We enjoyed our visit to Lisbon in 2018 so much that we returned again in 2019 and added Porto this time we thoroughly enjoyed both cities. The people in both are very friendly, open to conversation and the great majority speak English. One common phenomenon both share is a multitude of abandoned and run-down buildings. Portugal overall is quite a poor country however this is quite surprising.
Rather than parroting what we said last year regarding Lisbon we will primarily focus on Porto. One highlight in the Lisbon area was that an acquaintance named Antonio picked us up and we spent the day with him driving in the area of called Sebutal south of Lisbon. We had a great time with Antonio enjoying both his company, hospitality and a good local meal.
We took the train up the coast from Lisbon to Porto; it was about a four-hour trip primarily along the Atlantic coast. Porto was terrific and comparing it to Lisbon the main differences were that Porto was very clean whereas Lisbon is quite dirty, Lisbon is chock-full of the largest variety of people we have ever seen, Porto on the other hand was primarily Portuguese inhabitants. Like Lisbon, Porto was a great city to wander around in with classic Portuguese architecture and of course the famous ceramic tiled buildings as well as a coffee and sweet shop on every corner. We stopped often to grab a coffee and pastry. In particular as you will see the tiles in the main train station were very intriguing. We had heard quite a bit about the famous Porto sandwich called ‘Francesinha and we found what was said to be a small restaurant with the best one. So, we made a very long trek by foot to this small spot and were prepared ‘as warned’ to imbibe a delicious calorie and cholesterol bomb. However, the reality was different then the so-called sizzle. Basically, this was not much more than a grilled cheese sandwich sitting in about 1 cm of what I felt tasted like Campbell’s baked bean sauce – we were not impressed but enjoyed the experience.
You will see some pictures below showing students dressed in black wearing top hats in parade formations. We were lucky being in Porto during the end of the University academic year where the students have a tradition of celebrating the graduation of the senior classes and the progression of the undergraduates to their next level. It’s basically about a week pretty wild partying, drinking and a huge social/student event. Typically, the kids you see wearing the top hats are the ones graduating. Each of the different colors signify a particular course of study. For example, purple was the college of pharmacy and read the college of economics/business. It was a great thing to see and a unique tradition in Portugal.
Overall, once again, we thoroughly enjoyed Portugal and highly recommend it as a country to visit. Just a tip, whenever possible we opt to rent a full apartment rather than staying in a hotel. This gives us an opportunity to have a much more comfortable way of enjoying the cities and not feeling hemmed in by four walls and a bed dominating a room. We’ve actually found that the cost of doing so is lower than a typical hotel in the comfort is higher. It also gives you an opportunity to shop at the local grocery stores and relax in the apartment for dinner or lunch as compared to always being out in a restaurant.Type your paragraph here.