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Portugal

Our last morning in Porto was a warm one. Of course the rainy weather started to lift the day we were leaving, coaxing us to stay a little longer. We spent a lazy morning strolling around the city, getting our last bifana fix, and squeezing in visits to the bookstore and cafe where the J.K. Rowling sat and wrote the Harry Potter series. I would be remiss if I didn’t pay these gems a visit – as I do claim to be quite the Harry Potter fan. A little overrun and desensitized by tourists though, but I can only imagine how they once were – a rather enchanting and otherworldly space for creative energy.

We were so caught up in trying to see as much of Porto as we could in our last few hours there, we almost missed our train to Lisbon. With a suitcase and a bag of wine bottles in hand, we ran down a seemingly endless number of platforms at the train station and somehow was able to catch our train a brief few seconds before the doors closed. Sweaty and out of breath, one leg of our trip had already come to a close as we moved onto to the next. Lisbon.

A short 3-hour journey (or nap) later, we arrived to Lisbon’s main train station, Santa Apólonia. An aged station standing in layers of brick and faded, powdery blue paint. Thankfully, our apartment was only a few minutes of a walk away. I dragged my luggage across narrow streets of puddly cobblestone to Bairro Alto, a hip and trendy neighborhood in Lisbon that boasts of the best restaurants and nightlife. And by some stroke of luck, this was also the neighborhood we were staying in.

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In an attempt to run away from the inevitable winter quickly settling its way into Berlin, I planned a small vacation to Portugal for a week. And just my luck – the sun only started to appear in Berlin the day I was leaving, and I arrived in Porto during a very rainy state. It continued to rain the 2 full days I was there, until today – where I’m currently on the train to Lisbon, window seat and shielding my face from the blinding sun pouring in from outside. And Lisbon, if my iPhone’s weather app is to be trusted, is supposedly experiencing a small thunderstorm at the moment. Woohoo.

Despite the rainy weather, my stay in Porto was nothing short of warm and cozy – greatly attributed to the “plentiful” amounts of Port wine and inherently compassionate nature of the Portuguese locals.

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