Porto aka Oporto

Dauntless on the River Douro in Porto
Dauntless on the River Douro in Porto

As I have discovered talking to Alvaro and Ana at the Marina do Freixo, Porto, aka Oporto, it is actually Porto.  It seems the English, or most likely one Englishman, upon hearing the Portuguese say “do Porto” as in I am of Porto, the English combined the article with the noun, thus “Oporto” was born.

In any case, it’s Porto.

Porto, Portugal, as we know, if only for the strong wine that originates in this region.

A rare picture of yours truly
A rare picture of yours truly taken by a Korean I met

First, let me say that in the first day, I discovered a cornucopia of “port” wines that were both red and white in a spectrum of sweetness.

Which just goes to show you, even when you think you have seen everything, like most New Yorkers, you only know the sliver the marketers, want you to see.

I had a wonderful lunch, for me dinner, at the Jimao, 11 Praça da Ribeira.  The four small plates I had were as good as I have had in Europe: sardines on toast, morcella and apples, pig cheeks and I ended with panna cotta and a glass of “port” that was not so sweet and more like a rose.  These were washed down with a vinho verde, a tinto (red from the region) and a “port” that was almost a rose.  All perfect accompaniments.

Panna Cotta
Panna Cotta

As I meandered back to Dauntless, about 1 mile up river from downtown, I thought about how fortunate I am.

No matter what travails I have had in the past months, the reality is, I am sitting in my own boat on the River Douro in Porto listening to a classical radio station and writing this blog.

I eat well; drink better and if I had a lament, it’s nice to share great times, adventures, eating and drinking with someone who appreciates the same.

River traffic
River traffic

But am I suffering?  Please.

As I took the bus back to Dauntless, a picturesque ride along the river, I noticed the dozens of fisherman along the river bank.

Bridges over the Rio Douro
Bridges over the Rio Douro

Like my father, who would go surf casting on Long Island, these fishermen (and some women) certainly enjoy fishing, but like most before them for the last eon, they also appreciated that what they caught was “meat” on the table and it was free. These aren’t sport fisherman with million dollar boats spending more on fuel and beer than their catch would ever pay for.  No, these are real people, doing what humans have done for  hundreds of thousands of years.

And now they have the luxury of being able to pass their time in a way both fruitful and enjoyable.

And like most Americans, just trying to get by as best they can.wp-1471113070188.jpg

In every port we have stopped, not a day goes by without someone mentioning our upcoming presidential election.  Not a day.  My nephews have remarked on this; coming from places in the U.S. where evidently no one they talk with talks about such things.  Instead in Europe, Europeans always talk about politics, be it the government of the month or the world as they see it.

More river traffic
More river traffic

Trump is mentioned is the same way one talks about the latest disaster, with a certain gleam in their eye, knowing just the name will bring a reaction:  “Did you see that train wreak last week, how could the Italians have two trains on the same track?  What about that tsunami, a quarter million washed out to sea!”

What does one respond?  “Yes, it will certainly be a speculator train wreak. I have tickets for the first row. I’d be glad to trade them for a few rows further back”.  “Oh, I understand.  You have to give your cat a bath that day.”

My glass of "Port"
My glass of “Port”

Just like in America, Trump certainly has his admirers, especially in Ireland.  Oh those rebels. Europeans are fed up with politicians just like most Americans, but Europeans also have a better view of reality.  They see Trump for what he is.

So their conversation really revolves around the theme of “how is it possible you have such poor choices?”  The non-politician who pays no taxes versus the professional politician who only pays taxes on those monies given to her for her political favors.

But Europeans respect the USA in ways that can not be appreciated unless ones spends time outside the USA.  Those same people who lament our choices, also know that we are strong, don’t put up with BS very long, so will vote the bum out in four years.

Most Americans are just like the fisherman along the river.  They are just trying to get by and do what’s best for their families.

Our problem is that our elected leaders don’t have the same priorities.

 

 

 

 

Author: Richard on Dauntless

I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge. Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey. I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between. I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist. After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life. Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal. Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit. But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.

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