Before I left for Portugal, my friend Kitty was telling me about her experiences there. In Porto, she went to see one of the world’s most beautiful bookshops where it is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling during her time in Porto.
So as a book lover and a Harry Potter fan, I woke up at 5am and took a 3 hour train trip which eventually landed me in the middle of Porto, with some helpful guidelines from Kitty (thanks again!)!
On my walk from the station into the city centre, I decided to stop for a coffee. Quite a few of the places in this area look fairly old but this one intrigued me because of the colour of the cushions on the chairs!
It was the foamiest cappuccino I have ever had, the foam literally took up half the space of the cup. The cappuccinos in Portugal that I’ve had have all been extremely foamy (I should go back and keep testing this theory!). But the barista and supplier appreciated my attempts to speak a fusion of Spanish and Portuguese and after a quick chat, I left feeling very happy.
During the walk I explored some of the shops, where I learnt Portugal is the world’s largest manufacturer of cork. This seems to be helpful for a popular wine district!
I finally found the bookshop (Livraria Lello) along with a queue to get in:
But it was worth it to see inside:
The English section was small and a number of people were crowded around it. I settled on two books as gifts and Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd for myself.
I spent a bit of time navigating the streets:
There are so many antique shops and craft shops in Porto. I personally found this one cute because of the colourful lightbulbs (above).
Eventually I found Amarelo Torrada, which translates to English as “yellow toast”! The decor was mostly yellow and I ordered an amazing toast, which came with a mini tube of vegetable soup and chips (great for 4 Euros!). The waitress also taught me obrigada (Portuguese for thank you)
I kept navigating through the streets down to the wharf. What I love about Portugal is how colourful everything is!
The Douro River and Dom Luís bridge:
I loved what I was able to see of Porto, it was definitely worth the long hours on the train!