Since my last post I've visited the simultaneous gallery openings in Rua Miguel Bombarda (at least a dozen of galleries on the same street organize a huge vernissage on the same day), went to the crazy student festival called Queima das fitas (no words to explain the crazyness around this tradition), had a friend, Sarah, visiting from Finland(!), saw a street art exhibition in the AXA house, did a tour in the amazing Casa da Musica (a must when in Porto) and tried surfing for the first time ever! Gosh, life in Porto never gets boring. Although, after a week with almost +30 everyday and tropical nights we're back to rain. What else, started a second intensive course in portuguese (everyday from monday to friday) and sent my final thesis for evaluation. Graduation is just around the corner!
Oh god, a whole month passed by. I finished my thesis. Well, still have to make some changes, write a maturity test and apply for my diploma. So cross your fingers that I'll graduate in June!
What else, I finished an A1-level portuguese course with full marks! So after thesis writing and studying portuguese I just relaxed for like a week. And for another one as it was easter holiday, all my roommates went away for vaccations and I just stayed at home and cleaned the house which might not sound fun at all but I found it very relaxing!
From time to time we've had some amazing weather which we've been spending in the parks picknicking or on the beach or arranging huge dinners on the terrace. Also saw some cool concerts, which the one by Skip and Die was by far the best one.
And did small field trips too, one day to Espinho (just 30 minutes by train) to visit this huge outdoor market and ofcourse the beach. And one weekend to Lisbon with Michaela. My best tips for Lisbon; Honorato Burger for cheap and tasty burgers, To B for fancier burgers and amazing rustic fries, Sukothai for amazing pad thai, the areas Chiado and Principe Real (Pavilhão Chinês for afternoon tea or cocktails), ofcourse Bairro Alto at night time and best of all, spend an afternoon at LX Factory (art, food and culture area in Alcantara).
And last but not least, first of may! A holiday which hurts the most to miss in my home country. A two-day carnival with balloons, sparkly wine, picknick's and brunch wearing your academic hat. So, we arranged a Vappu brunch at our terrace yesterday and it couldn't have been better. Lots of poeple, full sunshine and great food. We even got these captain hats from a masquerade shop that almost looks like our academic hat. And the brunch was spent just like in finnish traditional ways, drinking under the sun all day until you passed out in the afternoon.
Today followed a lot of cleaning and washing dishes. Now, TGIF!
Can't focus on anything else than my god damn thesis. Just five more days. Five. More. Days.
So here's is my wish list for when I'm free:
Ok, back to writing. Over and out.
The cough is finally gone, so is the nice weather and we're back to normal. Lately, I've been spending even more time in the library (or libraries, I try to change places to get a bit of variation). I'm reaching the deadline and I only have two weeks to go. But last weekend we went to a really nice concert of the Sensible Soccers, following a sunday-funday with brunch, afternoon tea and hamburger dinner. The weekend before that there was an awesome outdoor fleamarket at the sports stadium, got a bit overwhelmed and bought a lot of stuff..
Also, I've been studying portuguese every afternoon from monday to friday for almost a month now. It's super intense but great. I've been getting a lot of pressure from friends lately to learn (or speak) portuguese and it stresses the hell out of me. However, they all just mean well and hopefully all this gibberish will result in some awesome portuguese skills by the end of the summer.
What else, had to say farewell to a roommate who's going to do an internship in chile and some parts of our house and the shop below our floor is under construction. Meaning we live in a construction site, with no access to the terrace, dust coming through the floor and no shower water during the day. Also a super annoying singing construction guy. Our landlord said three weeks ago that there would be a bit of noise for the coming two days.. oh well.
1.saturday fleamarket gang 2.farwell dinner 3.sensible soccers 4.sofia, simone & me 5.miss opo brunch w/ michaela 6.library lights in serralves
It's funny how me and my former flatmates from Helsinki all live across Europe at the moment. Even coming from Finland they prefer snow, a lot more than I do. Ida is working in Kiruna, northern Sweden as an activity guide and Annika is working in a chalet in Nancroix, the French Alps. All of us writing about our personal experience living abroad (click on the names to get to their blogs).
Annika's view in Nancroix.
Ida's view in Kiruna.
My view in Porto (although this is the lighthouse in Foz).
Sorry, this might feel like a weather report blog, but I have to say it - it feels like finnish summer right now. It's crazy! +22 degrees, sunshine and blue skies in the beginning of March... I've been hanging out on our terrace non stop. The other day we had lunch, then dinner then drinks, another day we played late night monopoly and yesterday we had a big barbeque.
I've also tried some new food places lately, the Miss Opo brunch, petiscos at Casa Santo Antonio, sushi at Zen House and hamburgers at Real Hamburgaria Portuguesa. All of them were super good.
I thought it was going to be rainy but I was wrong. The past week has been really sunny! I've been working on my thesis a lot so I've spent most of the time enjoying the sun from the library. Although, sometimes I push my working hours later or take an extra long lunch break and sit on a terrace for a couple of hours.
