This morning I woke early and said goodbye to my hostel in Lisbon before heading to the airport. After waiting around in way too many lines and being herded like sheep into a tight area where myself and the other passengers stood for thirty minutes as we waited some more, I finally boarded my Ryanair flight to Porto. We were on the tarmac when all of a sudden the pilot tells us we are going back and there will be a delay because a woman had just decided she did not want to fly anymore. We were literally 2 minutes away from take off. Good timing lady! Fast forward thirty minutes and we are finally in the air heading to Porto.
The airport in Porto is roughly 45 minutes outside of the city but they have a really easy and cheap train that takes you to the city. I found my hostel, dropped off my bags, and ventured out into the streets. I spent the first few hours wandering around, taking photos and getting completely lost. It was just me, my map and my coffee (what more do you need though?).
I had just crossed the Dom Luis Bridge and was heading towards the wine cellars when it started to rain slightly. Hearing the roaring thunder in the distance, I figured it would be best to retrace my steps and return to the other side of the bridge where there would hopefully be a place to hide from the looming thunderstorm. Thirty seconds after I crossed the bridge the storm hit, it went from drizzle to downpour in less than ten seconds. Luckily, I was able to quickly get into a hole in the wall restaurant (literally a hole in the wall, it felt like I was in a cave). There were open windows which made the storm much more terrifying but exhilarating at the same time. The thunder was deafening and the ground was shaking as the lightning continued to strike so close to the restaurant. A Portuguese family sat down at the table with me and although we couldn’t speak the same language it was as if we were all together. After the first lightning strike (which I’m almost positive hit the bridge right next to us), the girl next to me started to cry relentlessly. To be honest I was crying a little on the inside too, but I had a nice big glass of Sangria and french fries to comfort me. The girls mom motioned to me as she comforted her daughter (probably saying something referring to me being by myself haha). They were really sweet and I’m definitely glad they sat with me during the storm.
The storm passed just as quickly as it came so I continued on with my adventures of the day. I headed to the Sandeman cellar and did a nice tour and tasting for only 5 euros. Port wine is not one of my favorites and when I say it’s not my favorite I really mean I’d rather drink pretty much anything else…… Nevertheless, it was still really interesting learning about it and whats even more is they only had a French tour happening at the time I arrived so I did the tour in French. Practicing a little for my return to school in France on Tuesday!
After the cellar tour, I headed back to my hostel. I’m staying at the Pilot hostel [http://pilothostel.com]. It’s a huge hostel and I think it’s mainly for partying. It’s not too crazy right now (probably because it’s off season and a sunday night). I think if I were here with a big group of people this hostel would be fun, but as I’m alone it’s not exactly my favorite. It doesn’t have a homey vibe and there’s no real place to meet people. Again, maybe it would be different if I were staying for more than one night and if that night wasn’t on a Sunday. I’m kind of bummed that I was here on Sunday because there were so many things I would have liked to see or do that I couldn’t because they were closed! Friggen Europe!
Anyways, I was extraordinarily HANGRY and was walking around for way too long trying to find a restaurant. It was dark, cold and everything was closed (again thanks for that sunday). I ended up finding this cheap place, the only problem was that I was allergic to almost everything on the menu unless I wanted to eat lamb. I considered it, but I decided to go for this omelette covered in francesinha sauce [a portuguese sauce] with sausages inside and french fries on top. It was everything I needed but instantly my throat, tongue and face started to swell and I can already feel the hives starting. I know when I’m itching myself to death while I sleep this week from the hives I’ll 100% regret not choosing the lamb, but for the moment I am completely content. [Side note: I went my whole life hating eggs. I couldn’t stand being in the same room as someone cooking them, they grossed me the fuck out. The smell, texture, everything about them was HORRIBLE to me. But, as I moved to France I decided it was time I tried new things, so I decided that omelettes would be great to start making as they are both cheap and healthy. After almost twenty years of refusing eggs and finally deciding I like them, it turns out I’m allergic. Ironic much?]
I’ve had an amazing time in Portugal. I’m looking forward to getting back to a routine in France (missing mostly the gym and home cooked meals) but I can definitely say that when I decide to go on a long-term backpacking journey as a solo female I am confident that I will be more than safe, and have an incredible time.