Sim/Não: Porto, Portugal

To crib from Sun Ra–in my eyes–Porto is the place.

While this is becoming a commonality in a majority of the places I visit, the city is lovely. Cliffs dotted rambling living quarters butt up against the river on one side as wineries producing the syrupy-sweet Porto do the same on the other. As the city moves higher up and further away from the water, a mass of people cowd the streets, many of which are blocked off for pedestrians only.

Being wealthy (Porto is Portugal´s finance capital) and scenic is a blessing for the architecture of the city. Prefectly intact and grandiose public buildings gleam in the core. Moving further outward, the newer architecture still remains at a high quality. One block may feature traditional tile-clad, art deco, as well as midcentury modern buildings. The newly built Casa de Musica was built by Rem Koolhass.

Porto was the rare city that made me feel young: When I went in search of food at 9pm, the streets were empty and the shops closed. Laughter seeps out of windows and bar entrances but the city is mostly quiet (I suppose they have to get up early and fish.). I entually found the Lonely Planet recommended Café Duoro and enjoyed veggie lasagna as students from the art school talked boisterously. I went back the next night.

Surprisingly, Porto–for all it´s fancy-danciness–is affordable. Clothing and shoe shops are omnipresent with much lower prices than the other European cities I´ve been to thus far. It was only only slightly more expensive than America, or so it seemed.

Whether it is because the people of Porto have fewer worries than those of Lisboa or because they are exempt from capital-city insenity, I do not know, but the residents speech is smoother and their demeanor more pacific. That being said, I have learned from keen observation that you should never ever, ever get on the bad side of a Portuguese women–no matter her city.

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