This is possibly my most-spoken phrase in Porto. It translates as ‘a coffee and a cream’ which doesn’t really make much sense until you find out that “uma nata” is the short-hand version of “pastel da nata” or cream tart in our vernacular. It’s probably the best thing about Portugal, mainly because it is unbelievably delicious and there doesn’t seem to be any maximum quantity of them that you can eat in one day, but also because they cost next to nothing. Well they cost about 40 cents to be exact, which along with a 50 cent coffee means I don’t even need to spend more than an Euro for this little duo.
Which also brings me onto one of the other things I have been enjoying about Porto, and that is that it is surprisingly cheap. A decent bottle of wine can be bought for one and a half Euros, that includes white wine, red wine, and my new favourite, green wine. An unbelievable bottle of wine can then be bought for 3 or 4 Euros which is about the same as a litre bottle of beer. Which basically translates into the fact that I’m drinking a lot more wine these days. Port has had to take a back seat as unfortunately the weather has been far too hot to even think about drinking a glass. Which is where green wine comes in, pretty much the most refreshing of all the wines I’ve ever tasted. Up there with the glory of white zinfandel for a summer’s evening.
Another way in which Porto wins in the money-saving stakes is its love for staging free events over the summer. On Sunday I went to see live jazz in the park which sounds like something my gran would tell me was going on but was actually especially good, with a free jazz trio from Cape Verde and Cuba freaking the hell out as everyone lay around the stage smoking grass and drinking beer. Very nice. There’s also free Brazilian music at another park that I haven’t got round to checking out yet, and also free cinema at the History Museum, though as at the moment the only film they’re showing is A Night at the Museum I haven’t bothered going to yet. However, it’s always nice to have some cheap options, and when they are free well it just doesn’t really get any better!