wanderlust

Enchanting Edinburgh

My visit to Edinburgh was in early September 2015 and I was lucky enough to stay with a friend in Portobello (thanks Sonya!). It was around the time when the Fringe Festival was on, so accommodation was either hard to get or you ended up paying extortionate amounts of money. I enjoyed walking along the Royal Mile and seeing the Old Town. Given that the weather was fantastical (!!!), I also hiked up to Arthur’s seat where the views of Edinburgh were spectacular. I caught the sunset at Calton Hill, which was simply breathtaking. A trip to Edinburgh wouldn’t be complete without going on a Harry Potter walking tour (definitely recommend this!!). Our guide was a young undergraduate university student who was dressed in a gown and had a wand in his hand. We were shown where JK Rowling took some of her inspirations for her novels from – for a true fan this was simply awesome. A walk down Portobello “beach” was also very nice – look out for the coffee truck, the locals are extremely friendly while waiting in line. The Mosque Kitchen was my “go to” for really good food which also happened to be cheap. You’ll actually see loads of restaurants called “The Original Mosque Kitchen” but make sure you go to the one that is in the courtyard of the actual mosque – it’s open to all, in fact alot of local businessman go there for lunch.

I would definitely recommend visiting Edinburgh – there is loads to do in this magical enchanting city….

 

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Perfectly peaceful Porto…

I’ve been to Porto a few times before, so this trip I simply wanted to chill out and enjoy the various neighbourhoods of Porto. Nevertheless, there was one thing on my list that I simply had to see: The Lello & Irmão Bookstore! Seeing as though I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, I just had to see it. BOY WAS IT AWESOME! The only thing was that there were too many people in here, this was all the time… Our Airbnb was close by, so we’d always have to go past the book store when going into town, we’d peek inside to see if it was full, sometimes we wouldn’t even have to peek given the huge line out front… In any case, it was still awesome – you should definitely check it out!

We hung out along the river Douro quite alot, and the night shots are taken on the city side of the river. On one of the days that we were just walking around, we crossed the Ponte Luis I bridge and there was a young man preparing to jump off the bridge and into the water. He was gathering a crowd before doing so…. he was fine. We then crossed the bridge and saw a whole bunch of people jumping into the water (disclaimer it was boiling hot!!). There was even a group of men dressed up in weird outfits, continuously jumping into the water – it was actually quite funny!

We stayed in an Airbnb on Rua de Cedofeita, our hosts were really nice and the apartment itself was bright and spacious. Great location as it was where the locals mainly lived, so there was also local bakeries and grocery stores. The end of the street towards the city was pedestrianised and was a shopping street.

In terms of food, we found amazing restaurants on Rua das Taipas. The first one we discovered was called Tia Orlanda, which was food from Mozambique. The staff were amazing and the restaurant was VERY FULL! it seemed as though alot of people had booked prior to coming for dinner, we were lucky that there was one table for two. The food was simply amazing, plus it was cheap! The second place we discovered was at the bottom of the street (I can’t recall the name) but we had fish and rice – was amazing! We sat at the back, outside, where we had a view of Porto – truly amazing! I would definitely recommend exploring this street as the restaurants were cheap yet also really good!

Beaches of Porto

The beaches of Porto remind me of the beaches back home in Australia – particularly from the South Coast (where I come from). The sand beneath my toes and the warmth of the sun was simply amazing!

We caught the bus that goes along the river (sorry I don’t remember the number…) and we made our way to Matosinhos beach. It wasn’t over crowded yet there were quite a few people at the beach. There was a little bit of wind, but the locals had that covered – I noticed that when people first arrived at the beach they would erect “wind stoppers” and sit on one side, brilliant idea! We walked along the coast and we encountered a fishing area – there were loads and loads of restaurants along the street that were barbecuing the seafood. We wanted to get away from the smoke, we finally found a fish restaurant and had one of the best lunches ever! The seafood was amazing: SO FRESH!

The next day my friend wasn’t feeling so well, so I left her at the Airbnb and medicated her and made my way to Sao Bento train station. I bought a ticket Miramar (didn’t cost much and it only took about 20mins to get there!). Miramar was absolutely beautiful!!! The first thing I noticed was a tiny chapel on the beach. People were scattered and this beach wasn’t as busy as the previous day. I settled down and had some lunch that I’d packed. During this time, my feet absolutely burned (it was only 20mins!!!). There were a few cafes and restaurants on the promenade, so if you don’t pack a lunch you can always find food close by….

The beaches of Porto were very beautiful and reminded me of home – too bad my feet got burnt…

 

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