[Dec. 2009] The trip to Portugal‘s second largest city, Oporto, began the night before at Heathrow Airport in London.
That’s because the next morning’s flight departed early in the morning at 6:40.
The hotel attached to this airport was truly a future space.
This luxurious capsule hotel, Yotel was set up by an entrepreneur called Simon Woodroffe.
YO!Sushi, a conveyor belt sushi chain that has become established in the UK, is also a business started by the same person.
A long time ago, I had a chance to meet him.
He told me that he was originally a concert manager, and he was fascinated by Japanese contemporary culture at a performance in Japan and began to develop it by adjusting it to suit the British taste and achieved great success.
In the room in this Yotel, under the light pink lighting, there were the beds, the washroom and everything else we needed, and more, and all of them were compact and comfortable.
It was a very interesting experience.
And of course we were able to go to the terminal with plenty of time the next morning.
Oporto, which flew from such a futuristic space, was a town of the past.
In the rain, we took a local bus from the airport to the city, which only the elderly got on and off.
Along the way, the repeated phrase “Proxima Paragem” still remains in my ears.
It means “the next stop”, which is the second Portuguese phrase I learned after Obrigada (thank you).
Upon entering the city, it seemed that at least 20% of the buildings were decayed and needed renovation.
Those buildings looked like elderly people who were living quietly and patiently in the rain for ages, and had a taste that made us feel the history.
We walked in the rain from the bus stop in the centre of town to the hotel (the hotel name is unknown due to my rough ravel notes).
It was still early in the morning and we couldn’t check in at the hotel, so we left my luggage and tried to head to the centre of the town for the time being, but it seemed that we made a mistake and entered a quiet alley.
We hadn’t eaten breakfast, so we had some sweets for breakfast at a local bakery there.
It seemed that foreign tourists rarely came, and the woman in the shop was very kind to us.
And very cheap.
I don’t remember that they were particularly delicious, though.
After that, as usual, we kept wandering around the town for no purpose.
The walls with turquoise tiles and the elaborate window frames were interesting, and we walked while taking pictures without getting tired in bad weather.
The restaurant that entered for lunch was a good choice.
We chose it only for its appearance, but it had a very local atmosphere and was crowded with locals.
I ate a simple grilled pork and it was delicious.
My husband chose sausages.
The funny thing was that we ordered only the main because it was lunch, but the waiter brought a platter of sliced salami and cheese and said, “You don’t have to eat it, but if you like, eat it. If you eat, pay for it.” and went away.
If you see something that looks delicious in front of you, you will eat it, won’t you.
I thought it was a unique style in this restaurant, but after that, we had the same experience at another place, so it seemed that it was a tradition in Oporto or perhaps in the whole of Portugal.
And even though we were very satisfied including the starter, the bill was very reasonable, about € 28 for two people.