Porto. No longer do I feel like a visitor there. Rather, like a “temporary citizen“.
“Bem-vinda em casa, Elena!”, my Portuguese friends call out to me and welcome me home in their typical, heartfelt hospitality. If, like me, you care for the country and its people, even learn (some of) the language, you stand to gain a lot from the Portuguese. They are quite different from their neighbours to the East, and one Iberian peninsula does not make one and the same people. Read more here about what I keep finding in terms of sweet little idiosyncrasies.
Off to Esposende & the country’s next, international tourism conference about creative travel!
Some 40 kilometres north of Porto, I travel to the small town of Esposende, located right inside an area full of natural and man-made wonders: Wine-terrassed hills, fresh seafood, ancient churches & monasteries, the Portuguese Way of Saint James near the Coast. So how to position oneself in all the international tourism competition? As kitesurfing & creative travel seem to be among some of the answers, I am honoured to speak (yet again) on the occasion of the International Creative Tourism Seminar on 21 March, 2017.
Check out my presentation in Esposende via SlideShare:
Sara Dias, thanks to her company called “O Porto & Douro Moments”, is spot-on in providing us with creative cultural travel opportunities in & near Porto.
“I mostly take American clients out around Porto, and into the Douro valley. They love and appreciate what we do here, and it is my pleasure showing them the hidden gems our area has to offer”, Sara explains with a wink. She has offered her friend Rita and me to come out for the day, introducing us to Antonio the silver craftsperson, as well as Senhor Capela, who has been making violins for well over sixty (!) years … “I make about six violins a year”, he smiles modestly, hinting at his world-class renown and international popularity. The magic of entering an ancient workshop, hidden in the small town of Espinho this time, and meeting people with the love & dedication to producing musical instruments, and with a precision I have never seen before, is quite indescribable.
I am hoping the following photographs provide at least some justice to the magic of these moments !
… check out my Flickr photo gallery for even more astounding photographs of this one-of-a-kind, artful visit:
And then, my dear, beloved Porto, of course. To drink? Wines from Lavradores de Feitoria, Alto Douro. To eat? DeCastro Gaia Restaurant at a place called, “My Porto Cruz”.
This has been my eigth (!) visit in town since I first arrived here in the year 2014, and as loyal readers of Creativelena.com you will know, that it has always been about food & drinks here. Most recently, I have had the pleasure of discovering a tiny new spot called “Arcos das Verdades“, near the old cathedral Sé of Porto, thanks to my dear friend Melanie Rocha. Rita Branco, too, who as you might know I walked the Portuguese Camino to Santiago with, has introduced me to the pleasures of a pure wine tasting at Palácio da Bolsa, featuring high-class wines from the Upper Douro valley, as well as more (Port) wine & wonderfully paired food at “My Porto Cruz” Gaia Restaurant & Lounge. Check this out.
Porto walk-around, the place for pilgrims to leave on their magical journey to Santiago …!
We just had to welcome (and wave off) the pilgrims at Catedral do Sé in Porto again. Just under a year ago, Rita and I left on our own spiritual (and friendship) journey from Porto to Santiago; this time, Rita had arranged for us to meet a lovely family from Sao Paulo who thanks to her own publications about the Camino, had now decided to walk the Portuguese Way to Santiago, too.
It’s wonderful what the Internet (and faith in ourselves, and others!) can do sometimes! 😀
… “Elena! Quando é mesmo que você muda por Portugal?” Haha 😀 When is it that I will really, finally move to Portugal? See you soon (again) in Portugal, I believe!