Porto Trip – Part 1

I’ve always been a fan of travelling since I was very little. I simply love the art of adventuring new places where I can learn about different cultures, meet new people and see the unique beauty the country offers.

I was beyond thrilled to know I got an opportunity to travel to Porto where I have been dreaming for two years. I truly believe, “If you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney, is what makes my dream come true.

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Although I could choose to transit once only, I chose to transit twice to save my boss’s expenses (pretending to be a good employee lol πŸ˜› ). Actually, I can’t deal with long haul flight which I often need a bigger space to move around and have some fresh air. I was truly the happiest when my flight landed in Doha as I knew I had 10 to 15 mins to spend at a brand new Hamad International Airport which was only opened last year. I’m not kidding it was by far the most beautiful airport I’ve ever visited. The design of it was modern and luxurious with a touch of Middle Eastern vibes. Although the gigantic bear seems to capture most of the attention from tourists, I actually enjoy the entire design of the airport. The glass ceiling, the lighting, the palm trees and the gigantic bear altogether created one of the most mesmerizing pictures and I know I will never forget it.

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I was talking about the gigantic bear a lot, but you wouldn’t be able to imagine how gigantic it is until you see it in person. I suggest you to learn some fighting skills before visiting Hamad International Airport because everyone is fighting for a good spot to take a snap of this lovely guy.

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The other side of the airport promotes a much more futuristic vibes which I personally adore. I somehow felt like I was an astronaut exploring an unknown planet lol (am I daydreaming too much? πŸ˜€ )

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back to the reality…My flight finally landed at Adolfo SuΓ‘rez Madrid–Barajas Airport after 7 hours. I was quite exhausted at this point since I already travelled for 16 hours all the way from Hong Kong to Madrid. However, I still had Β a lot of energy fantasizing how wonderful Porto is. Unfortunately, Madrid Airport decided to give me an ultra exhaustion before I could see my fantasy. I had to go one floor down and walk 10 mins for baggage claim. Then I went back to the same floor to get my luggage checked-in before clearing the customs. After clearing the customs and I thought I could start relaxing and waiting for my flight, but it was only the beginning of my nightmare. I came to know I had to walk 26 mins before reaching my gate. Thank you so much for the physical activity!!! (I know you put your heart and soul to plan for it in order to keep me in shape)

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Arrived Porto finally, yay!!! Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the entire apartment arranged by my company. It was a cozy little apartment and more than enough for me to stay there. This lovely spot of my apartment was one of the favourite places to lounge around. It was also where I practiced yoga almost every morning.

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Speaking of “favourite”, the view from my apartment was definitely what I loved the most. Looking at orange roofs against the clear blue sky was already beautiful enough to take all my exhaustion away. But, I seriously didn’t expect how calming it was to look at that stunning river. It relaxed me to another level. When I was enjoying the view, one of the seagulls suddenly came say “hi” to me. (what a pleasant surprise!) I would love it even more if he came say “hi” to me every day hehe.

I guess I spent too much time on enjoying the view and I didn’t even notice how hungry I was. My stomach started to complain by growling lol πŸ˜›

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When my colleagues and I were on our way searching for a restaurant, we saw this adorable dog. No matter how much we tried to disturb him, he wouldn’t even look at us. He was simply enjoying himself and the view. Β The wind kept blowing his hair while he enjoyed the view. I felt like he was being smart to let his hair air-dry (I should probably learn from him not to blow-dry my hair by using hair dryer that often).

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This baby was too tired holding himself in one position to let his hair air dry and therefore he had to take a little rest.

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After looking around, we decided to have our lunch at a restaurant specializing in making pizza. I didn’t know why I didn’t feel like having pizza. I ordered seafood fettuccine instead. It looked pretty decent, right? But , it was completely tasteless. I guess I was too stupid ordering pasta at a pizza place lol. I didn’t know if it was too tasteless to satisfy me or I was too hungry. I still felt so hungry after having it so I decided to order something else. I knew I wanted to try their pizza since my colleagues kept telling how delicious it was, but I didn’t think I could finish an entire pizza myself. So I chose to share a pizza burger with one of my colleagues.

