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Exploring Vintage Porto
Portugal's second biggest city has captured my heart with its sprawling vintage atmosphere and unrivalled attractions.
Vast areas of Porto look and strongly feel old, thus generating an unparalleled atmosphere - a totally unique feeling, which I allow myself to call "Porto feeling".
Just like Cuba has that unique old look and an unparalleled unrivaled atmoshpere, Porto also has a special look and feel.
This was yet another trip back in time...
Porto somehow made me think of Havana - the latter being renowned and beloved for its old buildigns and abundance of old cars...
Porto has an original old feel as well, but it would be inappropriate to compare this city with Cuba's Havana. For various reasons, needless to explain...
After having arrived, I expected to find a rather small old centre, but quite surprisingly, the old historic part of the city was huge.
You can explore it for days and still have plenty more to visit.
Porto's alluring atmosphere had a stronger impact on me emotionally than Lisbon had. While the latter has attractions and various districts scattered, Porto's hotspots were mostly centrentrated.
Porto felt warmer than Lisbon. More colourful and to my surprise it was full of foreign visitors.
The city was calmer. There was no rush and it fel safer too.
For tasting Porto's fine red wine, I actually had to go across the river to Vila Nova de Gaia, which is a separate city.
One of the best things I did in Porto was to ride the old heritage tram (you can read about this too)...
I took the "Portuguese Shinkansen", whose name is "Alpha Pendular".
The express train brought me from Lisbon Oriente to Porto Campanha in little over 3 hours.
Our speed even exceeded 240 km/h. It was comfy, I also had a terribly poor WiFi connection on board.
Porto is essentially a very well-preserved old city. The vintage feel floats everywhere, which was indeed blood-warming and stimulated me to take photos.
Porto has an impressive collection of beautiful old churches, many of which are covered with blue azulejo ceramic tiles.
I advise you to look up Porto's most beautiful churches, it would be a shame to miss out on the experience!
Of course, this guide will show you the best churches to see!
The Luís I. Bridge is an icon of Porto, in fact I think it's the most iconic attraction - you mustn't miss walking across it by foot. Also for the beautiful panoramic views from up there.
Believe me, very few cities have such a beautiful rich panorama with an old look. I kept going out to see it again and again!
Even when viewed from the distance, Porto totally looks like an old city. I could barely notice a few modern buildings, even those were rather faraway...
The Saõ Bento train station is in the heart of Porto. Although its exterior is not special at all, the hall right after the entrance is stunning!
Some of the finest azulejo works cover the main hall's interior walls - delicately depicting beautiful scenes from Portuguese history.
One of the trendiest attractions in Porto is the Livraria Lello & Irmão - an old Art Nouveau library.
It's not so much the exterior of the building is that's most appealing, but rather its interior.
Porto's old trams rival Lisbon's.
These are roughly 100 years old, some even more and they're still circulating. A rough slow ride costs 2.5 EUR.
Don't miss out on trying Porto's vintage tram!
The vintage feel city also has a number of vintage cars and tuk tuks similar to the ones I saw in the capital were abundant here as well...
See the vehicles I spotted in Porto on this page...
The Douro has quite an intense traffic. One can observe beautiful old replica ships, but even larger river cruise ships (one of them even had a helicopter landing pad and a huge swimming pool on its deck).
Unwillingly, I got caught up in the middle of a funny festival in which crowds were punching each other on the head with soft-headed toy hammers.
Each year, on June 23rd, you're allowed to hit anyone on the head. Only on that day and the night after.
You can eat well in Porto. Seafoods are trendy and this includes almost anything from shrimps to sardines.
Of course, the tuna and the sardines are rather local (and fresh) delicacies. So, I brunched several fresh tuna salads.
Sardines were on the grill, out on the streets. Traditional in Portugal, not just in Porto.
The stinking burnt fish skin smell is terrible, though... the process of making it is utterly disgusting...
Besides sardines, red peppers and green peppers were placed on dozens and dozens of grills - out in the open. Smoke was filling entire streets, but I acutally liked the smell of grilled peppers!
I stayed at a small hotel, especially because of its rather good location.
But there was one weird thing about it: the sink. Cold and warm water had separate faucets/taps. Merely washing hands was quite an odd experience!
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Travel Slang Dictionary
Guide to my personal travel slang vocabulary, which seasons my content...