Things That I Have Learned In Porto, Portugal

Things That  I Have Learned In Porto, Portugal

“Any Portuguese town looks like bride’s finery –  something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.” Mary McCarthy

Portugal actually got its name from the city of Porto which was originally named Portus Cale in Latin.

Porto is more commonly known as Oporto, however this is only due to the fact that foreigners misinterpreted locals saying “o Porto” which means “the port” and this eventually led to it being called Oporto.

it is Portugal’s second largest city.

Citizens of Porto are informally known as “Tripeiros” which literally translates to “animal guts”. According to a well-known legend of the 15th century Henry the Navigator needed a lot of supplies for his Conquest of Ceuta. As a result, the city and its citizens gave up all the supplies they had, including all their food. All they had left were the animal “guts” or “tripas”.. As a result, a now-famous dish came along called “Tripas à Moda do Porto.” Because of this dish, the citizens of Porto got the nickname of “Tripeiros.”

Porto is Portuguese for port. The Port wine cellars are in Gaia which is across the river and the seaport is in the fishing village of Matosinhos. Both are  very close and municipalities. Maybe it should have been called near the port. 

The view from the Yeatman hotel (in Gaia) is spectacular.

So is the spa and the breakfast.

Most prisons are hidden away from a city. Porto’s 18th-century Cadeia de Relação was not.

After two centuries as prison, it closed its doors in 1974 and reopened as the Center for Photography.

There was a new traveling exhibition of Frieda Kahlo’s collection of photographs.

I was fascinated by this building as well.

We explored and on the top floor  is the former cell of Camilo Castelo Branco.The famed 19th-century writer was locked up (with his married lover, the writer Ana Plácido) for adultery. His 12 months behind bars inspired several books, as well as a fine bronze sculpture of the couple in the museum’s paved entrance square.

There was also a collection of old cameras  used to take the prison photos.

Portuguese people seem to be great at the English language. Portuguese  is very difficult.

Porto is a city of bridges. It has six iconic bridges.

Two were started by Gustav Eiffel (of the tower) and finished by his apprentice  Theophile Seyrig. It is probably easier to walk across the bridges when it isn’t pouring.

The Francesinha (Frenchy) is a typical dish in Porto. It is not for the weak of stomach. Thick white bread housing several layers of cooked meats (including ham, steak and pork) are topped with a beer sauce and finished with a fried egg.It is usually accompanied by a huge dish of fries and multiple beers. I’m all for a curious local combo but this was not for me.

Bacalhau is fresh dry salt cod. The Portuguese are obsessed with bacalhau. It is eaten baked, roasted, barbecued, canned,  in codfish cakes, with potatoes, rice, eggs, cheese, cream and so many other ways. As the Portuguese would say: “There are more than 365 ways to cook bacalhau, one for every day of the year!”

One of my favorite dishes to eat anywhere is octopus but it is especially good and cheap in Portugal. Octopus is rubbery so it is hard to cook. It was always fresh and cooked to perfection in Portugal.

The São João Festival in Porto takes place between the 23rd and the 24th of June each year.. Some silly traditions that happen while you’re out partying on the streets include hitting others on the head with huge (not painful) loud plastic hammers, releasing hot air balloons up into the sky, and waving garlic in front of people’s faces. Might not sound appealing, but it is a lot of fun. The most symbolic item however is a round potted basil plant  and usually comes with a little poem stuck on it.

Fly safe,

JAZ

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