I AM HOME!!!
At the beginning of June, nothing excited me most than getting my Portugal VISA on hand. I had a mixed feeling towards this trip to Porto compared to one I had in 2012. I was married and I had to leave my husband for around 10 days. On the other side, I was THAAAAT excited to reunite with my friends and colleagues in Porto. Barbara, Silvia, and Thiago, my bestfriends from Portugal & Brazil, had been following updates on my flights while at that time, I hadn’t had any fixed dates. We were about to meet!
I landed in Porto around 8PM, my flight was delayed and I was so exhausted. I had forgotten how did it feel to spend a 19h flight on the air doing these things: sleeping, eating, munching, writing, and a little bit of walking to the toilet. But when my feet finally touched the Portuguese land again, I felt so surreal. This couldn’t be happen. I AM HOME.
My Professor had warned me before about how crowded Porto was. The city was chosen as the best European destination for the third time (2012, 2014, & 2017). Not to mention, it was summer! I was amazed how the city was over-flooded with tourists when I went out of my hotel in the next morning.
One thing I recognize the most was the increasing number of local Portuguese shops and massive number of tourists in queue, for example those around the downtown and the long queue to enter the Livraria Lello e Irmao (famously known as the Harry Potter library. Read about it here). The other impact of tourists was how the city had been renovated and now it stood more beautiful and antique as I could remember.
My favorite walk was to the river (of course) through some small alleys. The common path to get to the river was walking down from Sao Bento station, but I was a “native” — at least I claimed myself to be one, haha. I walked from behind the Photography museum till I found small alleys going down to the river. This part had less people passing by yet I still could enjoy the old Portuguese houses with their signature hanging clothes on their balcony. The biggest festival in town, the Sao Joao, is approaching. The city was filled with colorful decoration and lighting which made summer in Porto more alive.
Talking about its temperature: Porto was incredibly hot that time around, it was around 30C and I felt so dehydrated all the time. Therefore, I chose to spend my time outside around 6PM onwards. The sun was almost set, yet my camera loved the purple-ish twilight on Porto’s sky. Plus, the lights on Gaia side were started to light up.
I regret for not having my camera with me when I had the conference dinner at The Yeatman Hotel in Gaia side. The Michelin-star hotel had been a dream of mine & Thiago’s ever since we enrolled in our Master’s study. I could tell you that: the view of Porto was ever more marvelous from that side.
Glad to see you again, Porto! Wait for me! Again.