SURPRISE TRIP TO PORTO, PORTUGAL
Remember that time that I took the train to NYC for my 30th birthday trip and my sisters surprised me with a trip to Porto, Portugal instead? Yeah. I basically still can’t believe that it actually happened. This blog post answers all of those burning questions like, “how did you pack?” “How did you have your passport?!” Trust me, we’ll get there!! I had never been surprised with something so epic in my whole life… there are no words left!! If you weren’t following me on Instagram at that time… I was literally crying out of control and in complete and utter shock! This blog post is a few months late but I’m finally caught up with this post after my busy season ended! You’ll find some digital pics, some really high quality iPhone pics, and some film photos from this trip!!! Along with some places where we ate and little stories! I still can’t believe it happened and my sisters pulled off this incredible getaway!
Scroll for more insights/stories/views from Porto and our day trip to the Douro Valley!!! This Porto trip was one for the books!!!
Starting from the beginning… I got to Erica’s apt in NYC and was surprised AF to see Morgan standing there too! I started crying just seeing Morgan! She wasn’t supposed to be in NYC for 2 more days so I was so surprised! Then they handed me an avocado luggage tag and passport holder and all I could think of was *weird… why are they passing me this unwrapped gift so rushed?* You know when you’re overwhelmed and you just like… can’t ready or you blackout because you’re just like I can’t comprehend anything… well that was me! The card was full of all of these “give aways” and I still was like… I don’t get it. They even handed me an itinerary and I seriously was like okay cool – a list of things to do in NYC – I’ve never heard of any of this stuff… but cute they made an itinerary. Erica and Morgan were probably like WHAT THE HECK. I still look up confused… FINALLY… they pass me the copy of the tickets and Erica screams – WE’RE GOING TO PORTUGAL!!!!
and I LOST my mind.
Questions: How did you know what to pack???
Well. Here’s the deal. My mom was visiting me in Richmond the weekend prior to my “trip to New York City.” She kept mentioning that I should get some new clothes for my birthday trip so I had “cute new clothes for pics” and she wasn’t wrong. I DID want some new outfits! I was so bored with my closet! We went shopping. When it came time the next week for me to pack for “NYC” I drove back to Northern VA with literally all of the new clothes I purchased and old favorite clothes and tons of shoes… tons. Mom was like “Why not just bring way more than you need! You’re taking the train to NYC so who really cares” *Nice one mom* The funniest part of this WHOLE thing was when my mom was visiting me in RVA the weekend before she apparently found some of my summer clothes under my bed and decided to pack some clothes for me *just in case* without me knowing it but when we started discussing what clothes I DID have… I mentioned wanting to get rid of all the summer clothes I had under my bed. LOLOL so she shoved them all back so I didn’t notice when I went looking for them to get rid of! HAHAHAHA! Long story short, I brought tons of clothes to NYC and re-packed in a small AWAY suitcase for Porto once I got to Erica’s apt and the surprise was out! Lucky for me – mom convinced me to bring a bunch of sandals so I had those!
We headed out the door literally an hour later! Erica and Morgan had taken care of my ticket. I’m usually “Miss Planner” so to not have any of my gate or ticket info was so weird… but also oddly freeing! P.S. Erica and Morgan said I could only come to Portugal if I wore my sash and 30 crown.
But how did you have your passport?
Great question. SO, when I moved to Richmond, I kept my passport at my parents house because I figured that if I ever WAS to fly somewhere international, I would do it from Dulles Airport! My mom took my passport to Boston when they were helping my sister and her husband move! Trust me, my first thought was “where’s my passport!!!” HAHA!
We ate lunch/a snack? at Terreiro a block up from the waterfront. While chatting with our waiter, we wanted to try some desserts but we didn’t know what to get so he made us our own taster platter of all 7!! He was so friendly and nice to us when we were asking him a million questions about Porto! Also… I don’t have a pic of the desserts handy but we also weirdly loved their bread with butter. Basic and delish.
So getting to this Yeatman Hotel was QUITE the journey. Erica and Morgan wanted to go up and have a drink with a view and we found it on the map but got a little lost and ended up walking SO FAR… but it was worth it…. even if Morgan selected the worst wine ever that we couldn’t even drink (LOLOL never gonna let it go)… we honestly fell asleep for a little bit because we were SO tired. A very welcoming home.
Where we stayed: Flores Village
We were in the PERFECT location for walking to everything we wanted to see! We were steps away from all of the yummy restaurants we ate at as well! Score!
Where we ate:
- When we got to Porto we ate yummy eggs benedict at the Mercador Cafe right across the street from our hotel!
- We tried the the Porto famous sandwich called Francesinha – which is ham, sausage, steak in between two slices of bread covered with melted cheese and a thick tomato sauce. It was… not our favorite but we tried it. I definitely prefer the croque-monsieur in Paris for sureeee.
- WE LOVED our dinner at Cantina 32
I can’t find the menu online in English but we ate seared octopus in mustard sauce (favorite!), stuffed portobello with caramelized onion, goat cheese, and bacon, a giant cheeseboard, a wedge salad with pear and bacon, tuna tataki, carrot cake that looked like orange cake because it was just legit an ORANGE piece of cake, and their famous chocolate cake – so rich – they literally measure out a 2cm size piece in front of you!