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I’ve never tried pizza burger before. It looked a bit like Chinese BBQ Pork Bun (Cha Siu Bao) to me πŸ˜€

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I wish you could taste this pizza burger with me. It was seriously tasty. The patty was really juicy and the egg was perfectly cooked (the egg yolk was still runny). After having half of the burger, I was way too full… felt like I couldn’t even move anymore…

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Even though I was carrying a heavy belly with me, it didn’t stop me from exploring. I found a magnificent sculpture just few mins away from the restaurant. Β It was the first sculpture I saw in Porto and also the most stunning sculpture compared to all the sculptures I have seen in Porto. When I stood next to the sculpture, I felt the power of it. It seemed to empower me with the strength to conquer all the obstacles I may face in my life and keep me moving forward. Each small detail of the sculpture reminded me of all the hard work behind making this sculpture and why I love art so much.

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No matter how much I loved the sculpture, I knew I better saved some more time to visit one of the most beautiful train stations in the world- Sao Bento Station. It is a station blended with beauty and history. The design of Sao Bento Station was inspired by French Beaux-Arts architecture. 20,000 of tile (azulejo) panels were being placed to build the interior of the station. Historical events, landscapes and ethnography were being portrayed by the tile panels. It is what makes it truly unique and world famous for attracting people from all over the world.

The moment I stepped into the station, I thought I was living in the world of art and history. The camera can’t even do it justice for how breathtaking it looks. I simply ran out of words to describe its unique beauty. All I can say is to see it in person and feel the essence of each tile will truly make you understand what I mean by “living in the world of art and history”.

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Nostalgic feelings were slowly appeared when the sunset was approaching. The natural lighting became dim to ask people to stop running for the train, but to enjoy their daily life at a slower pace.

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The sun was finally set and it was the time for Sao Bento Station to put on a glamorous outfit to shine through the dark. The darker the sky is, the more glamorous it looks. Β The history and beauty of it will never be faded. It will only get stronger with time.

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74 thoughts on “Porto Trip – Part 1

    1. Aww thanks my dear friend Maverick!!!πŸ˜‰ I’m glad you enjoyed this post😊 It was truly a wonderful trip that I still keep thinking about Port every single dayπŸ˜† You’re welcome. It’s my pleasure to share with you guys😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much for your kind words Phil! πŸ™‚ It made me really happy when you said “felt like I was there”. Haha glad you enjoyed my sense of humor! Hope it makes you laugh a bit!😁

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  1. Gorgeous post with heaps of great photos!! I thought the bear was a giant Garfield!! Sadly an orange bear!! Really pretty and I am very glad you showed the photos of Doha Airport. Majestic architecture!! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet compliment dear! ❀ If it was a giant Garfield, I think you would book a flight to Doha instantly lol πŸ˜€ I'm sure you won't miss a chance to meet the love of your life Garfield πŸ˜‰ Yes, I just had to share photos of Doha Airport. It was too stunning to resist not to post photos of it πŸ˜€

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  2. What a wonderful adventure, and so vividly told πŸ™‚ I sympathise with the bad airport experiences – they are just so big there is always a lot of walking involved. But Doha looked amazing!
    Loved the doggie in the window! And the lovely sculpture and magnificent train station. And it’s great that you got to live one of your dreams πŸ™‚

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    1. Aww thank you so much for your compliment Sci! πŸ™‚ I just tried to share my travelling experience as vividly as I can and simply hope it turns out ok (you know my English is pretty limited lol) ! haha yes, they are just too big for me to handle πŸ˜› But, I must admit walking is a good exercise πŸ˜€ It does look amazing especially when you see it in person πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      Before I made this post, I knew you would love those doggie pictures (you are such a dog person πŸ˜‰ ). Both the sculpture and train station are a must to see (just too stunning <3) . I was thrilled to live one of my dreams hehe πŸ˜‰ Thanks again Sci for the lovely comment! ❀ πŸ™‚

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      1. Well I am very glad you did share all this, as it’s unlikely I will ever visit there, so now I feel I have ‘seen’ it too. πŸ™‚ And your English is Excellent!!!
        And Yes I really enjoyed the little Window Dog πŸ™‚

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      2. Who knows? You may travel to those places with your lovely dogs one day πŸ˜› Thanks to my excellent teacher Sci for improving my English! πŸ˜€ Next time if I see any dogs when travelling, I will ask them to say it to you πŸ˜‰

