This post is about reminders: of us two, being freshly in love, while falling in love with Portugal; reminders of old and of new. We were excited to go on our first short trip together – as couples do! :) Who knew that three years later we would find us again in Portugal, and all these lovely façades of this place, which we came to adore, would turn to be part of our daily life?
Intrigued by the first-time tourist gaze about how colorful, messy and full of life Portugal is, it is interesting to witness our image of it changing over time, this time living in Lisbon, when scrapping under the azulejo façades, seeing past the layers of beauty and getting to know other realities as well.
Porto is a city of nostalgia and old money, with streets full of melodies and stories to be told, where your fantasy can go wild about all the lives lived here over generations. For long though it seemed to be falling apart together with the colonial empire that brought its glory, and the only thing keeping it together seemed to be majestic steel arch bridge over Douro River, the longest of its type upon completion, in 1886. But the touristic buzz is catching upon Porto, adding to the increasingly dynamic and hyped landscape.
In Aveiro we didn’t hang out for too long, just enough to absorb the views of some architectural jewels here and there and to enjoy a beautiful bike ride through the countryside to the beach. Where we subsequently lost our wallet. Bottom line: we ended up in Coimbra broke, but enthusiastic. Determined to get ourselves out of this mess, we put adventerous mode on and just started to ask people, if they have a place to sleep for us. Well – lucky we, it payed off soon and a kind guy showed us this student community in the middle of the city center. This is how we were introduced to the famous Republicas. Since it is a university city since the 14th century, the city is teeming with many student communities. Of all, we got to know República da Praça, in Praça da República. We were welcomed like old members and ended up spending a couple of days with the students there. So easy to make new friends! And this situation shows the magic of traveling: somehow it all comes together better than even expected, misfortune turns to become gold, if you let it happen!