Last Saturday I went on a walking tour.
With these gals, we were a bit hungover from a fun dinner party the day before.
On Sunday we went to the lighthouse in Foz with Michaela. It felt like a spring day in May.
The cosiest café.
Rota da chá, Casa de ló & Café Vitória
The best lunch-, brunch place.
I haven't tried it yet but I'm craving to visit the brunch at Miss Opo. As for lunch, I normally eat just a toast or lunch at home. But the other day we ate with Michaela at Restaurante Cordoaria and it was quite nice (had a traditional bacalhau com broa, codfish with portuguese bread). A lunch sandwich at Moustache is good too and the lunch buffé at Galeria de Paris is nice and affordable.
The best dinner place.
Well, there are the burger places (my god the burgers are good here); Munchie, Bugo Art Burger and Baixa Burguer. Then there's the typical porto dish, Francesinha, which you should eat at Bufete Fase, Café Santiago or Verso em Pedra. But dinner you can eat anywhere and in my opinion it's almost always good. Dinner here is also very casual and doesn't have to be fancy. There's a place with ''student dinner'' called Café Almada where you can get delecious stake dinner with a drink for 4€.
But if you want something fancy, then there's Museu d'Avo that serves ''tapas'' in portuguese called petiscos. Another place that I wanted to try that also serves petiscos is called Casa Santo Antonio.
Here you can take a cripsy sunday walk.
The crystal palace park, it has the most stunning view to the river and it's also quite romantic. Or you can catch the metro or bus down to the beach in Matosinhos and walk by the atlantic ocean.
Three top bars/nightclubs.
Well in summertime you just stand on the street infront of the bars drinking. So it doesn't really matter which bar you go to, it's more the area. The areas are Travessa de Cedofeita, Piolho/Adega and Galerias de Paris.
But for just some beers and hang out I like Candelabro, Casa de ló (again, also for the night)and Pipa Velha. I want to try to this cocktail bar called Praca some day, it seems really nice. And I can't avoid mentioning Espaco 77.. it's certainly not a glamurous bar but it's where most of the people meet up for some beers and continue somewhere else.
Best fast food place.
There's just one kebab place I go to because it's closest to my home and it's on travessa de cedofeita, next to most of the bars.
My favourite street in the city.
Well, I like my street Rua Cedofeita, it's in the heart of Downtown and from here you easily walk to the art gallery street, called Rua Miguel Bombarda. But the small narrow streets down to Ribeira or Miragaia are quite beatiful too!
Art and culture experience.
Well, downtown ofcourse, where most of the cool bars and cafés are located. And again, Rua Miguel Bombarda and the shopping centre CCB with design stores. Then there's the amazing Casa da Música, beautiful architecture. And a trip to the contemporary art museum and its park called Serralves.
The best tourist attractions.
I try to avoid to be the SUPER tourist. And I felt bad when I was showing my father around the city because I'm not too familiar with the typical tourist stuff (I'm more into the alternative stuff). But the historical area down by the river and the Ponto Luis I-bridge. The port wine cellars where you can go for a tour and wine tasting (especially Taylor's). And I heard Palácio da Bolsa is beatiful too.
My favourite shops.
When it comes to clothing it's Oysho, it's not portuguese but we don't have that store in Finland. They just have the softest clothes. Then there's a pop up store in Passeio dos Clérigos with potteries, illustrations, notebooks and all kind of neat and graphically beautiful things. And ofcourse the Lello bookstore, where J.K Rowling got the inspiration for the stairs in Hogwarts.
Best tips for a boring weeknight.
Weeknights are quite calm here too now when it's winter. But if a restaurant is open on a weeknight (usually some places are closed on mondays), they're open really late. So go out for dinner and a couple of drinks.
Best music gig place.
Well, I haven't been on many gigs here. Hard Club organize bigger concerts aswell as Casa da Música. Maus Hábitos have a lot of music events too. And a smaller place with live concerts is Bar Rua, I was there the other day when they had a brazilian salsa band and it was amazing!
A day in the city.
Oh god, on a sunny spring day, hmm. Choose a nice terrace to spend most of the day with a friend or a book, drinking coffee and eating lunch. Maybe visit some small stores in downtown or papershops. Go for a glass of Vinho Verde down by the river and later have a nice dinner with friends, maybe at Le chien qui fume (the dog that smokes). And go dancing to old school rock music in V5 in the night.
The most beatiful area.
Must be the historical area by the river and Miragaia and ofcourse the beach. But also the poor area of Fontainhas (with lots of street art).
Drink port wine and vinho verde, eat francesinha, bacalhau and/or tripas. Book a tour with The Worst Tours! Visit Lello bookstore, Casa da Música and climb on top of Clérigos tower. Have a picknick in any of the parks (The Crystal Palace park, The city park, Jardim das Virtudes or Jardim do Morro on the Gaia side). And play matraquilhos (table football) and have cheap beers in espaco 77.
