I’ve always lived by the sea, adoring the calculus curves and humbling power of waves. I had seen footage of the largest surfed waves in the world at a Portuguese fishing village called Nazaré, and was eager to include it on our tour of the Iberian Peninsula. It didn’t take much to get my foodie partner onboard, as she was on a personal pilgrimage to eat as many sardines as possible.
Thanks to Mike Burns for reminding me that today is the anniversary of the Carnation Revolution in Portugal. Mike, a Freo muso and ethnomusicologist, is an exponent of Portugal’s emotional Fado music. On 25 April 1974, a relatively peaceful coup took place in Lisbon overthrowing one of the longest-running authoritarian regimes in Europe. Restaurant worker Celeste Caeiro gave carnations to the revolutionary soldiers who placed them in the muzzles of their guns, as people took to the street to celebrate the end of the dictatorship. It also spelled the end of the Portuguese Colonial War that was bankrupting the nation, with African territories gaining their independence.
Porto is a gorgeous old city on the Douro River but, as in any city, there are a few dangers that may befall one:
• falling foul of an “assertive” driver on the steep, narrow, cobble-stone streets
• the eternal wait in the queue to enter Livraria Lello, the bookstore that reportedly was the inspiration for Hogwarts library in Harry Potter (we happily passed)
• renal system overload from all the salty fish (glad I didn’t pass – delicious)
• coronary system overload from eating Francesinha (wish I’d passed – disgusting)
• being bowled over by one of the copious construction cranes (this is a city undergoing serious renovation)
• falling off the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge, built in in the 1880s, after tasting too many ports in Vila Nova de Gaia