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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

“O PORTO ENCANTA” … Love & Magic on the road.

Dear readers. “I am so inspired”. (#Ibinsoinspiriert).

Only recently, my dear friends & fellow travel bloggers here in Austria have assigned me this unique local lingo hashtag. I guess a big part of it is owed by the fact that Creativelena has forever (been) inspired by writing & sharing stories on her travel blog. And it is true, dear readers. I really am inspired! Today, I want to share with you where and how that inspiration has carried me, painting a picture of a truly special country … Portugal. And zooming in on Portugal, let me take you to a most magic city: Porto, the second-largest city in the north of the country.

I have only been to Porto for the first time in June this year. Ever since … I have learned to speak fluent Portuguese in two months time. Painted a unique acrylic portrait of the city. Written poems in Portuguese dedicated to my friends in town, surprising them on the occasion of celebrating my 31st birthday here with them. “Porque O Porto Encanta“, as dear Rita Branco writes in her mission statement about the city of Porto: “Because Porto Means Magic”. And this is it, dear readers! This is exactly it. 😀

 

“O Porto Encanta” … My love for a unique city.

The city of Porto is located where the Douro river meets the Atlantic Ocean. It is home to many world-famous port wine cellars and protected by the UNESCO World Heritage declaration. During the last few years, so the local people tell me, a lot has happened in Porto, what with the crises continuing to stimulate lots of innovative business ventures – especially in tourism. And Porto has so much to offer, really. From the famous Ponte D. Luis I, to winding your way through its many little old-town lanes, and all the way to the countless panoramic vistas across the city & the Douro river, taking the old tram out to sea (“da Ribeira até à Foz”, as famous Portuguese singer Rui Veloso chooses to express in his beautiful song “O Porto Sentido“), to visiting the famous port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, and of course Porto night life …

Let me take you by the hand and share with you what truly is, so very special about Porto.

Wir beginnen den Zauber der Stadt Porto mit einem Blick vom Ufer des Douro-Flusses auf die berühmte Ponte D. Luis I, ein einzigartige Eisenkonstruktion die zu den Wahrzeichen der Stadt zählt.

We start the magic with a look upon the Douro river and famous Ponte D. Luis I, a unique iron construction that serves as one of the city’s many landmark sights.

 

"Heute ist Waschtag": An jedem Tag, an dem hier die Sonne scheint, hängen die Menschen ihre Wäsche an den Hausfassaden zum Trocknen auf - typisch für den "Süden". :)

“Today is laundry day”: Every day the sun shines here in Porto, people put their laundry out to dry – a typical “southern sight” I would say. 🙂

 

Am Blick auf die Portweinkellereien vom Flussufer der Altstadt von Porto aus können wir uns gar nicht sattsehen ... Ihr?

Hard to take your eyes off the neat display of port wine cellars in Vila Nova da Gaia, as seen from across the river at the Ribeira district in Porto.

 

Eine Fahrt mit dieser zauberhaften historischen Tram bringt uns in wenigen Minuten von Ribeira nach Foz, der Flussmündung des Douro-Flusses aufs offene Meer hinaus.

Taking a historic tram ride means reaching the sea in only fifteen minutes time, from downtown Porto to Foz where the Douro river meets the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Hier draußen, rund fünf Kilometer vom Stadtzentrum entfernt, lässt es sich wunderbar flanieren, genießen, entspannen. So manch einem kommen auch Anregungen für weitere Gedichte ... "Parece Poesie". ;)

Out here, about five kilometres from downtown Porto, you will be greeted by peace, calm and lots more inspiration as the sea works its magic on you … “Parece Poesia”. 😉

 

In der Stadt selbst lohnt ein Besuch eines der weiteren Wahrzeichens von Porto: Der berühmten Stadtbibliothek Lello, in der sich schon mal J.K.Rowling für ihre berühmten Harry-Potter-Romane inspiriert haben soll.!

Back in the city, it is worth checking out the famous city library Lello that is said to have inspired the likes of J.K.Rowling for writing her famous Harry Potter novels.

 

Auch das ist Porto: Moderne Stadtwohnungen im Stadtteil Matosinhos mit direktem Blick aufs Meer ...

This, too, is Porto: New apartment buildings in Matosinhos offering direct access and views to the sea …

 

Und auch, oder gerade abends, lohnt der Blick über die Stadt, zum Beispiel hier vom Miradouro da Vitória.

Night-time Porto also merits your attention: Porto skyline as seen from Miradouro da Vitória.

