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Portugal Part II: Obrigado Porto

5.12.2015
Porto Portugal
Porto Portugal
Porto Portugal
Porto Portugal

As they say in Portugal, Muito obrigado por tudo which means Thank you very much for everything... which is how I felt when leaving the historic city of Porto, grateful for all their kindnesses during our visit and grateful for the enormous privilege of being able to travel...

Everything I saw and tasted and experienced in the port city exceeded my expectations, but what left the most indelible impression was the alluring stretch of ocean to its west and the local Portuguese, who were welcoming, kind, and so very gracious. I’ve not been able to shake the landscape and the warmth of its people from my mind since leaving. One morning I got lost wandering around and asked (well gestured really) an elderly gentleman to point me in the right direction; he not only told me where I was in relation to my destination, but walked me back to a place I was familiar with, and upon dropping me off headed off in the opposing direction, which meant he really did go out of his way for me. This is one example, but there are more... this made a wonderful visit even sweeter.

The research I did on Porto before leaving focused mainly on the historic city center, which alone can leave one in a constant state of awe (so many hilltop views of the colorful architectural landscape that spans centuries and styles, sizes and colors). The city can also rightfully boast about their world renowned port wine and abundant fresh seafood (grilled in front of you in some cases), delicious local pastries and chic cafés, and the beautiful bold tile work that meanders throughout narrow streets.

Then there’s the Duoro River that flows between the medieval Ribeiro district of Porto and the 18th century port houses in Villa Nova de Gaia, which eventually opens into the Atlantic Ocean. It's from here, many centuries ago, men looked out into the Outer Sea and envisioned sea dragons living just before the ocean dropped off! Thus sparked the Age of Discovery, the period of European global exploration beginning in the early 15th century. All that to say that when you sit at one of the waterfront terraces sipping sweet port, it is not only beautiful, calming and restorative looking out into the ocean, but it begs you to contemplate the mindset of fiercely brave explorers from long ago.

This western section of Porto called Foz do Duoro is where my family stayed, where we got to sleep to the sound of gentle crashing waves while only a 15-minute historic tram ride away from the city center. This made me never want to leave... and admittedly, part of me is still there.

If you’re thinking about visiting Porto, let me know and I’d be happy to send you tips and resources.

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17 comments

  1. What gorgeous shots - it looks so inviting.

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  2. The perfect combination between nature and history - and both are intertwined, of course; we have been talking of going to Portugal for a long time now and I would really love to explore the country - or even just one city, as you did - that was one of the powers of the early days of Europe, as it were. I will most certainly be in touch should we finally manage to plan a trip and visit!

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  3. I do love the perspective of that last shot. What an interesting place. I also love that tile pattern.

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  4. Hello Catherine, Your photos show the diverse character of Porto. I love the one of the boys under the arbor and also the wooden boardwalk to the sea and the serene shoreline photos. The captures of the architecture/rooftops are amazing.Porto looks tranquil and unhurried. A lovely vacation spot for your family.

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  5. Catherine, if I had unlimited resources (+no responsibilities), I would go there RIGHT NOW! looks amazing! x

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  6. wow - wonderful images of Portugal. I think I need to add Portugal to my travel list!
    Happy travels Catherine.

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  7. Wonderful montage of photos from what appears to be a fascinating city. Thank you for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/05/a-walk-on-beach.html

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  8. These are gorgeous. What an amazing place to visit.

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  9. Catherine, I thoroughly enjoyed the ocean photos in the previous post on Porto, but was even more delighted by the colors and vistas in this second post. What a marvelous getaway you all enjoyed...a visual palate.

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  10. What a gorgeous tour, here! I just adore traveling and meeting kind strangers like the gentleman you described here. Looks like a leisurely place to be.

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  11. Beautiful photos and a great experience for you. Thanks for linking up at Thursday Favorite Things!

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  12. Thank you all so much for your comments :)

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