Portugal, Porto and Aveiro (02 – 05 September)

The next day after the hike along Paiva river we had to go to Porto already. We had agreed to meet Ricardo, with whom we made contact through CouchSurfing. We met him in a really sweet cafeteria central Porto and he introduced us to Oleg and Anna, from Minsk, who were joining us for the day. So Ricardo wanted to show us a little fishing village north of Porto, so we could have the authentic local experience of grilled fish. The place where we went to was called Praia de Angeiras. The famous Santiago de Compostela road also goes through this small village, so we could see a lot of people with their heavy backpacks walking to the north towards Santiago de Compostela. The village impressed us again with such a small houses by the beach… and the fishermen and their families were actually still living in these small houses.

 

It was Sunday, so we had difficulties to find a table at the many many of restaurants nearby serving the fish bought from the local fishermen. The grilling of the fish was done right on the street for everyone to see and admire. When we finally found a table, we all agreed to share a plate of Paltus and Swordfish. The fish came with boiled potatoes and cabbage which was made with garlic and herbs. Kaija loved the cabbage the most. This must be a take-home recipe. The fish itself was also extremely fresh and good.

After enjoying the meal, we went to a nearby beach. That was when we first saw the Atlantic Ocean. Kaija has been to Florida, so she knows the ocean, but it was the first time for Jaanus. The beach itself was one of the prettiest we had ever seen. The waves were just huge. We still wanted to dip into the water, so we needed to fight the waves so they would not drag us to the ocean. The water was around 17 degrees, but Jaanus still did not want to come out of the waves. We took many videos and pictures.

 

The first day in Porto was spectacular! We found new friends and experienced how the locals live in Porto.

On the second day in Porto, we had a mission to visit all the used car and spare parts sellers who we could find from google, to offer them our car for sale. Before coming to Porto, Jaanus advertised in a FaceBook group, Estonians in Portugal, that we have such car to sell. People were really helpful and explained to us how complicated the procedure actually is. Apparently, the taxation on selling a foreign number plate car is extremely high. So we were losing almost hope and thought it might be best to drive to A Coruna and try to sell the car there. But since the language barrier is much bigger in Spain and selling the car in Spain also involves a lot of complicated paperwork as we read, we still decided to give it a try in Porto. Even when no one would buy it from us, we can offer it to someone for spare parts.

We started the preparations on the previous evening, trying to fit all our staff into the two backpacks, which seemed to be impossible. Kaija throw away some clothes, and Jaanus some shoes and other stuff that was worn out already. All excess reading material, notebooks, cosmetics went into the trash. Our Airbnb host luckily allowed us to leave some of the blankets at the apartment, so we did not need to throw those away. We needed to be ready to move on without the car if we managed to sell it to someone on the spot.

Getting our car washed before we try to sell it.

 

We visited at least 10 different spare parts sellers. The best price offer we got was 400 Euros. Since this was under our threshold (which was 500), we decided to still wait for a day and see whether we still find another solution. We also were thinking about leaving the car somewhere in Porto, to come and pick it up, if we are back in Europe. Ricardo told us that it is illegal to park the car on the street for over a month in Porto, so this plan would not work if we would not have wanted to pay for parking 30 Euros every month. So after having spent a day looking for a solution to our car we decided to call the night and meet up with our new friends from Belarus to do something useful and hangout. We decided we will have a thought and let’s see tomorrow again.

Our friends Oleg and Anna had heard that Aveiro is a must visit place in Portugal. During the day, when we were driving through the spare part dealers, they had time to explore Porto and they met a local guy, Lucas, who occasionally earns money with singing on the street. Since he was from Aveiro, we decided we will drop him off there and we can explore the city – the Venice of Portugal. It is an hour drive from Porto, so also not too far away. Anna and Oleg were both quite tired, but Lucas gave us many tips what to do in Brazil because this is where he is actually from. He came to work in Portugal and has been living in Aveiro for some time. Arriving there we were greeted by quite many tourists. We walked along the main canal and watched the big gondolas entertaining tourists. The city center or touristic area was quite small, so it is actually not really comparable to Venice.. Since we had been to Venice, it did not really meet the comparison. But still it was nice to walk around in the great company, and the highlight of the day was a personal song from Lucas to us – Coldplay, our favorite.

 

Close to Aveiro, is also a place called Costa Nova. It is a seaside area with unusual striped houses. The unusual architecture follows the Aveiro Lagoon towards the south and is extremely picturistic, but also very touristy and quite expensive.

 

We decided to also have a walk on the Praia Da Barra, following Lucas advice to enjoy the sunset there. We walked along the pier until the end and were greeted with smiley faces painted on the wave breakers. We made again a lot of photos of Oleg and Anna and from each other.