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    1. I agree, the actual design isn’t so Middle Eastern. But, it is just me counting all the elements as one when I was complimenting the airport. πŸ™‚ I actually count those palm trees as a part of the design. I believe date palm is a commercially important tree for Middle East to cultivate (correct me if I am wrong). When I look at the date palm, I instantly think of Middle East and that adds a touch of Middle Eastern vibes to the airport (it’s just my personal feelings). Thank you for stopping by!πŸ˜‰

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      1. The first paragraph in the “Range and Habitat” section in Wikipedia’s article about Arecaceae (palm trees) reads: “Most palms grow in the tropics. They are abundant throughout the tropics, and thrive in almost every habitat therein. Their diversity is highest in wet, lowland tropical forests, especially in ecological “hotspots” such as Madagascar, which has more endemic palms than all of Africa.[citation needed] Colombia may have the highest number of palm species in one country. Palms are most commonly seen throughout Africa, South America, the Arabian peninsula, southern and south-east Asia, northern Australia, the islands of tropical and sub-tropical parts of the Pacific Ocean, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and some areas of the United States such as California and Florida”. Here is a list of the top 10 date-fruit producing countries: http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-top-ten/world-top-ten-date-producing-countries-map.html. For how many of these do you think the date palm is “commercially important”?

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      2. Thank you very much for the detailed information! πŸ™‚ It is true that palm trees also grow in the countries/places you mentioned. However, this is what I found before I made this post “The date palm is native to North Africa and the Middle East, but today this commercially-important tree is also cultivated in western and southern Asia, including parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (2) (3). It has also been introduced to the Canary Islands, the northern Mediterranean and southern United States (3).” in the section of date palm range and “In its native range, the date palm grows across a nearly rainless belt in the Sahara region and southern regions of the Middle East (6).” in the section of date palm habitat: http://www.arkive.org/date-palm/phoenix-dactylifera/

        “The date palm is not as well known in the USA, but it is very important in the Middle East and Northern Africa because the date palm grows well in the dry desert heat of these areas. In the past, dates had a very important role in these desert regions as the staple food crop. It was comparable to rice, wheat, and potatoes in other cultures!”, “For commercial date production, the top date producing regions today are the Middle East and North Africa.”, “According to the World Food and Agricultural Organization, there are an estimated 100 million date palm trees worldwide. An estimated 60% of all date palms are grown in the Middle East and North Africa.” in the section of date palm historical information: http://www.medjool-date-palms.com/html/medjool-date-palm.html

        In terms of “commercially important”, Saudi Arabia produced 1,122.82 (1000 metric tonnes) of dates while Iran produced 1,016.61 (1000 metric tonnes) of dates in 2011 according to http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-top-ten/world-top-ten-date-producing-countries-map.html (the website you provided). The large number of date production from both of these Middle Eastern countries is already good enough to make me believe date palm is commercially important tree for Middle East.

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      3. “The date palm is a critical crop tree in a large section of North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. It is one of three commercially important palms, the others being the monoecious oil and coconut palms.” – http://www.qf.org.qa/content/the-foundation/issue-66/the-date-palm-yields-its-secrets-to-wcmc-q-researchers

        “The fruit of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is an important commercial crop in Middle East countries.” : http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ajft.2014.231.245

        “Date palm a monocotyledonous and dioecious species is widely cultivated in the arid regions of the Middle East and North America.” “It is considered one of the most important cash crop in the Middle East as about 90 per cent of the total world production recorded in this region”: https://books.google.com.hk/books?id=TjKe8ahRDhcC&pg=PA139&lpg=PA139&dq=date+palm+commercial+important+in+middle+east&source=bl&ots=fYojdY1m9m&sig=fvz3UDjiZPcElg6A7KslJUKSKXE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAzgKahUKEwicvu63z4_HAhWFF5QKHTCHDUs#v=onepage&q=date%20palm%20commercial%20important%20in%20middle%20east&f=false

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    1. Aww thanks my dear for stopping by! πŸ™‚ It was an amazing trip for sure πŸ˜‰ I did, but too sweet for my taste. I heard the best Portuguese tart is in Belem (Lisbon) which I haven’t got the chance to pay a visit 😦

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  3. Well, great pictures. I wouldn’t be surprised by the giant bear thing cos middle eastern countries do all such things like constructing big structures and stuff. Just for fun, you know πŸ˜›

    Porto looks beautiful. Truly clean and refreshing. πŸ™‚ Hope you had a wonderful time there.

