Porto, Oporto, oh Porto. How can I put into words about you.
As I first got introduced to you, you flood my senses with the many sides of you. Your grand dark stones churches with beautiful white tiles of printed blue paintings and haphazard buildings of decaying walls that allows you to peek into its previous colorful glory. Your cobblestoned streets that goes up or down like waves, old brown tram rambling by with the overused pulley and a calm river cutting through your curves with seagulls swooping by and by. Your huge metal structure of double layered bridge meant for cars, trains and foot no less which I couldn’t quite decide if I hate or love for its garishness but which soon grow on me as a welcome sight of awe and served as a compass for the surroundings. Your many hidden alleys that winds around your belly giving ways to many delightful secret finds in nooks or opening up to stunning views of rooftops and endless horizon of the sky and sea. Your grafittis after graffitis stamped all over your bosom, giving either awe inspiring pauses or flinches of distaste. Your countless windowsills filled with tantalizing golden pastries and wafts of aromatic smooth coffee which you served up small and strong, marrying both of them like a match made in heaven. Not to mention your intoxicating unique port wines and surprising refreshing locally brewed beer.
After a week of dating, I finally get to know you in depth. You quickly took over my days. The day would only truly start with your smooth coffee and rich pastries in the middle of the morning. I got used to climbing your hilly streets, expecting to see yet another steep climb after every turn and knowing I will be rewarded with a spectacular view at the end. I even had a rare flat trek along your river even though a blanket of mist had came and covered you for a while. There was also the farce of taking your tram for the first time in attempt to get back to the center only to find myself going there and back again where I started, hilarious but definitely a thrilling ride. I hungered for more and took the tram again another day but this time with better planning and managed to make my way to your beach, which I spent half the day tanning and dipping my toes into your stone crashing waves that crept up inch by inch to me as I sat there. In between there are the countless glasses of wine and beer that is ever so fresh and generous, I have never seen wine filled to the brim till I met you, and of course your specialties of bacalhau (dried cod fish) and grilled seafoods tickled my taste buds. Most nights ended early for me but I would not forget the time when I wandered out at night to your ribiera (the river) and had my night turn into a scene from a love story. I had a long and intimate time with you on your Ponte de Luis bridge (how could I had even thought it was garish?) on the last night, with talks of hopes and dreams while the moon hover over the lights along your river with traditional soothing music floating up to surround us.
When it comes to parting I knew it would be hard, how can I forget you? Maybe I won’t. I left with the heart to return once again to see you when I finally fulfilled the pact I made with you on the bridge that night. I left with the words to tell everyone else to come and meet you, promising them it would definitely be a date to remember. I left to finally write this open letter of love to you, my Porto, Oporto, ohhh Porto.
Porto (Oporto), Portugal
24-31 August 2014