Jazmin gave an enthusiastic review of our trip to Oporto over our break. While I won’t discount that the views are spectacular, that we had an amazing time for morning tea at the loveliest shop, or that the people there were very kind (and pretty much everybody spoke English). Jazmin fell in love head over heels, but I did not swoon in the same way. More specifically, I do not plan on our next expat chapter to be done from Portugal for three reasons.
First, the city, while “walkable” was not walker friendly. The same hills that descend into the river? Those are great for breathtaking sightseeing, but are terrible to walk up and down. The worst was a time when we were down at the banks of the river and wanted to get up to two sights that had been recommended multiple times (Garden of the Moors and the ). A common joke among Jaz, Matt, Laurel, and I was that we would race up. Of course, this led to Matt actually sprinting up the inclines, usually racing the other two (I refused, tired of just walking the hills.)
Second,the bathrooms in Porto are the worst I’ve seen since leaving the US. Imagine the worst gas station bathroom in America. Got it? Now make that more or less the bathroom everywhere you go in Porto, with two exceptions. The first exception is the hotel bathroom, which wasn’t filthy, but was very small. The second was a palace that had been renovated into a hotel.
My third problem was the food, which Jazmin liked, but I thought was too dry everywhere we went. The local dishes, for which I had no previous comparison, were actually really delicious, but expect everything else to be more dehydrated than you’re used to. There is a good chance that I’m just overly spoiled by my time in Spain. This is even true of McDonald’s, which is a decent sit-down restaurant in Portugal.