We are well into our trip to Portugal and so far we have only good things to say. When we landed in Porto it felt like home. It was kind of strange for all of us, we later discussed. My mom loved the fact that we could walk anywhere and that the nearest cold beer was down the stairs from our apartment. The water, the cool breeze on the Douro River, the sunshine, the wine. We felt completely relaxed. Time for sleep was scarce but that didn’t seem to affect our moods.
I couldn’t wait to be on this trip because I intended to entice you with photos of succulent cuisine and accompanying recipes. But actually, this first post isn’t at all about food.
We spent our last day in Porto at the Ribeira (the banks of the Douro River), which happens to be one of my favorite places on the planet. We watched the people walking past, we drank beer and we chatted with the waiters. By the time we left (and thanks to my mom), we were friends with the entire place.
Next stop was a restaurant, also on the river’s bank. Before the Portuguese waiter could get our drink orders, my mom complimented his good looks and asked for a photo. When we joked with her about the waiter and the kiss on the cheek that he gave her…mom told us we were just jealous because no one else in our group had stolen a kiss from a gorgeous Portuguese man. Okay, better not argue with mom.
We saw some young boys, probably ages 8 or 9, jump off the pier and into the water. The sun shone on the river and it glistened. A man played with his dog, a Dalmatian. A musician with his guitar sat in front of the restaurant and plucked a tune. After dinner we left a little sad, knowing that it would be our last day in Porto. I was in a slight daze, half conscious of my surroundings but half-mesmerized by the magic of the sunset. The sunset is faithful; beautiful every time. I had my back to the water and heard the voices of children play-fighting. Something brushed against my back. When I turned to look, it was the same young boys from the dock, one very blond, the other had light brown hair. They wore pastel-colored swimming shorts. One of the boys pulled the other in my direction while the boy twisted and turned trying to free himself. But before he could get away, his friend pointed to him, then to me and made a heart shape with his two hands. I giggled and gave him my heart back. My little love and his friend ran off, laughing and playing. And just like that…a boy on the Douro River stole my heart. Life’s most beautiful moments happen unexpectedly. Spontaneous yet familiar, embracing while freeing. That is Porto.
Estamos aproveitando muito desta viagem ao Portugal. Todos os passeios tem sido lindos e os Portugueses sempre acolhedores. Quando o avião aterissou sentimos que estávamos em casa. A minha mãe achou otimo a fartura de cerveja bem na praça onde ficava nosso hotel. Era só descer a escada do apartamento. A brisa do Rio Douro, o sol, o vinho…Estávamos completamente relaxadas. Tivemos muito pouco tempo para dormir mas isto não afetou o nosso humor.
Eu esperei tanto esta viagem porque queria provocar você com fotos das comidas e as receitas portuguesas. Ao invés disso resolvi falar sobre a beleza do Porto. Quando menos esperamos, aparecem as coisas boas da vida. Visitei o Porto pela primeira vez porque fui atrás de um amor. Ele nao me quiz. Doeu muito. Mas o resultado positivo desta paixão foi que aprendi mais sobre um pais maravilhoso e agora tenho o prazer de compartilhar com a família e os amigos. Conhecemos pessoas muito especiais e nos divertimos muito.
As crianças da foto estavam descansando depois de terem passado o dia brincando de pular do cais. A recordação que marcou muito durante a viagem ao Portugal foi da felicidade de um amor espontâneo e inesperado. O Porto me ensinou que a vida as vezes tira uma pessoa de nosso caminho sem explicação. E que talvez um dia virá outra para alegrar o coração e preencher o vazio.