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.

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