We had actually planned from the beginning to make Porto our final destination while visiting Portugal during the Europe Train Challenge.
However due to certain events, we had to change our filming location to Lisbon and so only got to spend one day in Porto town – but LOVED IT!
After walking around for a few hours, I really wished we had more time there.
There was something raw about this place that I wanted to find out more about. There was a roughness to the town, and a charisma of the people that I didn’t want to leave so quickly.
Here are some of our first impressions from Porto and Lisbon:
Spend 3 Days – Gain 3 Pounds.
In some streets it’s actually difficult finding a restaurant among the dozens of bakeries selling amazing cakes and pastries.
It’s hard to choose among all the goodies here, but the famous Pasteis De Nata were definitely in the top 3!
At any time of the day there are locals in the cafes having pastry for breakfast, snack or after dinner dessert.
But pastries in all their sugar and glamor does not even compare to the crazy local favorite meal in Porto: the Francesinha.
This is – believe it or not – a sandwich.
You can’t see the sandwich because of all the cheese layers covering it, but inside the two slices of bread are several kinds of meat (smoked ham, sausage, roasted beef), and on top of it all: it’s drenched in a bowl of special sauce with ingredients like – beer…
The Views In Both Porto & Lisbon Are Incredible.
In Lisbon, you can spend a lot of time visiting the many different ”miradouros” – viewpoints, which are spread out over the seven different hills surrounding the city.
In Porto, the homeless guys have the best view: Living in the abandoned and totally rundown houses overlooking the river.
The plants had taken control of the houses and completely buried some underneath its green bed, which to be honest – was part of the beauty.
The location was priceless, yet nobody lived there – or so we thought – until a homeless person jumped up from the wall parting the buildings and us, greeted us politely, and walked away.
This was the place where a lot of homeless people lived: with a million dollar view…
The Buildings Are Built With Bathroom-Style Tiles On The Outside.
Shiny bathroom tiles and what looked like porcelain makes up the outside decoration on many of the buildings and churches around town.
This is a very traditional kind of decoration on houses there, which we saw a lot of it in both Porto and Lisbon, especially in the old areas.
This really adds color to the buildings, and makes each one very unique.
I can’t help but to think of the tiles you have decorating your kitchen and bathrooms with, but it’s pretty cool to see people using it in a completely different way.
I love people doing things the opposite way to what I’m used to – which brings me to the next point…
They Stand Up While Eating.
I couldn’t make any sense of this. In all cafes, people would ignore the many free seats and tables, preferring to stand up to eat their soup on standing at the counter.
Were they really that stressed? Were they trying to avoid wrinkles on their suits? Were they taking an opportunity to stand up a little before going back to work in an office?
Portugal so far has been my personal favorite country on this trip, I loved the vibe, the cities and the people.
How about you? Have you visited Portugal … what did you think?