Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, after the Capital (Lisbon). It is split in two by its huge wide river, Douro. There are a number of beautiful metal bridges crossing the river, which makes for picturesque photos. This is a beautiful city to visit, not just because the steep sided valley (coupled with historical artistic architecture) that gives way to continuous beautiful views, but also because the food is delicious here. Especially coupled with Port (fermented wine) that is made here. If you haven’t tasted it, you get red, rose or white varieties. However, the more aged the Port is, the stronger and better the taste can be (similar to whiskeys). Basically if you like sweet wines with a strong fruity flavour, you’ll probably like Port.
The morning started out strange for both of us. In just over a day, we’d both be home. The Magician would then be flying to the UK to meet my family. It was the times we would get to know who we both were outside the Camino. The Magician had never seen me in my staple clothes of dresses and jeans. And it was the same for me, with the Magician. With stress running high over breakfast we had a ridiculous argument over something completely minor. This left me feeling distant from him, unsure of who he was, where we were going. A strong need to pull away and protect myself started to emerge. Echos of warnings that ‘this is a holiday romance’ from friend’s echoing back through my mind.
The Magician and I didn’t have much time in Porto, but also wanted to enjoy a little shopping. From walking on the Camino I knew I’d lost some weight, but I was excited to see how much. Pacing round the changing room I struggled to find clothes that suited me, but immensely enjoyed the fact I was back to a healthy size for my body. The first time in over 6 years!!!
Wanting to make sure we still enjoyed some of the city, we spent the afternoon on a tour around a Port distillery and had a boat trip along the Douro. To be honest these felt like simple easy touristy things to do. Which was fun, but it felt very gimmicky and didn’t really give us a feel for Portuguese people, culture or the history of the town. On the plus side we did get some nice views of Porto from the Douro river. The distillery tour could have been better if we’d had time to stop and taste the port (but unfortunately we were running out of time and had to make a run for the last boat trip of the day). The evening we spent at a vegetarian all you can eat buffet restaurant (da Terra) which made up for the hectic running around we’d done all day. The variety of food was amazing, and I think its sufficient to convince even the hardest critic that vegan food can be tasty and doesn’t just involve carrot sticks.
My Camino was over. It was hard and weird seeing everyone else continuing to walk. The little seed that wanted to keep walking was taking route inside me. But I wasn’t sure how that would work with the Magician and me. We’d talked so much about having a project together. This didn’t really cater for me continuing to hike (let alone for a long period of time). Then after the silly argument in the morning, I was beginning to turn into my little self protective bubble. I was feeling it was so much easier to just run far away from having an honest conversation with the Magician about my wants. Distance continued to step between us and stress running high lead to another ridiculous argument on our way to the airport in the morning. I left Porto alone on my way back to England, day dreaming that life would be easier in complete isolation. I wouldn’t have to deal with any honest difficult conversations.