Helpful websites and apps:
http://www.metrodoporto.pt/ (also as an app, iMetroPorto for iphone)
and it almost goes without saying: TripAdvisor (also as an app)
www.fugas.pt (only portuguese)
Life in Porto slowly moves on. We've had some really nice and sunny days, but now we're back in a rain period (think it will rain all week).
I have a rollercoast relationship with my thesis. The past couple of days I've been too lazy and felt lost in my work. But today, even though it's grey and rainy I got a new boost and inspiration!
But, I sleep too much here, I'm living my days in a later time. So I'm up til' 03.00 and sleep til' noon. And I hate it, I used to be a morning person. Oh well, just another third world problem.
The library I normally go to is in the crystal palace park (the space ship building is nor the library or the crystal palace, the palace doesn't exist anymore and they built this ugly sports stadium instead, the library is just next to it).
Michaela is my café and restaurant companion, always trying to explore new places and corners of Porto. We actually went to the same elementary school in Finland and now's she's doing her erasmus exchange here.
Hung out with these guys from Berlin for one night and one day (Aland & Tolle, if you read this, we met in a grocery store) until they, unfortunately, had to go back to Lisbon.
And a moment of spring yesterday as I was walking home, just in a sweater.
Well, there is no reason to freeze anymore, because my roommate built me a TENT. Like a childhood dream tent of blankets above my bed and I actually feel warm in there! I even bought this little chinese rice lamp that runs on batteries that I have inside my little blanket fortress.
We even have an internet connection at home now, even though we asked our landlord for a router with wifi and we only got a cable for ONE computer (we are two appartments with a total of 8 people who would have wanted to share wifi, and yes, this is what we got). But we found this program that makes it possible to share the internet from one computer to the rest.
I've also gotten started with my thesis, started to read some of the litterature and getting some guidance from my supervisor. I even had a presentation about my thesis through skype for my classmates back home. And for saturday I have (a rather casual, but still) interview booked. So I'm not just hanging around doing nothing (I think).
The weather has also been less rainy. We cleaned the terrace the other day and I can't wait to spend more time there. Gaah, dreaming of sunny mornings and weekend brunch out there and of course huge terrace parties. And tomorrow we're having a house warming party!
Almost a week has passed since I arrived. My father came for a three-day-visit just two days after my arrival. This time of the year is probably the worst to try to do some sightseeing. At least you have the cosy cafés, cheap shopping and portwine tasting, for stormy and rainy days.
For each day I've bought something to keep warm. My second day it was a pyjama and slippers. The third I bought some warm sweaters, the fourth my father bought me a blanket and yesterday I bought some really warm quality socks.
Maybe, I'm the only one complaining but wow, you are constantly cold here. And never have I appreciated warm clothing and slippers like I do now. The funny thing is, once you get out of your house, it feels warmer outside.
People are surprised by how much I'm freezing (guess I'm complaing about it quite a bit). But do to central heating and well isolated houses and buildings (even heating in public transportation) you only need good outerwear in Finland. I've never had to sleep in a proper pyjama before!
However, I'm still having a great time. Eaten lots of good food while my father was here. Also made dinner with my roommates where we all contributed with a dish from our own countries and afterwards long night talks.
We don't have internet at home, but somehow I'm enjoying it. Reading a lot instead and having a good reason to sit in an inspirational café when I need to work.
I'm finally here. Took a train to Tampere Sunday evening. Super tired after a fantastic farewell party the night before. And on Monday morning I flew to London and had a wonderful seven hour wait for my next flight to Porto. Ghaa. I'll have to remind myself to never do that route again. London Stansted might just be the most boring airport in Europe, after Tampere aiport (which looks more than a bus stop than an actual airport).
Anywho, I arrived quite late on Monday and was greeted by my new roommates (who btw are awesome!) and went almost straight to this tiny cosy gin bar. Where you simply choose a gin from the 50 different ones they have displayed and they make a gin tonic of it with some spices.
After this, I collapsed in my new room,. waking up in the middle of the night TOTALLY FROZEN. I have this beautiful room with two(!) french balconies, but ofcourse, they're not isolated and the temperature in my room is the same as (if not less than) outside. So the following day I went pyjama-hunting. And bought the thickest and warmest pyjama and pair of slippers I could find. The following night, I can tell you was much more bearable.
So the past days I've been meeting friends and hanging out with my roommates, also been to some parties and what not. The only thing that's bothered me the past days is the (almost) constant rain. And the humidity doesn't allow your clothes to dry. Oh well, even a better excuse to get started with the thesis (the reason I'm here) which I'll have to write about another day.
All in all, I've started my stay here quite well, quickly finding my way back to the people and places I used to know here.
The street where I live, in downtown, my favourite area.
Random but beautiful street art
And my room, ironically it has a FAKE fireplace.
This blog started as a travel diary in spring 2013. Now I continue writing about my stay in Porto during spring 2014.
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Places visited April-August 2013:
Profile and background photo by Astrid Lindroos