Today we woke up to a bit of rain. Decided to check out FC Porto stadium.
30 min walk or metro ride, amount of time was the same, so we walked.
On the way locate a bakery for coffee and croissant, our Bfest of choice.
Walked through neighborhoods until suddenly a break in housing, a small park, mall appear as does the large stadium.
The mascot is a dragon so first thing on the stadium we notice is the tribal tattoo like image of a fire-breathing dragon.
We walk around the stadium, which affords us a nice view of east Porto, not nicest part of town, lots of cargo trains and unused buildings.
No entrance can be found so we decide to head down stairs after actually walking completely around, along the outside of the arena.
Sure enough, ground level has arrows pointing towards the tour entrance.
We are an hour and a half away from next tour, it’s a no go.
We walk back to the apt to figure out the day.
Walking along the street that runs in front of out apt, who do we see, literally the only person we know in Porto, our Airbnb host!
We shake hands and chat a moment. He reminds us of St John’s festival by the river later that night: ‘It’s all night, fireworks, fiesta!’
Oh we are planning on going to the river, maybe we will see him down there.
Make it back to the apt and we all just crash for 45 min. Just quick nap until the sun peaks out of the clouds.
We metro down near the river. We walk around awhile looking for a bev.
We decide to try a semi nice place right off the water. The maitre d directs us to a long table vs table in the middle of restaurant, which he says is only for dinner guests. He will repeat this same dialogue to several more people who sit in the middle, even some who asked for a food menu. No! Dinner only!
They have a white port drink so we try it. Sort of like a mojito, tasty and refreshing as it is hot out again.
In the river there are firework floats ready for later.
Lots of activity as they set up booths, beer taps and other activities all around us.
We leave our nice but expensive seats to find more beverages.
Around and around we go, block after block is full of people.
I decide to get a gelato as it’s really hot and I keep seeing people walking by with them.
As with anything you want, I cannot locate a gelato spot after several minutes of wandering. Where are these people buying these gelatos? It all looks fresh, big scoops, has to be nearby.
Finally locate an option, it’s good and light.
Jeremy is hungry so we follow his lead to an Indian restaurant, always a good vegetarian option.
Man I wish I didn’t eat a gelato, ruined my appetite, as food smells great here.
I find a taster plate, smaller portion of rice and chicken, thinking about Marsala or vindaloo.
Luckily Jeremy’s plate has a lot of sauces so I spoon some green and red curries onto my rice. I’m shocked at the lack of spice, sabor in Portuguese food.
No worries as per usual, Indian food has a bit too much spice, got damn and this is just dipping sauces for naan! Vindaloo would have been tear inducing hot.
As it gets dark, we make our way back to the square where we hopped on the bus.
There is now a huge stage ready for a band or DJ set up that wasn’t there a couple of days ago.
Ah got the last table on busy corner.
Tradition for St Johns day is plastic hammers that people bop you on the head. Many children walk by and bop Jeremy as he is closest to street. He presents his head for every child, as it’s the right thing to do.
Soon, all outside tables at our restaurant are cleared but ours, time to go so waiters can party too.
We make our way near the stage, music hits and is LOUD.
Two DJs take turns playing songs. Both drink beers, one chain smokes.
We see people of all ages dancing, swaying and bopping strangers on the head.
Everywhere around us, we see people launching paper balloons, parachute like items into the air.
A small fire is started beneath a balloon, the balloon fills with smoke and then it’s launched into the air.
More than one of these fire balloons are caught in a tree or rooftop but yet no fires are started.
We keep walking around streets, getting beers from the many vendors set up, all beer is cheap, 2€.
We are near river when we hear fireworks but damn castles are too tall to see fireworks.
It’s late, we have an early flight so we have to leave the biggest most orderly party we’ve ever been to.
At the metro stop we notice more people arriving vs leaving, it’s after midnight.
We pop into the cafe for final Portugal beer. Most everyone again is drinking espresso.
Many large groups are filing into the metro on their way to party as we walk to our apt one final time, after 1am.
Song: the Knife Silent Shout
Beer: San Miguel