It’s been almost a month since we first started taking real steps towards building this blog. One of the first things we did was to go for a walk through the streets of Porto to get some inspiration for the posts. We did it during our most important national holiday. The 25th of April, also named “the Carnation Revolution”, celebrates Portugal’s freedom from 40 years of dictatorship. The revolution took place on the 25th of April of 1974. Almost no shots were fired and the population put flowers on soldiers’ rifles. 43 years later there were celebrations in the streets of Porto. We went to Aliados, the centre of the city, during the afternoon. There were some concerts, and the place was filled with people.
Even though this journey took place on this important holiday, we still felt foreign in some places. Hardly did we hear Portuguese and the variety of languages was impressive. We kept exploring the city. There were performers everywhere and surrounding them were crowds of people. A typical and popular type of performance is the “Tunas Académicas” (a group of singers, instrument players and dancers formed by students of universities). Another curious thing was that, even on this day some of these Tunas, which nowadays are seen as a typical Portuguese symbol, addressed their audience in English. Hey, it’s hard to please everybody.
Even if in cities like Porto things have changed due to the impact of tourists, traditions are traditions and like 43 years ago there were people with carnations everywhere, and it is still funny to see locals trying to make a bargain while others give them on the streets. We continued through S.Bento and crossed Rua das Flores (Flower Street). This street is a physical evidence of the positive impact tourists are having in this city. What before was an ugly and dingy place, is now being brought to life with the renovation of various buildings. It’s now an important spot for tourism with many traditional shops and a lot of modern coffees or lounge bars.
In the end and after being really tired of so much walking, we stopped at Virtudes (you can know more about this place from another post, where we talk a little bit about it), where we had a peaceful rest.
Overall it was a great day to start our blog. We saw a lot of Portuguese culture and we also saw how locals and visitors interact on an important day for the country. In my opinion it is a good day to visit, even though it can be very crowded sometimes.
Post by Ricardo Pereira