Porto, Portugal

In Porto we visited my friend Marta, the same Marta that we visited in Galicia. She is currently living and travelling back and forward between Spain and Portugal. The be
st about friends moving back and forth is that you go with them so essentially you see two places instead of one. And except for Marta Porto has a lot to offer. It’s a vibrant city full of colors, azulejos (painted tiles on buildings), hip cafeterias and wine. In particular Port wine which story is quite funny.

Porto, PortugalIn 17th and 18th century the British had war with France and the poor fellows had to quit French wine. Obviously Brits can’t live without booze so they had to find another alternative. Well Portugal. But unfortunately it was a bit far to transport wine as it was, so they figured out they should add more booze to it. More alcohol is always better and the brandy added in the process stopped the fermentation leaving some of the natural sugar not turned into alcohol, so sweet Porto became a perfect wine for transportation. Those marine folks who wanted to see sirens could definitely see them with less quantity and the other poor guys in England could get good wine.

The funny part is the grapes for Port are not grown in Porto but in Douro Valley but I guess the British took the name of the place that they took it from and I assume Porto is way easier to remember than Douro especially when you have a few glasses down.

We couldn’t visit Porto and not try Port wine, even though we are not really fans of sweet wines. The best way to do it is to go for a wine tour in one of the wineries or to sit in a bar and just try. We decided to visit a small winery- Burmester. It was an incredible tour. Our guide was the most enthusiastic and cheerful man on earth. He even told us his secret tohis state… he was trying everything that he was selling on himself. Maybe some of the Dutch restaurants could use his advice, the service would be faster and definitely more pleasant on both sides.

Douro, PortugalSince we are not only fans of wine but also of the grapes on the weekend we went to visit the famous Douro Valley. It reminded us of the famous Sil Valley in Galicia with its river in the middle of the mountains and terraces of grapes. It was spectacular especially where the prettiest winery was situated… the Sandeman was literally on top of a mountain, surrounded by grapes and overlooking the river. JD and I could probably stare at the grapes for hours just because we like them so much and because we have the time but Marta and her boyfriend Marco are not the type of people who can stand still in one place. So after seeing the whole valley we also went to one of the prettiest villages in Portugal- Aveiro. Honestly the town itself was a real disappointment with its cheesy gondolas going back and forth packed with tourists but Aveiro had also another face. Beach town… Charming, little place famous for its colorful houses. Really incredible. Too bad it was our last weekend with Marta and Marco. And even worse we don’t know when we’re gonna see them again. Nature of travel, you meet and then you go in hope someday you will come back.

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