It’s like Russian and Spanish had a baby and named it Portuguese.
I attended Mass at the Cathedral in Porto yesterday. In Italy I could strain and get the gist of the service, but in Porto my brain is mush – it is stuck in a holding pattern, oscillating between trying to translate the sounds it hears as alternately Slavic and Romance. But I can tell where to insert some of the responses, so I do. At the end of Mass the priest switches to English to thank everyone who came to celebrate from different countries – and there are Irish, Korean, French, American, German, and Spanish, among others. On the way out he high-fives a toddler who has been dancing in the aisles throughout the service.
When we exit, the morning rain has vanished, the sun is shining, the square in front of the cathedral has become filled with people, and a busker is playing American folk songs beautifully on his guitar. It felt like when you leave the Church after a wedding and everyone is ready for the party.
It’s my 3rd day in Porto, but my activities have been extremely limited because I found out I had a close contact with someone who was positive for Covid. I didn’t feel ill at all, and daily tests have been negative 4 days out from last exposure, but I’ve only been able to go to the pharmacy to pick up COVID tests, the market for food (both fully masked), or take walks outside away from others. This is my second close contact exposure on the trip, and I’m counting my blessings I seem to have dodged a bullet both times.
Since I’m staying in one spot for the whole week and not traveling with others who are non-veg*n, it’s been easier to eat mostly vegan in Portugal. I’m not strict, especially when I travel, and I already ate a non-vegan dessert, but mostly it’s been vegan even at restaurants. Hooray!
Two vegan/vegan-friendly restaurants I enjoyed (before knowing about my COVID exposure…) were Árvore do Mundo and Essencia – both super delicious. Essencia is high-end, Árvore do Mundo is a chill cafe that reminded me of San Francisco.
Along with being vegan-friendly, Porto seems very LGBTQ-friendly. On the metro platform at the airport, there was a big poster explaining what it meant to be bisexual, then through the window of the metro we passed by a poster explaining what a lesbian was. Not sure if this was for Pride month or is par for the course, but I appreciate it. I’ve seen a few same sex couples walking around openly. I wish I had taken a photo of the posters,but I was focused on trying to figure out public transport at the moment…!
After Mass I walked around a bit, then went home to eat.
… before deciding to go port-tasting down by the river.
And a (slightly weaving, very smiley) meander back home when I was finished.