I met my Brazilian roommates on my first night at the hostel. They asked me which city do I prefer – Porto or Lisbon? I guess there is a bit of rivalry between two cities, both being the largest city in Portugal and mortal enemies in football. I told them I love Lisbon but I am falling in love with Porto now, even if I just arrived that day. Turns out they are students studying in Lisbon. Good thing they still invited me to come join them for dinner to the other side of Porto.
I haven’t been to this part of town so I just followed them. Everything looks so lovely and mysterious at night, We walked and talked until we reached this bridge. WOW! I wasn’t prepared for this – this is one stunning bridge!
I later found out it is the Dom Luis I Bridge, engineered by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel– that’s why the structure looks so similar to the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
And on my right, lo and behold, a spectacular view of two cities.
Gaia on the left and Porto on the right.
Now it is more certain, that I am totally smitten by this place.
After a long walk on steep roads and fancy footbridge, we break on through to the other side of town, we are finally in GAIA!!!
Vila Nove de Gaia or simply Gaia, is a totally separate municipality, more known for its lodges where the world famous Port wine is stored and aged.
Walking down the riverside with its waterfront restaurant and cafés, we finally settled on a nice restaurant called Rabelos. Of course we wanted a table on the terrace with the view of the Douro river, but after making us wait forever (it was already late and we are starving), we finally agreed to sit inside.
I ordered a seafood thermidor (one of their specialties), the most expensive meal I had in Portugal so far. But it was worth every euro and even worth the long wait (for a table with a view) because they gave us glasses of port wine and desserts for free! Saude! Cheers!
Full, tired and sleepy, I decided to call it a night and let them have their time together. I didn’t want to take the same route because I wanted to find different ways to go back home. Sounds like a good idea – NOT! It is a long hike up to the other side, which didn’t seem as far earlier, but now I am totally lost. I even bumped into some drunk men, but they were harmless, so I just marched on.
I check my map from time to time but as I told you before, I’m bad with directions. I weave in and out of winding alleys, not sure if I’m going the right way. I am tempted to take a cab but I just have to prove to myself that I can do this, that I can find my way back. So i pursued and walked all the way up, up, up while I listen to my killer boots (literally killing my feet) making clippity clap clap on the cobbled stone streets.
Finally, I see the Clerigos tower from afar (that’s the landmark near my hostel). I still have a long way to go but knowing that i will soon rest my tired feet and sleep on my bunk bed comforts me.
Good Night Porto…
yes I’m still in love you.
Images shot with Lipad my I-pad and a borrowed Nikon camera