Porto Travel Blog› entry 13 of 51 › view all entries
May 20th, 2009 – by: jenn79
Hung out with Vera today in Porto. Found out that Vera lives in the projects in Porto - very central to everything! I didn't know what "projects" actually MEANT until today. The ones in Porto are probably gorgeous by anyone's standards and designed by a really famous architect whose name escapes me. So projects basically means a cooperation between government/communities to raise the housing conditions of those who can't afford it. But here you have to actually purchase your apartment in the project and you can't sell for at least 3 years. By all intents and purposes, these apartments were fairly large, but very very simple, like no frills whatsoever.
Vera took me to all sorts of neat places today that were within walking distance of her apartment. The historic and still-functioning train station that will celebrate its 100 year anniversary next year, the cathedral that has been undergoing construction for years and years, a couple of gorgeous cafes (I made her eat like 6 meals today), and finally a restaurant by the river. Apparently back in the day, people would throw coins off the bridge and make a wish, and young kids would dive off the bridge and catch the coins! =) Dangerous, but.
We ended up having dinner (my 7th meal of the day) at Vera's, she made a beautiful vegetarian dish with perfectly-cooked eggplant, soy burger patties and pasta. YUM! And then... the phone rang. Vera is off to the Black Sea starting on Sunday to do a cultural exchange program with other EU members in Turkey. The EU subsidized participants so the cost of flights, housing, meals and excursions was just 136 Euro! Seems like 2 of the other members from dropped out at the last minute. In jest, I asked "well, can I go?" She loved the idea and phoned the coordinator. I had big doubts considering well.. I'm not an EU citizen, I'm not PORTUGUESE, etc. the list kind of goes on and on. But I guess they're in such desperate condition because we leave on Sunday! So he was like "does she have any ties to Portugal at all?!" And Vera calmly suggested "yes! she did Habitat in Portugal 2 years ago.
Sometimes I think I'm the luckiest person in the world. If I hadn't gone to Malta to relax I might not have been so insanely bored out of my mind to come to Portugal for such a long period of time. If I hadn't come to Portugal the exact week that I did - I wouldn't have had this opportunity to go to Turkey for a week for 136 Euro TOTAL ALL INCLUSIVE! Unbelievable! I mean, yes, it might suck, but I'll be in Turkey and I'll have a little bit of time to tour around after all the horrible meetings, etc.
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