Monday, May 12, 2008

When You Kiss Me, I Lift: Porto Part 2

Wandering our way to Rio Douro

It has been awhile since the trip now, but there is more to be said about Porto. Here is another installment on the spectacular Portuguese extravaganzas.

Wine Tasting
Because Porto is the world's premier producer of Port wine (duh), we obviously had to try some. We crossed the Rio Douro that runs through the city and went wine tasting Croft Winery. White and red wines (Croft Fine Tawny and Croft Reserva) were sampled. Ehhh. Unfortunately, Port wine is a little too sweet to garner me as a fan, but the wine tasting was fun. What a ridiculous life I have.

Pub Crawwwwl
Last night's pub crawl, apparently the first ever of its kind in Porto, was pretty sweet and quite the unique way to experience a city. Helena, the gf of the Italian guy who cooked us a feast the first night, took us to different clubs and bars all around Porto, and was essentially the local "in" everyone wishes for as a foreigner in a new city.

We started out at Guarany to see a Fado, traditional Portuguese folk music, show. Not to coddle its style but to put it into some frame of reference--Spain:Flamenco::Portugal:Fado. The lady who performed spoke a million languages with an impeccable accent (I want to be her!) and sang beautifully; I definitely had chills within the first few seconds.

Casa do Livro was our second stop, an antique bookstore turned sleek and chic jazz bar. It certainly trumps Jamboree by eight hundred million trillion. A front-row seat to the jazz performance (I was so close that with three steps, I could have touched all the musicians), magical music, and basically everything I could wish for in a perfect night...needless to say, I was freaking out. :)

Next up was Bad Habits, a renovated house with rooms converted into art exhibitions, smokers' social, concert show rooms, a discotheque, and other variously themed lounges. It was super boho artsy and I felt really out of place. Hah.

Stop number four was a small, dark, trendy bar with screamo music pumping, stage 4 lung cancer levels of smoke saturating the air, and lurking creepers galore. We didn't stay very long at that locale...

We spent the next hour at a local hole-in-the-wall, whose only merits were the fried chicken pastries that tasted like ham sui gok's. Tasty. Our group sat around discussing American politics (oh, the joys of pretending I am more well-informed than I really am...) and the best places to buy joints in Porto. So there's that.

Four AM eventually brought us to Bar Pinguim, where Helena used to work. Super cute and classy with black and white photographs everywhere, poetry all over the walls, and chalkable tables like the ones at Earl's Place. Helena ordered us platters of bean-looking things covered in garlic and chili to be strategically squeezed in the mouth, and a ceramic boat that was lit on fire to roast typical Portuguese chorizo eaten with fresh baguettes hot out of the oven. I felt so...authentically Portuguese.

Day 2:
I am blessedddddd.

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