Tag Archives: porto

“Um cafe e uma nata”

11 Aug

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!

Street Art in Porto

11 Aug

I wouldn’t say that the street art in Porto is as impressive as in Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, but there is plenty going on, and some really nice ideas. Here are a few of the really nice pieces that I’ve seen.

These are by Costah, part of his ‘icons’ series:



These are by Ricardo Días, and are part of his 1000 Tsuri project which will see him paint 1,000 of these cranes around Porto as a sign of rebirth

1000 Tsuri project - #677 (Rua do Almada)

1000 Tsuri project - #677 (duplicate) (Rua do Almada)

And finally this by a guy called Best Ever who might not actually be from Porto, despite leaving quite a few marks on the city.

Out and about in Porto

5 Aug

I figured it was about time I did my tourist thing and got out with my camera here in Porto. So far I have made it a habit of having a general walk-around, scoping out the area, which almost always leads up to sitting in a cafe drinking coffee, then beer, then having a bit of cake, then going home to have a rest. Anyway, this time I did it proper. These are a few of the sites in Porto:


Clerigos Tower – this was originally the tallest structure in Portugal, but that was in 1763 and a lot has happened since then


Kids playing in pool opposite the city hall


Livraria Lello – possibly the oldest bookshop in the world, although I might be making this up


Walking up the hill to Clerigos Tower – the tower used to look over the whole of Porto, acting as a guide for sailors


Couple of old guys passing the day outside one of the many churches in the city. This one was Igreja do Carmo


Another church – Igreja do Trindade

A day’s harvest

3 Aug

Hey, just wanted to publish this photo of yesterday’s harvest:


One of the best things about this place is the amount of fruit and herbs growing in the garden. Every couple of days I am able to get a punnet of fruit together like this one as well as plenty of herbs. In the basket on this occasion were:

  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Yellow raspberries
  • Kumquats

And sitting right next to them are arugula and there is some parsley, basil and chives knocking about there somewhere too I believe.

Porto House-Sitting Begins

1 Aug

My house sitting assignment has finally begun proper. The little dog-rat has been taken by one of the owner’s friends, which leaves me with the job of looking after just Neil the Alsatian and the plants, both pictured here:


Yesterday was my first day of watering the plants. It took about 2 hours. I think this is going to have to improve slightly. Problem is that it’s just too hot here, everything needs a lot of water every day just to survive.

One of the great things about staying at this place is the room I’m staying. It was originally the cinema room but they’ve taken the projector away – I can only presume they think I’ll destroy it with my fat hands. Still, it’s probably the biggest room I’ve ever stayed in and happens to be pretty damn blissful in the evening when I can get the balcony open, as per this here picture:


Now I just want one more picture of Neil, a dog that is so unbelievably friendly that when you get near him he jumps on you, smashing your ribs with his huge paws while pretending to bite your hands. I can probably understand why some people are a bit scared of him. He is really though one of the softest dogs I’ve come across.


Arriving in Porto

28 Jul

Since I returned from Brazil I have constantly been looking for ways to live without having too many overheads, figuring the paltry amounts I get for web designs would not spread too far. One of the most appealing ways of achieving this has been the idea of house-sitting. I started out with the Mind My House website after seeing a huge selection of available houses in France, Spain, Portugal and grumpy, old England, but those old-aged pensioners are just too damn reliable apparently. Well, that is until they forget whether they fed the dog or when they last took their medication, or that they’ve left the house without the keys. Anyway, I was more than happy then to find that my good friend Couchsurfing came up trumps when a couple advertised they were looking for house sitters on one of the groups. I’m obviously far more reliable than all the other unreliable, cheap-skate, new age hippies on the site!

That is why I am now in Porto. I couldn’t tell you how hot it is but every time I stretch to reach another key on this keyboard I break out into a sweat, have to drink a glass of water, towel myself down and then take a shower (I started this post yesterday!) Rain would be more than welcome. Not least because the hills are quite literally on fire. Eucalyptus trees are unfortunately prone to exploding when they get a bit hot, it’s all that oil they’ve got in them, and that means that the forest fires are smothering the horizon in grey at the moment. When the sun dropped last night and the wind changed direction we all went to sleep with the smell of sickly sweet burnt wood in our nostrils.

The particulars of this house sitting assignment are to look after an alsatian and a little rat/cat/dog (I think it’s the last of these), Neil and Lula respectively, as well as the myriad of plants, herbs and vegetation dotted around the house and garden. I’m already used to picking fresh berries for breakfast and herbs and salad for my lunch and dinner.

I’m off to explore the city, which on the map seems very small indeed. As with much of Portugal it’s very historical with a real lack of modern franchises (McDonald’s, Starbucks, Subway, etc.,) so they’re obviously trying to preserve it. On the agenda is to try the local port, seeing this is the only place where the real stuff comes from.