 

Tagsüber ist der Blick von hier ebenso nicht von schlechten Eltern!

During the day, the view from the same lookout point is a nice one, too!

 

Beim Flanieren hinunter an die Ribeira lasse ich meinen Blick gerne auf den Alltagsbildern der Stadt ruhen ...

I love capturing the many everyday sights & sounds as I walk through Porto … You?

 

Tipp: Den besten Blick auf Porto hat man vom gegenüberliegenden Stadtteil Vila Nova da Gaia!

My tip for you: The best view of Porto is actually from across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia!

 

 

“O Porto Encanta” … My love for art & creativity.

Travelling the creative way is what serves as a recurrent theme in most of my travel stories here. No wonder therefore, that my dear friends in Porto sooner or later start putting me on the right track for discovering arts & culture in town. Rita Branco for instance has me join her for a visit of the Mercado do Chapéu. She, too, hooks me up with Susana Santos, who in turn invites me to join a “home-grown” soap workshop based on Portuguese olive oil! And last but not least … the artists’ cooperative “3 Mais Arte” from Porto contacts me via Facebook, suggesting an interesting visit right next to the city’s world-famous port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. To that, I can only say: Meant to be.

Die Dynamik der Stadt Porto drückt sich vor allem in ihrer hippen Kunst-, Kultur- & Musikszene aus. Hier lädt ein bunt gestaltetes Plakat zur Begehung des Mercado do Chapéu, oder Hutmarktes ein!

The dynamism of the city of Porto is mirrored by an active arts, culture & music scene. Here, this colourful billboard suggests we visit the Mercado do Chapéu, or hat market!

 

Das Beste dabei: Dieser wird von Studenten der lokalen Tourismusuniversität veranstaltet, welche jedes Monat einen Markt mit einem anderen Thema ins Leben rufen! Hier treffen wir den verantwortlichen Professor zum Interview - natürlich mit Hut!

The best thing about it: The market is actually run by students of the local tourism university, who each month have to select a new, different theme for the organization of the market. We meet the responsible professor for a short interview – all of us wearing a hat, of course!

 

Meine Freundinnen Rita Branco & Sara Dias stellen mir auch diese charmante Dame vor, welche für das Hutmuseum von Porto verantwortlich zeichnet - und dort auch Filz- und Hutmacherkurse für Besucher anbietet!

Chatting to the people at the local market, I am introduced to this charming lady of the Porto Hat Museum, even offering workshops for felt-making & learning how to make your own hat!

 

In ganz Porto ist der Hund / Hut los ...

It is raining hats & dogs, all over Porto, apparently …

 

... und wir tüfteln weiter, beflügelt: Beim Kurs zur Seifenherstellung geht es vor allem um Genauigkeit und - Chemie!

… and we carry on, inspired by all this vibrant art scene: Learning how to make your own soap is a process based on a lot of accuracy as well as – chemistry!

 

Seifenherstellung ist Kino ist Kochen ist Kunst ...

Making soaps is culture is cinema is cooking …

 

Susana gießt die fertige Olivenölseife zum Kühlen in den dafür vorgesehenen Behälter.

Once we are ready, Susana Santos pours the liquid soup into a container, allowing it to cool down over the next two days after being cut and sold in her soap shop in downtown Porto!

 

Die Künstlerkooperative "3 Mais Arte" schließlich lädt mich ebenso zur kreativen Besichtigung ein ...

The artists’ association “3 Mais Arte” also invites me to get to know their creative premises …

 

... danke für den Blick hinter die Kulissen, liebe Ana!

… thank you for a peek behind the scenes, dear Ana!

 

Die Künstlerkooperative "3 Mais Arte" bietet Künstlern Werk- und Ausstellungsflächen und lädt zu ungezwungenen Begegnungen mit selbigen ein.

“3 Mais Arte” offers workshop and exhibition space to aspiring artists from Porto & around Portugal, as well as offering visitors such as Rita and me the opportunity to meet and exchange with them in a casual, open way.

 

Vor dem Büro von "3 Mais Arte", einem bunt gestalteten Wohnmobil, lohnt eine kurze Portweinverkostung im angeschlossenen Café der Kooperative. "A Nossa!" - mit Rita Branco vom Blog "O Porto Encanta".!

In front of the headquarters of “3 Mais Arte”, a colourful mobile home!, we stop for a short port wine tasting as is custom here in Porto. “A Nossa!” – cheers to lovely Rita Branco and her fabulous blog “O Porto Encanta”.!

