headed straight back out to get some late lunch. Worst. Food. Ever. After eating great meal after great meal I guess it was inevitable that I’d eventually hit a dud. Oh well, it looked pretty anyway…
At 6pm the hostel had an art gallery tour planned around the neighborhood so I joined in giving me a chance to meet some of the other hostel guests. It was a cool way to spend an hour and we even had a little port tasting at this port shop owned by the nicest man who took time out of his day to talk about something he was passionate about knowing he probably wasn’t going to be making a sale to any of us.
The highlight of the day was watching a football match on the big screen at the hostel. A weird thing for a Canadian to say as we as a nation pretty much don’t give soccer the time of day but it was actually a pretty good game. But the game wasn’t actually why it was the highlight of the day – it was the tapas spread home cooked and put out by the resident cook at the hostel. For 10 euros I got 2 glasses of wine and all I could eat tapas including possibly the best thing I’ve ever eaten – Presuhto a Braz (shredded onion, potato, garlic and prosciutto).
So in the end, the food all balanced out.