Not having tested the extent of my mobility for FOUR WEEKS, I somewhat guiltily booked myself ‘special assistsnce’ on my flight from Málaga to Porto. The easyJet employee I spoke to was extremely helpful and supportive and upgraded my booking to priority boarding with a seat in the front row. I duly reported to the assistance desk and after a short wait was invited to climb aboard the wally trolly that wove through the heavily crowded airport.
I sat next to the driver who was patience personified. A charming young man who navigated every type of non-observant person. Those who only had eyes for their phone, others who looked directly at the buggy but took no avoiding action whatsoever, those who were in an end-of-holiday daze and saw nothing at all, others who were intent on looking high above at the directional signs and had no idea what was happening at ground level, and those adorable scraps whirling around in an attempt to make themselves totally dizzy and falling to the ground in our path. My driver was a saint in the making and delivered me to my departure gate just as it was being opened and I was ushered through as number one passenger. Well, there has to be some advantage to this tendonitis business.
It’s very nice to be in Porto again. Such a beautiful city with a fabulous atmosphere. I took the 602 bus from the airport to the end of the line – quite a long journey for just 2 euros.
The bus was driven by a woman who seemed to be in a bit of a hurry. As we reached the outskirts of the city there was suddenly a severe rattling vibration, it felt as though I was operating a Kango hammer (what I imagine operating a kango hammer feels like, I should say). I should have realised…this was my welcome to Portugal – the land of cobbles – roads, pavements – you name it, they lay cobbles on it. I remember them so well from walking the camino Portuguese, and not for a good reason, although they do look very charming!
I saw a few sights that I remember from my previous visit in 2014, but it was all too brief and all too wet to take in many sights. I have decided to take the advice of the wise ones who suggested I use the tourist bus to see more of the city tomorrow.
On alighting the airport bus I embarked upon the longest walk I have taken in 28 days, which was not much of a record as I doubt I have walked more than 100 metres on any occasion since my ‘incident’. Google maps indicated that the walk to my chosen hostel should take 12 minutes. It took me considerably longer. I normally walk faster than google suggests, but certainly not at the moment.
At Hostel Gallery I have a place in a 6 bed female dormitory, 23 euros per night. The hostel is in a charming period property with high ceilings and beautiful wall tiles, very friendly and helpful staff, breakfast included with lots of things I can eat, loads of places to sit and relax, including a roof terrace, a bar and restaurant, where they serve communal meals a few times a week. My room is spacious and the bathroom facilities are perfect, two showers, two loos and two basins. The other women are from the USA, Australia, Switzerland, Asia and Manchester. A delightful and friendly bunch, who are all on the right side of 35, vibrant young things. We exchange travel stories and I totally forget that they are probably younger than my daughters. My pensioner status is irrelevant in such situations.
I consult the App ‘happy cow’ to discover what vegan eating options I have in the area of the hostel. I am happy to discover that there is a well reviewed bar just around the corner ‘Apuro Vegan Bar’. The place is entirely vegan and organic including the wine and beer! It’s very casual, polished concrete on all surfaces and has a resident mog. I order nuggets, hummus and fries. Not as good as the reviews led me to believe, but quite acceptable and a very comfortable ambience. And the wine is very acceptable. I’ve not negotiated crutch con vino yet – it could be an interesting stagger back to the hostel!
I decided at the last minute not to bring my camera. Mistake! My phone isn’t very reliable. A rather dated iPhone 6 which has been on a recent trip down the loo. I am using my camino backpack but with very little weight, probably no more than five kilos, but I should have made allowance for my already much missed camera. So apologies for any poor quality photos I post in the coming days.
The aptly named Hostel Gallery is situated in a road full of, guess what?, art galleries! On my return, I passed a restaurant with a neon sign within…“fuck art, let’s eat”. Made me chuckle!
(Header image taken from google as I had nothing suitable)