My trip to Porto is definitely what I could call a dream come true. From when I imagined becoming an archeologist to my serious plan of ever working for the National Geographic, and over the years, one thing stayed: one day I would travel with my work.
Porto was the realization of this: my very first work trip! After drifting so far from my original objectives (with a detour into the Labyrinth of Law), finally ending up there made all the sense in the world.
And Porto overachieved.
Portugal itself seduced me before I even touched ground - after months of leaving in the flat Netherlands, the appearance of mountain tops and landforms felt like my lungs finally filled with air again. I guess you only realize how deeply you missed something when you see it once more.
I utterly fell for Porto right away too. I felt home in its chaos, colorful streets and façades, corner cafes occupied by old men, busy streets and warm people. So much however was completely new - and this unexpected mixture of familiar sensations and disorientation granted Porto a special spot in my heart.
I fell for the Ocean too: a familiar smell of salt, fish and sand, but more brutal and free even than the sea.
A trip to Porto would not be complete without an incursion into the Douro Valley, home of the Port Wine. A gorgeous nature surrounds the Douro river, serpent between the wine hills, the green mountains and the plains spotted with typical villages. Wine is king here, but it was surprisingly not my highlight of our day there. No - it was the golden light on the trees and paths, the river and its distant murmur, the mountaintops.
Porto and its area seems filled with endless secrets. Here, a farm disguises a fantastic brewery. Traditional tiles cohabit with powerful street art. A few kilometers outside the main roads reveals a secret paradise.
Oporto, Oporto, I will be back!