At the beginning of November, Alex, Kelly, MK, Maeve and I took a weekend trip to Oporto, Portugal. We were only there from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, but we had a lot of fun.
(Side note: Over the course of the weekend, we learned that knowing Spanish barely helps in Portugal. We would order taxis in Spanish because they could understand us, but they responded in Portuguese, and we were helpless.)
On Friday, we checked into our Airbnb, which was right on the water. By that time, it was already almost dark, but we went for a walk and stopped into a few artisan jewelry and clothing stores. It took us really long to find a place to eat dinner because it was a holiday.* After about a half hour of searching the entire vicinity, we finally found a tiny, quaint restaurant only feet from our Airbnb. We were a little uneasy at first, because the restaurant was empty and the waiters were realllyy excited to welcome us in (“5 people!!!”). Our apprehension disappeared quickly, though, because we had such an amazing dinner. We had white wine, pasta carbonara/pasta with bolognese (Maeve had great octopus), and we shared a chocolate cake for dessert.
The next morning, we went to a breakfast place on the water, where we enjoyed coffee and crepes. We then went to the Porto Marathon Expo (explanation to follow) and ate a very traditional Portuguese lunch- I ordered the Francesinha, a sandwich with thick bread, cured ham, and sausage covered with melted cheese and a thick tomato and beer sauce. It looked different than I had expected, but it was really good! And, of course, we had a bottle of the famous Port wine.
In the afternoon, we did a boat tour along the Douro River. It was windy and rainy, but it was cool to learn about the history of the river and its economic impact on the city. It was very pretty, despite the weather.
We just had to get McFlurries at Porto’s McDonald’s, which is supposed to be the most luxurious McDonald’s in the world. With its fancy chandeliers and stained glass windows, it definitely lived up to the hype.
Finally, we headed back to our Airbnb, where Maeve made us ABC pasta for dinner. We had a little too much fun spelling our names with the pasta and taking pictures–I think we spent more time laughing than eating or talking!
Sunday was a big day. Alex, Kelly and I “ran” the 6k, MK ran the 9k, and Maeve ran the marathon!!! I had never seen a marathon in person before, and it was so fun to watch the runners (who came from countries all over the world) and cheer them on.
Alex, Kelly and I had to take an earlier bus home than MK and Maeve. Luckily for us, the timing worked out and we were able to use the marathon app to track Maeve and figure out that she’d be running right past our Airbnb within minutes.
For me, seeing Maeve run was the best moment of the weekend. We started screaming as soon as we saw her, and even though she was on Mile 24, she had so much energy and even did a little dance as she ran by. Her energy was so contagious, and hours later, we were still talking about how special it was to watch.
*We got to Portugal on All Saints Day, which is why almost everything was closed. We also heard a lot of people speaking Spanish over the weekend. My host mom explained that holidays like All Saints Day are sometimes called “Puentes” (or bridges) because they bring people together.
It was a really great weekend!