Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2-5-14 Day 20 Porto

Success! We woke up and the rain has finally stopped! The forecast called for rain for weeks, so we are excited for a break in the weather! We quickly packed up our bags and headed out for Bolhão market. 
It is a local public market that is open from 10:00-17:00 everyday of the week, except maybe not Sunday. Many of the stalls sit empty as it is the middle of the week and the hungry crowds are nowhere to be seen. On weekends though, the market fills out as weekly shopping lists are checked off. You can find flowers expertly trimmed and neatly bundled and tied with pretty bows and chorizo sausages hung neatly. 
The jars of exotic honey can be so tempting with flavors like passion fruit. 

With all of the garlic and chilies you would think that Portugal enjoys spicy food, but like Spain there is a serious lack of hot sauces and spices for food in this culture. 
What they are not lacking however is olives, all kinds of delicious olives...and by the bucket full! I am consistently blown away by how many olive trees are here, they are so beautiful for a city greenscape. 
The usual, octopus and I believe the evil looking creature in the corner is a monkfish.
This is actually Portugal's specialty- bacalhau, it is a dried and salted cod that can be cooked into almost anything and is supposed to be delicious we have not yet gotten the chance to try it yet. It does smell awful in the market though. 
We managed to escape the market spending only 1 euro on a good portion of curry to cook with, although the pink lady apples were definitely in need of a good home they are just too overpriced here in Portugal this time of year. We went to the bakery bought a fresh loaf of bread for our usual lunch, meat and cheese and we continued on our way. We are heading to a new host today and are welcome over anytime after 15:00 so that gives us a few extra hours of wandering the still dry streets. Not only dry but also fresh concrete, they are rebuilding one of the main streets in town as a pedestrian only street. 
This once ran as a normal transportation trolley, but these days it is an overpriced "tourist train" that as expected doesn't go very far or fast and costs like 8 euros. 

This is the Arrábida bridge, it is the closest bridge to the mouth of the Douro river, and therefore the closest to the ocean, also it is very beautiful at night. 
The artistic architecture in the city is absolutely beautiful
Alright the walk is over it is time to head over to meet our new host Gustavo. Luckily he only lives a ten minute walk from where we have been staying, which is awesome because both pairs of my shoes are still soaked and Rainbow flip flops are great, but not while carrying a 30 pound pack. We meet Gustavo and one of his 3 flatmates, it was his last day of exams and he is leaving for a multi week trip on Friday morning so some celebration is in order. He has a few friends over and cooks mariscado, kind of like paella with a rice base and shelled seafood all cooked in. While that is cooking we head to a store to get drinks and end up with a bottle of white port and vihno verde white wine, after all we are in Porto green wine and port it is. The six of us sit down for dinner and for dessert we enjoy exchanging our version of drinking games (not the best choice for port by the way). At this point it was nearing midnight, time to go out to Pielho, where all of the students gather to drink and socialize the plaza is just covered in people even through it is directing rain. We had a few drinks and ended the night with shots made of Kailua Baileys and Absinthe layered and topped with cinnamon and fire, pretty but too sweet for my taste so I let Kevin take one.

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