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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.