Three weeks ago I was in Portugal for the first time ever. It is not uncommon for Spaniards to not have visited our closest neighbors; perhaps the overly proximity pushes us to discover lands further away from our own, both culturally and aesthetically — who knows? I must say that for me, until quite recently, Spain and Portugal, or Spain and Italy, really were like tomatoe tomato. However, once I started paying attention to the small details I realized how wrong I was. And it really is the little things what make the travel experience worth living. Portugal felt so familiar, but at the same time very different. I come from the mild coast of the peninsula (from the east), and I honestly believed I was going to discover a land that mirrors my own symmetrically, and not just because I have this mental picture of the Iberian peninsula as being a two-faced woman head. Or maybe because of that. That mirroring did exist, but it was rather asymmetrical. In Portugal I found wilderness, and temperament, and a sense of raw that contrasted with the gentleness and flatness of my own land. And I liked it.
I stayed at Bo Marques Apartments, and I only have good things to say about this accommodation: I had an apartment all to myself, the staff were the friendliest, and I never wanted to leave that comfy bed! As for the touristic activities, I did the boat tour (under quite terrible weather, I must say), and I took the cable car at Gaia (right after you cross the main bridge). The first experience was worth it, but the cable car I could have skipped: the glass is too bad to take good quality pictures, and the ride takes only about 5 minutes. Plus, once I was in the air, I started wondering whether the strong winds and the impending storm would be an issue for the cable car, and realized that 5 minutes was about waaay enough. The rest of my time in Porto, I attended a conference, so I didn’t focus too much on discovering all the landmarks. I did eat a whole bunch of pastries. They were over-the-top yummy! Those Pastéis de nata aren’t famous for nothing! And, of course, never leave without drinking some good ole Port wine (and cocktails made with it!).
One noteworthy thing is that I bought a book that I had been wanting to read since a long time: La verité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert, which I was lucky enough to find in its original language, French. I took the book with me to a restaurant, Mamma Mia, at the Praca Marques Pombal (right beside my apartment) and since I was having a dinner for one, I felt it was allowed to start reading. I finished the book yesterday, and loved it!
While I was in Portugal, I wrote a blogpost about the textures of Porto (see here). Today I wanted to show you Porto’s cityscape. Most of what you will see below are pictures taken at the riverside, from or of the Ponte Dom Luís –a magnificent two-level construction designed by a partner of Gustav Eiffel, Théophile Seyrig. The resemblance with the Tour Eiffel’s architecture is uncanny.
I took my Fujifilm system camera in order to travel light, with a basic lens (Fujinon 16-50mm). Truth be told, it is not my favorite lens to shoot landscapes because, although it performs brilliantly with anything that’s relatively close-up, it doesn’t give you a clean focused image with further-away targets. I am thinking of getting a new lens for my Fuji family, maybe a prime lens only for details and portraits.
But enough with the talking. Here are the pics!
See? This is what I meant about the cable car’s glass. Although in this case I loved the effect that the reflection created!
♥ Ingrid ♥