owns my heart

This year, confirmed, i’ll have a company during at least 3 of my trips. That’s 100% more than last year. I get used to travel alone. And it’s a different world. I meet people, some of them stay the part of my heart. This is a small world.

I mentioned in my previous post I fall in love with the place if I have a chance to stay there more than my usual 2-3 days. From recent I’m definitely in L-O-V-E with Portugal. And i’m not the only one.

I’m sorry for my English — I do use it every day at work, but I mostly speak on finance, IT, AI topics; and as soon as it is just a random conversation, especially in a written form, I see that I lack harmony in my writing. I see my efforts to put words into sentences as mere trees hewing.

So Russian will follow, but I keep on trying in English just for the sake of self-improvement and ghost English-speaking readers.

So the picture above — it’s Porto, north of Portugal.

Picture is from my Instagram, at the moment — my favorite social network. This is where I don’d forget to post.

So Porto, my first part of the Portuguese trip. I dare to say I didn’t have much water in my body these first days of the trip — just coffee and port wine.

When I visit new place, I judge it by nature, architecture, people and food. Honestly, if I’m well prepared or simply lucky, all 4 ambitions will be fulfilled. But there’s one more hint in how to have a mind-blowing trip — locals. As far as I travel alone a lot (but I don’t honestly want to be alone all the time) — I often use Couchsurfing to meet new people. I don’t usually stay (even though I had few experiences), but I want to hang out. Portugal was generous and I hardly had more than 2 hours for myself. Both amazing and disastrous experience sometimes, as you never know what kind of people you will meet along the way, but totally worth it.

So Porto is all about people, walking up and down the hills, slowing down, emotional cardiogram. When I only arrived, I was emotionally ‘still in the work-mode’, so I simply wanted to shake people by their shoulders and speed them up! And only in few days this southern relaxing feeling inevitably got into me and I started to slow down. I think that in Portugal — for the first time in my life — I actually relaxed.

So, people. One of the most typical names is Joao. It’s like John, it’s like Russian Ivan. So I met Joao in Porto. Several, actually. I just won’t disclose the real names as, you know, personal data, bla-bla, me in IT, etc.

One Joao was a developer, so I felt like home. His English was great (I hate when English is slow and talks are complicated — this simply blows my mind and I have too little sympathy, because I want to rest, and language barrier makes me focused thus quickly tired). So Joao’s English was amazing. It was the third day of my trip and I needed to just simply share a common language. And we did — not only English, but also — a developer knowing what my life is like. We even had 3 or 4 hours working together side by side (when I had two urgent calls). During second call I was already extremely hungry and he was just quickly out and back home with food (and I was talking, then muting myself and eating, and laughing, and just thanking Joao for simple care). This small story doesn’t sound cool, but trust me,  it was a good simple gesture of kindness and I don’t plan to forget it. It warms my heart. By the way, we still happily chat with Joao and I will be most happy to see him again some day.

Haha, one more Joao! Crazy! I really have to read the profiles of people I’m going to meet! I’m very trusting (like born yesterday, really) — I think I will meet people exactly like I am, so I can get along with anyone. But no! Come on, Maria, that just doesn’t happen so easily! So, this Joao was of a certain age, mature, and spoke almost no English at all! Aaaand he was driving me around the city so I wasn’t able to run away for 2 hours. He also was quite fascinated with my looks (I don’t know why, it’s just blond hair, I guess) and the only thing he could talk about (try to talk about) was me and how beautiful I am. And trust me, that is weird. But it was kind, in a disorderly manner, like an old bubbling child. Port wine helped me to carry on. By the way, about wine! They are allowed to drive after drinking! It’s just — be responsible and start your car. Crazy, again, in my understanding, but they simply do that, and it’s fine by them.

And one more Joao, actually one of the first I met, — he spent almost the half of my first day in Porto with me showing me around, walking a lot, driving me to Matosinhos, mecca for surfers. That was a very enriching deep conversation about anything and everything (again, IT person — I guess those are just my people), and we still communicate quite a lot and will definitely meet him the other day. I guess I promised to cook for him and friends.

One more Joao was actually from Spain, but he lives in Porto now (or did at the moment). He’s one of the world most famous street artists and his huge works are around the globe, mostly on buildings, as he’s the street artist. But I don’t know much about that to elaborate. He doesn’t work for free for a long time already, he’s very well paid. He really wears sunglasses (as people can recognize him on the streets) and he’s incredibly thin, so his black suit looks funny on him (he had a meeting with some important people in the morning before meeting me). His English is questionable, and he calls himself crazy. And I was the light bubble for him, too good in comparison with his style of living, past habits, and overall craziness of creative person. He left a messy impression, you kinda want to take care of him and see whether he eats well, wears scarf in the windy evening and sleeps enough to get his strength back.

Porto was amazing. But somehow it was great to start with it and then, going to Algarve which completely has my heart, and then to Lisbon, that is so dear to me as well. And again, people, ocean, sun light, old buildings, amazing food — everywhere. Awesome country. Let me bring you to Algarve in my next story. That’s a very personal part of my trip.

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That's enough

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