Overcast in Oporto.

I arrived in Portugal on a dreary Saturday afternoon. My first impression of Porto was not the same one I believe previous travelers had encountered. There’s something about blue skies that really have a way of making this destination a must-see place. Don’t get me wrong, the grey-skied Porto I experienced was lovely in its own right, but what blue skies could have done for the azulejo-tiled buildings and orange clay rooftops. I can only imagine that it would have felt like a different city, the one that many had painted Porto to be before I saw it with my own eyes.

Due to my apparent inability to read a map, I trekked across the entire city to find that I was on the wrong side of the river from where my hostel was. As a first time hostel-goer, I was pleasantly surprised to meet Dabin and Hinna, my roommates and fast friends for the remainder of the weekend. They are both from Korea, but were exploring Portugal and Spain before returning to their motherland, and I was thankful to share a space with two others who were eager to explore a new city and quick to offer up a laugh when we got past our language barrier.

My reason for the timing of this trip was to see my dear friend Amanda and her mom. They brought little goodies from home that I had forgotten to pack and a much-needed sense of familiarity with them. We spent our time exploring the city, eating pastries to no end, and using Amanda’s self-stick to capture moments when no one was around to take a picture of the three of us.

Being the first trip I had taken since settling into life in Mallorca, I found it really difficult to fly back to Palma instead of to the Mitten. Like the congestion I couldn’t seem to shake, homesickness stuck with me for the days following my flight back to the island. But just like any sickness, homesickness has a way of eventually moving onto someone else. So while I ebb and flow in my adjustment to being here, I am aware that the homesickness will not stay around forever. And in the meantime, I continue to grow in gratitude for the family and friends I had back home that have made being abroad so difficult; I learn more and more just how good I had it stateside. Some pictures below from my two days in Porto.

img_0872img_0875img_0878img_0881img_0883img_0884I see you, Fall, making an appearance and in turn making this islander’s heart a little bit less homesick about missing the changing colors. img_0888img_0901img_0879img_0881img_0895The São Bento Railway Station is covered in hand-painted tiles that depict Portugal’s history.img_0929In front of the Dom Luis Bridge with Amanda.img_0903Livaria Lello Bookshop. While I’m not Harry Potter fan, it was impossible to not leave this city without a picture of the space that inspired the library in HP.img_0905img_0912img_0965The pastries in Portugal did not disappoint. Still dreaming about the Bolas de Berlin, which according to wikipedia is a “pastry similar to a doughnut with no central hole, made from sweet yeast dough fried in fat or oil, with a marmalade or jam filling and usually icing, powdered sugar or conventional sugar on top” and basically the best pastry I’ve ever had, in my entire life. img_0911These tiles were 3D, making them extra dreamy.img_0917img_0921img_0922img_0923Just one of many spaces with graffiti artwork in the city.img_0942img_0954img_0976This red building, even against the grey skies, is stunning!img_0999img_0980With my ever-trusty pack; while it causes my feet to ache and frankly looks like a tortoise shell on my back, we have been many places together already and alleviates me from having to wheel a suitcase through cobblestone streets.

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