Decided how many days to spend in Lisbon compared to Porto was a challenge when I initially planned this trip. Porto had come highly recommended to me by someone who owns a shoe manufacturing business there, and travels there often from New York City. But Lisbon as the capital seemed to offer more to do. In the end I decided to divide time equally between the two cities, but in reality, plans took a very different course.
After 3 days in Lisbon we boarded a train to make the easy 3 hours ride north to Porto for another 3 days. We were supposed to leave from there to the Portuguese Algarve, to stay in Lagos and enjoy the beach. Unfortunately my morning sickness from pregnancy was in full force, and I could barely cope of even the short 3-hour train from Lisbon. I threw up constantly on board and by the time we arrived in Porto, my partner suggested we skip the Algarve – which would have meant another 7 hour train ride in three days – and stay longer in Porto to allow me to recover. I welcomed the idea, and it seemed the stars aligned because we were able to extend our airbnb reservation in Porto with ease, change our train tickets for no fee, and cancel our hotel in Lagos without penalty. So we ended up with 6 days in Porto.
Here in this city, having longer to relax and recover, I started taking a few risks. I would go on longer walks, further walks, and hope I didn’t get sick along the way. I was normally sleeping form 8:00pm-8:00am, but a few nights I stayed up until 10:00pm to have dinner and even check out a local bar. I ate sushi and tasted (just tasted) port wine. I watched a World Cup game from the park amidst thousands of fans. I put on a swimsuit and got in the icy waters of the Atlantic – still unbearably cold in June. I still felt sick every day, but I also felt like I was beginning to heal. The six days allowed me to see Porto, over and over again, so that I knew it’s streets without a map, and the landmarks became familiar to me.