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    1. Thank you very much Anoop!😊 I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised by all those giant things since you have been living in Middle East for quite some time nowπŸ˜‰ It is fun for us who rarely see those giant thingsπŸ˜†

      Yes, it is seriously beautiful. I still miss this wonderful place from time to time. Aww thanks I did have a great time thereπŸ˜πŸ˜‰

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    1. Aww you are too kind to say that dear ❀ Thank you so much for your sweet compliment! I had a lot of fun sharing this post with you all and tried to be humorous to make you guys have a good laugh πŸ˜› Glad you liked the post and pictures πŸ˜‰ All the best to you and cheers to the weekend ❀ πŸ™‚

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    1. I just love to make people around me happy especially you are my lovely friend ❀ Aww how sweet you are to say that!!! ❀ Your kindness and compliment are much appreciated sweetie πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Thank you for your continuous support! I love you so so much dear! ❀ ❀ ❀

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  4. Hello Khloe πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Nice to see you are enjoying sunshine πŸ˜€ As it happens my flight will be through Doha too πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Waiting for more pics πŸ˜€ If you are Europe for long, may be we can meet too πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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    1. Hi Ady! Welcome back 😊 oh wow I couldn’t happier to hear it from you…Glad to know you will be living your dream soonπŸ˜‰ You probably should start packing now lolπŸ˜† I would love to meet you if I stay there for long. All the best my dearest😘😘😘

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  5. Love the Disney quote, and there is nothing quite like getting on a plane to jet off to a destination that you’ve dreamed about ~ and what a journey you had… πŸ™‚ The smart thing you did was also to have a stop-over in Doha, a very cool airport and you got to see a little bit of the Middle East. It probably was also good to stretch the legs a bit before hitting your dream spot of Porto.

    Once again, your photos tell such a great story – from the nice digs you were staying, to the charm of the place (the dog and food especially!!!). The sculpture you describe and show is amazing, funny how many people look at art and it is paintings that attract the attention, but it seems the most difficult and more powerful pieces of art is the sculpture…I too feel the power of the artist in such great pieces of work. Then again, all it takes is to view your shots of the Sao Bento Station – wow, that place indeed is β€œliving in the world of art and history”. Perfect closing shot for this post. So well done and so beautiful Khloe ~

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    1. That quote is one of my favourite πŸ˜‰ It just keeps me moving forward. haha it was well worth it to have a stop-over in Doha as I always love to see something new and different πŸ˜‰

      Aww thank you very much for your compliment! It seriously made my day when such a compliment came out from you (photographer I admire) πŸ™‚ haha food and I are always inseparable πŸ˜› Glad to find someone enjoy the beauty of sculptures as much as I do (I agree, paintings seem to capture most attention). Happy that you got to experience “living in the world of art and history” through my Sao Bento Station photos – these pictures are my favourite of this post for sure πŸ˜‰

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      1. There is something special about train stations, perhaps it comes from old movies I’ve seen or the subway systems I’ve ridded on over the years…as train stations seem to have architecture, color a unique style that makes it part of the community. The Sao Bento photos you took all have those qualities…something special.

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  6. A thoroughly enjoyable post, Khloe. Your photos are beautiful, as are your descriptions on both your journey and places in Porto. The Sao Bento railway station looks an amazing place, and the views from your apartment window are stunning to wake up to each morning. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful trip with us. πŸ˜€

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    1. Aww thank you very much Millie! ❀ It's my pleasure to share with you all. Thanks to the beauty of Porto for making my photos wonderful! πŸ˜‰ I'm sure I wouldn't be take good pictures if Porto wasn't beautiful πŸ˜‰ I definitely enjoy the view from my apartment and Sao Bento railway station like you do (truly amazing) πŸ™‚

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    1. Wow your compliment totally made me blush! Thank you so much Raymond for your kind words! I hope this magnet didn’t make you feel like traveling all the time. If you were broke because of that, please don’t blame me πŸ˜› πŸ˜€

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      1. I am sorry you may only use fb, twitter, or google plus account to leave comment on disqus 😦

        If you have any of those account you can go directly to the article link and leave comment at below πŸ™‚

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