What do you write when you are in love? 🙂
It is what it is, is what the German poet Erich Fried already expressed in his magical poem about love. We are now talking about Porto and its adjoining Douro valley, home to the magnificent port wines of this world. I literally fell head over heels. The country, its people, the culinary delights, the beautiful landscape of the Douro valley. All of it has simply drawn me in, to a point where I cannot stop smiling. And this when I thought that my recent trip to the surf camp in Ericeira would already do the job of turning me into a happy poet / philosopher here in Portugal. But no. Be prepared to be surprised, is all I can say! Great wines, a wonderful international music festival, excellent cuisine, happy people sharing unique stories is what you will find here. Have a look with me.
It all started with my experience of Taste Porto Food Tours. André & his team are culinary storytellers with a mission: To express their love, and life passion, for a city going wild about food.
“Well well, here are two of a kind”, I can still hear my brother laugh when he reminds me of my first encounter with our culinary city guide André. If you, like me, love good food and inspiring news stories from local people around town, then you cannot help but run into André while in Porto. Together with my brother Julian, his girlfriend Christine and our friend Fanny, we have come to Porto to join Primavera Sound Music Festival for a few days. Right ahead of everything, I have registered us for a TASTE PORTO FOOD TOUR. The name says it all: On this tour, we taste our way through the city of Porto, including delicious flaky pastry, juicy sardines, fresh coffee, spicy cheese all the way to sweet Pastels de Nata & Eclairs, as well as excellent wine from all over Portugal. To die for. For the duration of this three and a half hour tour, André literally managed to unlock heaven on Earth for us!
You do realize that this is my thing. This tour is right up my alley! Spending time with inspirational local people, learning what it takes to make a living from their passion, making heartfelt connections with them and their forms of expression next to all this amazing food being served: What could possibly be better on a first-time visit to a new city?
Porto Food Tours go right through. While we walk through the old town, André tells us interesting facts about the history and development of the city, its culture and its present life that continues to embrace diversity, the cultural riches of its past as well as a unique sense of charm. It is easy to see why André loves his town. His passion does much to win us over in no time, too.
Check out some more culinary blog posts & opinions about the city of Porto on Chiara’s blog post about “Portugal: A Porto Foodie Guide” as well as on “Oporto Encanta” (amazing, mouth-watering pictures there!). For everything else, make sure you check out Porto Food Tours.com.
Douro Valley and its port wine estates: Excellent taste meets internationally acclaimed culture.
Oh, beautiful Douro valley. Again, I cannot help but revel in my memories. “You have to go and see Alto Douro, the river valley much further inland from Porto”, is what my brother tells me after having consulted his Lonely Planet travel guide. “This is where most of the traditional port wine estates are located!” He knows what is good for me, being the true #winelover traveller I am! One afternoon, we therefore start by visiting the port wine cellars in the city of Porto right by the Douro river, only to take a road trip into Douro valley itself on the next day. Given all the panoramic (wine estate) stops, this form of individual travel allows us to fully experience this magical river landscape.
The street signs “Rota do Vinho do Porto” and “Alto Douro Vinhateiro” make it easy for me to navigate as a first-timer, driving along the wine route in the UNESCO World Heritage of the Alto Douro in Portugal. The picturesque surroundings of the Douro valley very much remind me of the beauty of our own Danube river valley back home, close to where I live in the Wachau valley in Krems, Lower Austria. There, too, stone-terraced hills mark the landscape with wine being cultivated for over two millennia. During our visit of the Douro valley, we stop at the famous port wine estates of Sandeman & Ramos Pinto, who stand out from the crowd thanks to their impressive history. Or would you have guessed that Adriano Ramos Pinto, founder of Ramos Pinto estate, was a true marketing genius back in the days, substituting biblical Eva’s apple with a glass of port wine – on a nude painting billboard advertisement?!
All I can say is that Portuguese people know how to relax and enjoy life. At least in this area around Porto & the Douro valley. 😀
Last but not least, let me take you a journey. Be transported to light, happiness and humour expressed in the following travel videos that share so much of a passion & joy for the city of Porto: Who wants to go to Portugal with me?