Last weekend, Long Suffering Wife (LSW) and I had a short break in Porto, Portugal’s second city. We went with an old friend of ours. We have a lot of shared history including our revelry at the Horsley Village Disco I wrote about last December. Almost 40 years ago, I introduced her to her (now) husband and, a few years later, she introduced me to my (now) wife. We had a lot of fun in those days of our relative youth and we had a great time again last weekend.
About 18 months ago LSW and I visited Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. Lisbon is a wonderful historical city with lovely walks and views, we were lucky with the weather, we found the people very friendly and we enjoyed ourselves very much. We therefore were keen to try Portugal again.
We were not disappointed; indeed in many ways Porto was even more enjoyable. Again, the weather was sunny and the people we met were relaxed and friendly. The historic streets with their tiled and balconied buildings were attractive and interesting. The views across the hills of the city and the river were sunlit and dramatic. Porto is a little slower, more laid back and perhaps even more at ease with itself than Lisbon. It has an atmosphere that was perfect for our little group.
Our sketchy plans for what we wanted to see and do seemed to keep falling into place. Even fully booked restaurants found space for us. We managed to get prime tables in roof-top bars overlooking the stunning Douro River that splits the city in two. We stumbled upon free port tasting and barely advertised museums that pleasantly filled the gaps between excellent meals and chats over bottles of local wine. The relaxed approach culminated in a takeaway of chicken, chips and salad (accompanied by copious amounts of local wine and port, of course) eaten heartily in our very good AirBnB on the last night of our stay.
Upon our return we found that the weather had been even hotter in our garden than in Porto and that there had only been one short rain shower to sustain the garden. It is looking increasingly parched and manual watering is no longer enough to sustain everything. However, my focus on keeping the beans and blackcurrant plants going is paying off. We are able to have a variety of types of bean at every meal now and I have made a year’ supply of blackcurrant jam with loads more still to pick.
My allotment is faring less well – it’s a long story as to why I have it since it is a few miles from where we now live and so I can’t keep it watered sufficiently. The good thing is that the weeds are not thriving there either due to the lack of rain – although the leeks I failed to harvest last year are looking impressive. More on the allotment another time…..
Meanwhile, I’m planning to visit London again next week and, beyond that, now Paris and Porto have been visited in the last month, LSW and I need to get another holiday into the diary.