 

Since the walking had made us hungry, we found a sweet pastry cafeteria and decided to try the most common Portuguese desert Pasteis de Nata. The main ingredients in the pastries are egg yolks, cinnamon and a lot of sugar. The sweet tooth of Portuguese has a long tradition, originating from the Catholic nuns and monks in the region. We heard the story that the nuns and monks starched their laundry with egg whites, they needed to also use up the egg yolks that nothing would go to waste. Indeed, the pastries we tasted, were extremely sweet 🙂

 

But not so sweet was the goodbye to our new friends. Since Anna and Oleg had the flight back the next day, we had to say goodbye. It was a nice alternative to hang around with someone else than just the two of us. This evening was particularly sad because Jaanus also forgot his lucky hat in the pastries cafeteria… so we knew that we might need to drive back there to get the hat back.

Later this evening one Estonian guy Margus who lives in Portugal, let us know over Facebook that he might be interested in the car. So after having so many rejections from the spare parts sellers, we had again a needle in a haystack moment. We agreed that we will call next morning to discuss this. Jaanus called the next morning and learned that there are some obstacles which we needed to overcome first. First of all Margus himself was in Estonia at that time and would be back only in the middle of the September. We did not have so much time. Also, he lives further away, 175 km from Porto, so there was the question of how we can hand over the car and keys. In the end, we offered to bring the car to his house and we will find a public transport back to Porto. But it turned out that the place he actually lives is a tiny village in the middle of nowhere in the mountains and 60 km from the nearest train station. Margus then was super helpful and offered us that if we drive the car to his house, we could stay there for some days and he would find someone who would bring us down to the train station. We accepted the offer immediately and were hoping for the best…. because we actually did not know the person and whether to trust him… but we pretty much did not have any other choice as well 🙂

It was huge relieve for having actually a clear plan for the upcoming days until getting on the boat. Luckily the sailboat Margus, agreed to pick us up also at Porto in about a week, so we had enough time to travel back and forth. So we decided to make the best of the days left near Porto and went to explore the sights around.

Since we had basically sorted out our car issue and we were in no rush anymore we decided to stay in Porto for one more day to explore the city. Somehow we got the idea to jump on the funny trams that circle around Porto central town. These trams are almost like antique. The driver can sit on both sides and when the driver starts to drive to the other direction, the passengers need to change the direction of their seats as well. This was quite funny. The ticket for one ride is 3 euros, and you can ride as long as you wish. In total there are 3 different lines you can take. We first took the shortest one, but soon we noticed that the tram was in the final station and the driver was changed which also meant that this tram now takes another route. We drove around the city for over an hour and admired the narrow streets, amazing churches and tiled housed of Porto.

 

There is soo much to do and to see in Porto – Don Luis Bridge, Clerigos Church, Church of Saint Ildefonso, Livraria Lello (the Library where JK Rowling supposedly wrote Harry Potter), Forto de Se Catedral, Ribeira etc, etc. This city has a particularly nice vibe. And when Madrid was the city of fountains, the Porto is the city of street artists – there were so many great musicians on the street singing their own but also world known music. We had a glass of Vinho Verede, green wine, by the riverside and just enjoyed the music and watching boats going back and forth showing the tourists every corner of Porto. On the other side of the river seemed to be a lot of wineries and possibilities for wine tasting. This we left to the next time we are back in Porto because we certainly will.

 

In the evening we started already to drive to the south to deliver the car. We wanted to drive along the sea coast, so we could pass Aveiro again and pick up Jaanus hat from the cafeteria. We stayed overnight at a beach where the Capela do Senhor da Pedra is. It is about 15 km south from Porto. The little chapel is located right by the sea and the beauty of it is not possible to put into words. It is voted as one of the most beautiful churches and it certainly is.

 

We found close-by an American Tapas bar, where we had a great traditional Portuguese meal… at least Kaija had because Jaanus had a burger. Kaija had a traditional meal with shredded codfish, mashed potatoes and cream – the dish is called Bacalhau a Bras and this will probably be another take-home receipt for us. But not only the food was great about the bar – the most special was the owner of the bar. He treated us like friends and came to eat with us and give us tips for our around the world trip because he has been traveling a lot with big cruise ships.

 

The next day we had to cross the Aveiro Lagoon with the ferry. Since a lunch break is a must in Portugal, we needed to wait for 1,5 hours for the next ferry. So we used this time to have a quick lunch.

So we had enough time to chat with a German guy who was cycling from Porto to Lisbon. He had an enormous backpack which caused our attention and we just started up a chat. He gave us some good tips what to do in Brazil and we helped to carry his bag to the next town where we agreed that we all have dinner together.- it was nice again to hang out with someone. His adventures were quite interesting and he also has a plan to travel around the world one day, by bike. After the dinner, he went to his camping place and we found a suitable parking place next to the beach and spent the night there.


The following day we needed to start driving to the mountains to deliver our car to Margus.

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