Views in train station! Like HELLO! I am INTO this tile right now. This place was crawling with people. I stood and waited for this photo where I had .3 without someone in it! haha
I had my friends film camera so I took a very select amount of photos with it while in Porto! This is one of my favorites! I loved the balconies and these gorgeous red doors and then this man walked out and fit the scene so well – I’m obsessed. Plus… the double stripe action is killin’ me (in a good way!) with his shirt and that striped rug or whatever hanging over the door a few doors up!!!
I spy some sistersssss Porto has some beautiful architecture and colors! I love stopping and just looking up to stare. There was so much to see as we wandered around.
This building was gorgeous but unfortunately in super bright direct sunlight when I wanted to snap a photo. I tried to take photos of it later but then there was one of those nut cart stands RIGHT in front of the door ruining my shot… so I guess this kinda overexposed photo will have to do. Just wandering the streets…
I’m standing here admiring these RED railings and like loving them and I realize it’s the police station… This building was so interesting to look at. Like so tall with cool doors and so many windows. I took way too many photos of it.
These boys were so annoying. They kept trying to get everyone to be so HYPE and we knew better that it was some kind of pickpocketing scheme to gather people together and have their little friend sneak around or something… they never jumped. Two seconds later a bird pooped on my head and no one was honest with me about this until dinner. Literally, who knows what’s going on with Erica. Walked up a tiny cobblestone street to make it up to Graham for a port tasting!!! We got port cocktails at the Porto Cruz rooftop! This was the first level of our hotel room! We had a little two story hotel room. Morgs took one for the team and slept on the pull-out couch. Erica and I got the bed upstairs. We were rarely in our room at all but it was nice! We kept seeing all of these Super Bock signs everywhere so we stopped into a market and bought 3. I’m gonna say it’s the equivalent of a natty light. Next Erica and Morgan took me to this super bougie chef’s tasting dinner at DOP. Damn it was good. I was also not allowed to go to dinner if I didn’t wear my sash. I honestly lost track of how many courses we had at dinner! Each one of them was so delicious! One of the dishes had flavored foam and I was like… I didn’t even really know you could flavor foam… but you can and it was delicious! Porto is right on the water so you can bet they love their fish and seafood! Lots of our dishes included fish. Not mad about it – that salmon and shrimp salad course was delish. The chef even came out towards the end to check on us! I’ve never had a chef’s tasting before… it was fancy and really fun. OKAY we went on a hella cool day trip to the Douro Valley! We took a private tour which was so nice! We stopped at a few wineries and took a river boat ride on the Douro River! There is NO WAY IN HELL I would be able to navigate myself back there. I’m great with directions but those roads… I’m still questioning some of them! Covela was our first stop! We got to try their brand new – not yet released rose among other things! We stopped for lunch at a local spot on the side of the road. Nothing worth writing home about… moving on… We took a little boat cruise on the Douro River! Literally no one talked. I’m pretty sure no one spoke English except for us and this couple from England. I thought there would be chatter on the boat but nothing. I still can’t believe how STILL the water was! After the boat tour, we drove up to the viewpoint! We followed this ADORABLE car the whole way… they ended up parking at the overlook too!! I 100% predict a proposal came out of it but we weren’t there long enough to see it! I love how you can see all of the different terraces on the hills! This was our last stop! We loved the wine here! We also accidentally ate all of the bread and olive oil and he had to go get more for us because we were starving after that questionable lunch stop. On our last full day in Porto, we waited in line to have brunch at Zenith!
Obsessed with this photo of this little old man! I’m glad I took photos in film and digital of this blue wall because the colors came out SO differently! Compare the digital color and film color! The bright blue tile gets faded in the film. I’m glad I took some digital photos as well so I could capture the real color. As we wandered the streets of Porto, you could definitely tell which streets have been cleaned up for tourists and which once are still a little rough. Down by the water and around our hotel was fine but we wandered a little more north of Zenith and it was definitely not cute and a little more sketchy. I will say, I’m obsessed with textures and I found SO many textures and doors that I liked and found to be “pretty” in their own way. I thought these tiles looked like carrots. hahaa Can we all take a minute to LOL at the “Say no to pineapple on pizza” box?!?! I’m dying. I had JUST posted something on instagram about how I didn’t like pineapple on pizza so this was just TOO funny!Remember that giant bridge from earlier!? We walked to the top at sunset! It was the perfect ending to our trip! If you go to Porto, you can’t miss BASE! Pronounced “Bah-say”. We asked our Douro Valley tour guide girl about it and was like BASE? ohhhhh bahhhsayyy. LOL. It’s an outdoor bar on top of a parking garage! We went at night which was cool! They have patio furniture outside with bistro lights and umbrellas. It was neat! Please excuse Erica and Morgan in the tree… perhaps a little too much vinho verde? jkjk
If you made it to the end… well, you can tell this wasn’t my normal blog style. This was more of a journal style brain dump of tons of pictures and little stories! I can’t even believe this trip to Porto was real. SO much wine, food, walking, exploring, talking with my sissies and getting to experience that Porto magic together!! It was truly the sister trip of a lifetime! I LOVE YOU ERICA AND MORGAN! PORTO-gals just wanna have fun!