“Oh.” Some people would say. We felt a little judged at times for not doing the Porto wine tasting, or following the typical advice on things to do in Porto. But we did not mind. Vacations are your own, and only you can choose to do the things that matter to you. After our wild night out, we decided to take it easy, and walk down the shopping street where you can see the Majestic café where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. We prioritized resting, and wandering very slowly under the rare, sunny day (Porto is known for its pouring rain, which we never got to experience).
We walked into 2 churches, just because, and where astounded by the images. The first one was the Igreja das Carmelitas: dark, and gory, it was like no church we had ever been to. A human size image of Jesus, as bloody as they make them, lying inside a clear casket, made you feel anything but peace the moment you walked in. The ornate walls and ceiling felt like they were closing in on you, slowly, with little light coming in, and a silence we could not break (except for Christy’s camera clicking). “That’s one way to approach it.”The other church was the one below Torre Dos Clerigos, which was a little more cheerful (but still had a Jesus image that shocked me with how dark and gory it was). This one had pink walls, giant windows to let light in, and less of a guilt trip feel to it. It was more of an artistic church, more to my personal liking.
One of my favorite moments had to be the boat ride in Rio Douro. We did this during sunset, and paid no attention to what the bridges meant. Instead, we smiled, and covered ourselves from the cold wind, admiring the little girl opening up her arms, “Como en el Titanic!” she said. I am happy to know a 7 year old is being shown movies that matter from back in the day. Then she proceeded to do some push-ups. “I wish I had that motivation,” Christy said.
It was our last night in Porto, and we walked over to Vila Nova de Gaia (which is on the Southern side, crossing the Rio Douro). We had been up so many hills, that our feet were just begging for rest. But no matter how many naps, and coffee breaks we took, the pain became a part of us. Just when we thought we had recovered, we’d start walking again, and within 45 minutes we were in intense pain again. I was surprised because I am used to heavy walking in Madrid, and Christy is one of my fittest friends. But at last! We decided on a place to have dinner, our “last supper” in Porto. Our dining choices in Porto were mainly ruled by Christy’s celiac diet, which I was happy to follow. It is rough to find something to eat in Porto when you’re celiac, but we settled for less traditional choices. We ended up having an incredible feast of lamb, fries, salad, and half a bottle of wine (not the classic Porto Wine, but still a local choice. Porto wine, I am sorry to say, is not my taste at all – thick and sweet, I can barely drink a glass).
It was such a special evening. I don’t remember everything we talked about, but I do remember getting emotional. There is something about Christy eating dinner that pulls on her heartstrings, and the woman just can’t keep it together. “It’s getting worse as I get older,” she said mid-tear. Well we are two 26 year olds, sustaining a long distance friendship, working jobs we can be proud of, gaining greater independence, feeling confident in the chaos, and most importantly: living our wildest travel dreams. If that does not bring tears of joy to one’s eyes, I don’t know what will, my friend. I don’t know what will.