Saturday, 18 November 2017

Cheap Or Free Things To Do In Porto

One of my favourite places that we travelled this year was Porto - it was an unexpected gem full of beautiful beaches, rivers, religious monuments and spaces and thriving cities (plus the cider was so cheap, and they let you drink it whilst you walk through the streets - it's a whole thing). It was, however, also one of our most expensive holidays; probably due to the sheer amount that we ate, drank and did escape rooms. If you're heading there, however, it's definitely worth noting that there's a lot that you can do that will cost your nothing or next to nothing, and here are my favourite ones, and the ones I can definitely vouch for.

1: Saint Maria Adelaide
If you're going in the height of Summer, I would certainly recommend ditching the holiday clothes to go here because it's a really religious place, when we went it was full of mourners wearing black full length dresses and praying and so definitely dressing a little more conservatively is certainly more recommended - however this is a tiny little crypt within the most beautiful graveyard that has an incorruptible body.

If you don't know much about incorruptible bodies, these are the corpses of saints or religious figures that haven't decomposed as expected (that is, not as rapidly, or sometimes not at all), that typically exude sweet smells. This isn't for the faint hearted, but there's something really beautiful about this place as a whole. You can go, light candles, say a prayer and see the offerings of wax limbs to the corpse. It's quiet, a lovely place to reflect and generally an amazing sight whether you're of the Christian faith or not; it's not a tourist spot, and it goes without saying a lot of respect is demanded if you're visiting, but it's an amazing sight. It's in Gaia rather than Porto and you'll definitely need to get a taxi, but it's more than worth the fare.

2: Capela De Senhor Da Pedra
I've never been to anywhere quite as pretty as this before, but essentially this is a huge church on a boulder overlooking a really, really beautiful sea (if you have me or Katy on Twitter, you'll likely have seen pictures form here). Not only is the beach amazing (and it is, though often busy) but this is apparently an 'intersection between Christianity and Witchcraft' and everything about the building is beautiful, unusual, and generally just a really nice little spot to look out over the sea.

Flips flops are not recommended within this very echoey little chapel, but also more generally they aren't recommend on this beach at all - it's pretty rocky and hurts your feet to walk both with and without flip flops; if trainers on the beach doesn't make you want to gag, it's definitely worth considering. Behind the chapel there's a popular tourist photo spot where people stand to look like they're towering over the sea, and you can walk right round the back to get views from all angles, so even if you don't want to take a trip to the church itself it's still worth nipping over to this beautiful seaside spot.

3: Livraria Lello
If literally anyone that you know has been to Porto, this is probably the thing that you will have heard about; because this is allegedly the bookstore that inspired Hogwarts when JK Rowling was living in Porto (another cool reason to visit if you're a Harry Potter fan). Now this one is sort of free and sort of not free depending on why you're visiting; because the tickets are €5 (and yes, you do need a ticket to get in) but this is then redeemable against any books you buy; so if you plan on buying a book anyway, this is free. Sort of.

If you don't want a book, €5 is pretty steep for a building that you can spend a maximum of 45 minutes inside, but it is beautiful with a big, old, majestic staircase inside - and the books are pretty cool and cater for most languages; plus, if you like to people watch and you can nab an armchair, there's definitely worse ways to spend 45 minutes. If nothing else; this book shop seems like a right of passage, and in the shop where you buy your tickets you can also get a platform 9 and 3 quarters picture of you running through the wall with your fake Hogwarts suitcases, if that's your jam.

There's a lot more free things to do in Porto, undoubtedly - you can spend hours walking down the river, there are even more beaches to be found, you can visit beautiful stations, buildings, churches and the most amazingly pretty McDonalds that I've ever been in; but these are definitely my personal favourites.

If you've been, let me know what you did in Porto without breaking the bank!

Sammy xo.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Hitting The Wall

It seems ironic that now I've sat down to write and found the time, I don't really know what to say. Posts after prolonged absences are always difficult, I don't want to feel as though I owe people a explanation and yet it always feel weird to spring right back in with five affordable things to do in whatever country we've travelled to most recently. You all know why I've been away though; I'm constantly complaining on Twitter about the sheer amount of work that I have to do; I take time consuming subjects, I work hard and actually do as many of those extra ten hours a week I'm supposed to do at home, and I also work a full time job - it's no joke.

Now I've found the time and I feel like I'm not really sure where to start. Blogging, at the moment, seems like that mate that you used to know in high school and sort of want to reach out to every now and again; but you don't really know how they'll react, or what you would even say, if you did. Whenever I've had a spare ten minutes I've spent it staring at an empty blogger screen and so I'm trying this 'pouring-out-all-my-weird-thoughts' posts, in the hope that I can put it out there, get over the fear of writing that first blog post and move the fuck on to something a little better than this mind dump.

I guess beyond not finding the time I just feel a little disillusioned with everything at the minute - I didn't expect to have to work quite this hard just to get by week to week; starting University with the purpose of actually hustling and getting that degree is a very different experience to starting University to put off life for a few years like I did last time. We're having to take time out of travelling, something that was a big part of both mine and Katy's lives prior to this, we've had to knuckle down - we work alternative shifts and sometimes don't see each other for more than an hour a day - I guess it's just not what we imagined.

This is a total mind dump but I hope it starts to explain why there'll be periods of time when I'm not around on here - and I'm not explaining it because I feel like I owe the posts, but more so that you all understand why on twitter I complain and cry and have roughly 2 meltdowns per academic day. Everything's a little hectic right now and I'm working on getting to a space where I'm one of those people who can juggle it all effectively without ever dropping a single ball; but until then? Blogging has to be the ball I leave on the floor in order to keep the other's up (has this juggling analogy gone on too far? I'll stop now)

Hopefully at least for a few days I'll be back here, but beyond that I'm not promising anything.

Sammy xo.