Porto: city of my heart. Tales from Erasmus.
Porto is probably the city in which I feel most at home, definitely more than in Bucharest, my hometown. That’s because in 2010-2011 I was Erasmus there and this experienced played (and still plays) a huge role in my development, my hopes, my overall approach to the world.
Words don’t do enough justice for how amazing this city feels, so vibrant, yet so infused with history, so young at heart, yet old in terms of architecture.
Old houses by the banks of river Douro
View from Palacio de Cristal gardens (a small but beautiful park in the heart of the city, definitely worth a visit)
Sim, Porto, eu adoro-te!
Besides azulejos and architecture overall, I really enjoy the slopes winding around Porto, keeping one fit but also allowing for such nice views of all the houses, layered “on top” of each other.
The portuguese rooster is a typical symbol, seen in graffiti as well:
The Barcelos Rooster: a legend you can see in all souvenir shops.
The legend takes place in 15th century Barcelos. Its citizens had become upset by an unsolved crime that was so terrible that it had the citizens in an alarming state. An impoverished pilgrim had been passing through Barcelos, which was a neighboring city to his in order to fulfill a promise he made during a Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Despite his explanation for being in Barcelos, he was still arrested and condemned to hang. He refused to go quietly and asked to be taken in front of the judge who sentenced him to death. The authorities granted his wish, and brought him to the magistrate’s house while he was having a banquet with friends. He affirmed his innocence, and swore the proof of his innocence by pointing to a cooked rooster and said that the rooster would crow at the hour of his hanging as proof. Credits. Read here the full story.
Bridge Dom Luis, here seen from Vila Nova de Gaia, is another of Porto’s landmarks. It was constructed by Téophile Seyrig, partner of Gustave Eiffel on a previous project (read more here). The lower part is destined for car traffic, while the upper part is a pedestrian way and metro line. In Porto, the metro goes both under and upper ground.
View from the Bridge
View at night, from the top of the bridge:
The other side: Vila Nova de Gaia. Just as you cross river Duoro, you’ll find yourself in a different town, with its own charm.
Another thing I really love and admire in Portugal is the way they manged to conserve their more traditional type of retail experience. You’ll find small shops, groceries, restaurants in neighbourhoods, all cosy and familiar, all non-pretentious… it’s such a great thing, compared to impersonal, large cities. It’s heart-warming and it makes you be part of a community.
Santa Catarina shopping street
The main city hall, before Christmas:
Inside Casa da Musica, a very special concert hall, with a unique architecture.
One of my most dear memories, this pigeon flight, caught in one of our first days in Porto.
A walk by Duoro to the Ocean will be an amazing afternoon, I promise!
Sunset at Foz lighthouse