“Logic will get you from a to z; imagination will get you everywhere”

Nr 77. Sailing Porto

After a warm welcome in Portugal, we were excited to sail to the vibrant city of Porto! Everytime we talked to people about our worldtrip and that we would sail along the coast of Portugal, they ALL mentioned to ‘absolutely see and enjoy Porto’ since it was one of the nicest cities they had ever visited. It even showed on their face when they talked about it, it lightened up 😊. So we became excited as well to go there and now we are part of the ‘Porto-fanclub’ too!

Porto: a melting pot
The way we experienced Porto was like a melting pot of different cultures. On one hand you have many trendy places and restaurants with rooftop bars and white interiors. A bit like Ibiza, because it’s a city at the waterfront as well with palm trees and the Mediterranean feel. But Porto also has traditional districts with the typical blue/white tiles on houses and churches. More the more Moorish appearance. In that way it looked like Andalusia in the south of Spain or even Istanbul with the Arabic look and feel.

What we loved most, were the different ‘layers’ in the city. It’s a hilly city with levels and ‘terraces’ you have to climb, going through alleys and getting higher and higher up the city. You get rewarded with spectacular views over the colorful houses in Porto and the banks of the river Douro below.

The reverse Eiffeltower
The eyecatcher of Porto is one you can’t miss, in the middle of the city, the bridge ‘Ponte Dom Luís I’. It stretches over the river Douro, connecting the North and South shore of Porto. The bridge was build in 1886 and designed by an employee of Gustave Eiffel and you recognize the style immediately: the iron open frameworks. It’s also called the reverse Eiffeltower. An impressive bridge with 2 levels: first we crossed the lower level with our step and e-bike and when we exited the city, we took the upperlevel. Not to be advised for people with fear of heights!

House of Ports
All major port brands are represented here in Porto. Once we entered the city with our e-bikes, we saw them all along the quayside: Sandeman, Kopke, Graham’s, etc. We are no Port connoisseurs, but we like the sweet and strong taste of Port. So it was time to open the beautiful white bottle of port that we have had on our boat since the past half year! This bottle was a gift from fellow Dutch sailors Bas and Gonda, who visited us when we were in Holland in March 22 in Scheveningen. Bas gave us the bottle and said it would be nice to open the bottle once we were in Porto to make a toast to the country. So on our first day in Porto, we sat down on the shore of the river Douro with the famous Eiffelbridge in the background and made a movie for Bas and Gonda while opening the bottle and enjoyed the great white port they gave us!

We walked in a few of the port houses along the quayside of Porto and some were very elegant and made a real experience of your visit. With live music and live cooking. So you could combine drinking a glass of port (with the date of your visit printed on the glass!) while eating the famous Portuguese pastéis de bacalhau (fried codfish with melting sheep cheese inside) and hearing the lovely music at the background! We did this and made a video of the unique atmosphere of this porthouse:

Meeting Dutch sailingboat Satisfaction
‘Ooh, you have Hertog Jan beer! Great!’ The Frisians Dennis (24) and Nick (23) boarded our catamaran in the bay of Porto. They are on a 1,5 year sailing trip with their red self-repaired sailboat Satisfaction, which we have already encountered a few times. Time to get acquainted! Sailing so young these guys, amazing! “Yes, we mainly meet people who could have been our parents,” Dennis grins. I laugh and want to say: ‘So do we!’. Until I realize: ‘Oops, we (47) could have been their parents too!’. Cough! Another reality check: ‘We are offered so many drugs and marijuana on the streets in Porto, man, it looks like Amsterdam’. ‘Oh’, Gilles says in surprise, ‘we are mainly offered postcards and port tours’. We laugh out loud. Like I say. Reality check. I am impressed by the guys who they have realized their dream of making a big sail trip. They are Frisians and they are so used to sailing, I think they could even sail before they could ride a bicycle! It is in their blood. But they are also very handy, with rebuilding this 51 foot boat, redesigning the electric plan, installing a new navigation system, replacing the interior with 3 bedrooms etc. It was a pleasure to talk with them!

Meeting Silbo again
Remember we helped sailing boat Silbo in front of the Spanish coast? The French family was in distress because of an engine failure and we towed them to their next harbor. They send us a WhatsApp that they were in the harbor of Porto also! So we invited them to come aboard and have a drink with us. They were just 20 meters away from our ship and they took their dinghy and visited us. After Porto they want go to Madeira (500 miles sailing, which is about 4 days with 24 hours of sailing) and after that, make the 3 week crossing to the Caribbean, visiting first the island of Martinique!

Meeting Edo and Angela
And the fun was not over yet with meeting nice people! Edo (architect) and Angela (owner skin clinic) joined our ship in Porto as well. They are friends of us from Amsterdam and they wanted to experience our live aboard for a week. We had a great time together: cooking aboard (learning new recipes!), exploring old cities (like Porto) with e-steps, enjoying the beautiful beaches, paddleboarding and swimming. They really experienced how this life is: sailing the Atlantic Ocean waves, wind and current changing day by day, relaxing on the lounge deck in the sun, seeing the fishermen on their boats early in the morning, help to fill up the diesel tanks with 600 liter diesel (€ 2 per liter….), experiencing the difference in tides (3 meters in this part of Portugal), etc. It was a pleasure to hang out with the relaxed couple!