 

 

“O Porto Encanta” … My love for food.

Love is food and food is love. Already in my first story about the city of Porto, I have shared my food lover’s perspective thanks to the many sensory revelations experienced through “Taste Porto Food Tour” with lovely André! Upon this next visit of mine, André takes me to another one of his local gourmet places, Taberna Santo Antonio, where we savour incredibly tasty, typical Alheira sausages matched by a nice small beer that the locals call “Fino” here. Yum !! What makes me very happy in addition, is that I am able to feed back my delight in fluent Portuguese to the lady of the house, making those special connections in the heart-opening way that languages are.

Lasst Euch gesagt sein: Es schmeckt wesentlich besser, als es aussieht. ;) Ein Hoch auf die köstlichen Alheira-Würste Portugals !!!

Let me tell you: It tastes much better than it looks. 😉 High five to the people of Portugal, and especially the team at Taberna Santo Antonio, for serving us this wonderful Alheira sausage meal!

 

Check out even more food lover travel tips in & around Porto here.

 

“O Porto Encanta” … My love for nature.

I have to say that I just love green spaces, or nature in general. Every city I go to usually has me check out its parks and green areas almost immediately. Porto has something special to offer in the sense: Parque da Cidade in the west of town, reaching all the way to the sea and home to countless festivals and (music) events, such as the “Porto Sunday Sessions“. In the beginning of October, I get to witness the last in a series of such outdoor music events, topped by a truly breathtaking sunset right by the sea … WOW.

Lebensgefühl in Porto: Chill-out "Porto Sunday Sessions" im Parque da Cidade laden zum Ausspannen unter freiem Himmel ein.

Porto, a feeling: Chill-out “Porto Sunday Sessions” at Parque da Cidade inviting everyone to relax and enjoy the good vibes.

 

Ich mag es hier ... die Ruhe, die Weite, der Blick, ein bisschen Musik im Ohr und entspannte Menschen rund um mich.!

I like it here … the peace, the calm, the views, a little music in my ear, and happy people around me.!

 

"Porto e Punto" - die aktuelle Werbekampagne der Stadt Porto als Plakat im Stadtpark.

“Porto e Punto” – the current billboard campaign advertising Porto, as seen at Parque da Cidade.

 

“O Porto Encanta” … My love for the sea.

So now, let us head to the sunset magic of Porto, dear readers! As if the sea itself wasn’t enough to enchant any poor landlocked individual such as myself, the atmosphere filled with surfers, music, sunset & beer against the backdrop of a city like Porto simply becomes … mind-blowlingly beautiful. I warn you: The following photos are to be looked at with care, as they will make you want to go there immediately and infuse you with a sense of nostalgia, or “Saudades“, as the Portuguese are known to express in their Fado culture.

My instructions for travel happiness read as follows: Go to Porto. Get on the comfortable, modern Metro line A all the way to “Matosinhos Sul”. There, most importantly!, take off your shoes. After only five minutes, feel the sweet, soft sand tickling your toes. Now, allow yourself to squeal with delight! Have a cool beer. Ask whoever you are with to take your picture. Beam and start smiling through your eyes. Laugh out loud. And hold it. Hold it, right there. At the very point where time and space cease to exist and you simply ARE. Where nothing else is important but feeling, realising, becoming aware that the magic of the entire universe is with you, in this very moment in space and time.

Auf geht's an den Strand: Sonnige Surfer-Boys & Girls am Strand von Matosinhos, Porto.

Off we go surfing, greeting the boys & girls of Matosinhos surfers’ beach, Porto.

 

Motive für Fotoaufnahmen "flattern" einem hier nur so vor die Linse ...

Each flapping of wings makes for another great photograph …

 

... vor allem, als der Abend seinem Ende zugeht.

… while even the birds calm down later, awe-inspired by sunset views like these.

 

Und ein großartiges Motiv das andere jagt ... Faszinierend schöne Stimmung hier am Strand von Porto.

If this is not magic, I don’t know what is … My kind of magic here in Porto.

 

Meine Mitmenschen und ich können uns gar nicht sattsehen ...

Neither myself, nor the people around me, are able to take their eyes off the magnificent views …

 

... an diesem ganz eigentümlichen Zauber der Natur.

… this very spell that nature puts us under.

 

“O Porto Encanta” … My love for the people of Porto.

