After such an amazing spring break to Greece I was ready for the beach weather to continue! We had booked this trip wayy in advance which was so out of character for us since my friends and I always did everything so last minute. We were heading to Porto with a group to 7 to celebrate my friend James’ birthday. My friend had booked the airbnb and I had not seen it so I was going into this long weekend blind and didn’t know what to expect. We decided to throw caution to the wind and catch a flight back early monday morning before classes so it was going got be an extra long weekend.
We landed in Porto late Thursday night and after a slight miscommunication with our taxi driver about where our airbnb was we finally arrived. The airbnb was beautiful! So spacious and updated and the price could not be beat. Our hosts were so sweet and left us a beautiful spread of appetizers and wine when we arrived. We finally turned in and slept in late friday morning. We luckily had a grocery store right across the street from us so we headed over to buy some food to make breakfast. This was our first time cooking since being abroad (we all were staying in host families so meals were provided!) and it was so fun to all be in the kitchen doing different tasks and then sitting down to a big family meal! Finally around noon we headed to the beach (with a bunch of snacks in tow!) We were only a 5 minute walk from the beach which was so nice! The sand was so soft, the water was blue, I was in heaven. In that moment I thought that life could not get much better than that. I mean I was in Portugal, laying out at the beach, with all of my close friends! We spent the day lounging, dosing, swimming, laughing, listening to music and eating junk food. We finally decided we should call it a day and head back to cook dinner. Our friend Meg also arrived that night after doing a solo trip to Lisbon for a day!
The next day we got up made another delicious breakfast and then hopped on the metro to go into downtown Porto. We were actually staying on the outskirts of the city by the beach but we wanted a taste of the culture so we headed into the city. Once we arrived we walked around a little and then we headed to where we would be catching a shuttle to a winery where we were taking a tour and doing a tasting. Funny story, it was actually called the magical train wine tour and when we got there we climbed into a little train that drove us around the city and finally to the winery. We learned about Port wine (hence the name Porto) and then were able to try two different types. It was really interesting and we laughed as we got the funniest looks at we were transported in the little train. When that ended my friends and I ate lunch and then just wandered the streets taking in all the beautiful architecture and tiling. We then grabbed gelato and just sat and people watched for a good hour while we basked in the warm sun feeling perfectly content. We ended the day sitting by the river watching the sun begin to sink. We then headed back to our airbnb to freshen up before heading out to dinner. We found this local restaurant right by the beach that served the freshest and most delicious sea food I have ever tasted. They literally cooked the catch of the day out on the sidewalks as people walked by. I ordered the squid and my friends ordered salmon and they both melted in my mouth. The portions were so big and the price was so inexpensive we kept saying that this would never happen in America.
The next day we headed to the beach again. We had already decided that we wanted to try and find a surf shop to rent from after seeing people surf two days before. We found a great little shop and spent the afternoon attempting to learn to surf but more on that to come in another post! That night we cooked dinner back at the house and then cleaned up the place, packed and tried to go to bed because we had an early 3 am wake up time to catch our flight. (editor’s note: I had every intention of making it to my early classes that monday buttttt that did not happen, lets just say I decided to crawl into bed and skip setting alarm to make it to my 10 am!)
It was the best weekend full of both relaxation and exploration. I tried new things (surfing!!) made amazing memories with some of my closest friends and realized that as my time abroad winded down that I had visited some amazing places in my 4 months abroad.
Thanks for reading this lengthy post! As always if any of you are going abroad feel free to shoot me an email with any questions you may have.