Last but not least, I want to tell you about the people that make Portugal, and especially Porto, such an inspiring place on Earth. Sara Dias, of Oporto & Douro Moments who upon our first meeting even offers me home-made apple compote.! Susana Santos, of ArteSana Soap Manufactury who spontaneously invites me to her soap workshop in her home in Porto. Rita Branco, who originally hails from Brasil and chooses to express her everlasting love for the city of Porto in the most light-hearted and inspiring way through her blog, “O Porto Encanta” – Porto Is Magic! Gabriella & Ryan Opaz, who among the first wave of expats flocking to Porto successfully run their international wine tourism venture Catavino from here. Besides, they are also responsible for the “Digital Wine Communications Conference” #DWCC and in turn have inspired me as an international wine traveller to join them for the first this year in Montreux, Switzerland (YAY)!

André Apolinário, co-founder, co-owner & tour guide at Taste Porto Food Tours, whose dream is to have his business as THE place to go for food lover & gastronomy explorations of town: I can assure you that he is on a good way there, both him & his team! 😉 And of course all of his lovely friends who I have been so happy & fortunate to meet over the course of time: Tiago Ferreira. Liliana Patricia Pinto Silva. Xana Maciel. Flávia Santiago. Bernardete Rodrigues. Melanie Rocha. Joana Conde. Sofia Príncipe. Tilda Lindberg Fontes. And many more …

“Queridos amigos … esta é para mim mesmo muita emocão … Obrigada pelo carinho e pelo amor que demonstram sempre antes de mim, tão na minha festa de anos no Porto, uma das festas mais lindas da minha vida, como nos distintos encontros e convites que tivemos na cidade … Quero-os muito!”

Einfach. Besonders. Meinen 31. Geburtstag in Porto mit diesen lieben Menschen verbringen zu dürfen ...

Simply. Special. Celebrating my 31st birthday in Porto, surrounded by these lovely friends of mine …

 

Blogger unter sich: Unterwegs in der Stadt Porto mit Rita Branco & Sara Dias - beim "Selfiegrafieren" natürlich ...

Bloggers on a mission exploring Porto: Having fun with Rita Branco & Sara Dias while taking “selfies”, of course …

 

Rita Branco & Susana Santos stellen sich vor!

Come & meet dear Rita Branco & Susana Santos!

 

Danke auch Dir, liebe Melanie, für den unvergesslichen Abend im portugiesischen Lokal Touca ... beim Plaudern .

Thank you, too, dear Melanie, for an unforgettable evening spent at local restaurant Touca! (E já ves: “O mundo amarelo!” I will certainly make sure to get hold of this book by Alberto Espinosa!)

 

"O Porto Encanta" ... Rita & ich spüren gemeinsam dem Zauber der Stadt Porto nach und sind überglücklich ob unserer wechselseitigen Begeisterung für diese Stadt!

“O Porto Encanta” … Rita & I soak up the magic of Porto, having both established deep connections with this special place on Earth! THANK YOU too, dear Rita, for having published “my story” through your blog: Never before have I had someone write an entire article about .. myself! Muito obrigada mesmo!

 

Danke auch Dir, liebe Gabriella, liebe Sonia, für die spontane Einladung in ein Haus voller Geschichte & guter Weine! Jetzt freue ich mich wirklich schon sehr auf unsere nächste Begegnungen bei der Digital Wine Communications Conference in Montreux in der Schweiz!

Thank you too, dear Gabriella, dear Sonia, for inviting me back home into a house full of wine, storytelling & sharing! See you next time at Digital Wine Communications Conference in Montreux, Switzerland!

 

Obrigada

Obrigada Rita, Bianca, Flávia, Melanie, Xana & André! See you all again next time. 😀

 

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
"Douro Exclusive": World-Famous Wine & Gourmet Moments in Portugal
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2 Comments

  1. Carlinha Granhão

    Olá Elena,

    Que o regresso à nossa cidade do Porto seja bem rápido!
    Gostei muito de te conhecer (no workshop de sabão) e de ouvir o teu magnifico poema 🙂

    Beijinhos e até já!
    Carlinha

    Reply
    • Elena

      Olá Carlinha,

      Que surpresa ter a tua resposta aqui no blog: Fiquei muito contente ao ler as tuas palavras ..!

      Sim, a historia do poema deixou-nos todos bastante emocionados … até a mim que tinha-o escrito! Acredito que isto não passa todos os dias, tem de ser a inspiração da vossa cidade maravilhosa! Um encanto 😀

      Até já,

      Elena

      Reply

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