11 May 2022

Córdoba, Porto v2

Late post this week. Too many photos, bear with me. If I don’t post now I’ll fall behind and never get back on!

Córdoba

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Map by me, made with marceloprates/prettymaps. Data © OpenStreetMap contributors.

Córdoba was a wonderful change of pace from other Andalusian towns.

Large streets, parks, water, greenery, great for walking. Almost all areas without hoards of tourists, replaced instead by Spanish families.

Pleasing mix of eras of architecture.

I haven’t figured out how exactly the siesta is followed in different places in Spain. But many streets really were pretty dead mid-afternoon.

Completely accidentally, we came during the May festival.

Courtyards were decorated and on display. Huge lines! We didn’t go in them, but we visited some famous ones setup as a museum.

They had an unbelievably gorgeous, quite new contemporary art museum across the river. Here’s a corner of it.

Tapas, The Ultimate Sampling Mechanism

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I haven’t been posting pictures of food. Here’s a couple. Tapas have been an amazing way to try as many flavors as possible. With Spanish prices, and split between two people, you can really try a lot without breaking the bank.

Left to right: variation on patatas bravas where a hollowed out column is filled with three different sauces; salmorejo, a cold, tomato-y soup; berenjenas con miel, fried eggplants with a sweet balsamic and honey; homemade croquettes, full of what tasted like a cheese, potato, ham mixture.

Ox tail. Edible with fork.

Porto, v2

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Back in Porto for a bit. Couple day trips to write about.

Douro Wine Valley

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Map by me, made with marceloprates/prettymaps. Data © OpenStreetMap contributors.

Huge wine region, ~1–2hr drive east out of Porto. Wine grown on terraces. Historically only port, but more “normal” (AKA “table”) wine these days too.

I learned vines can grow over a hundred years old. Peak production might be when they’re around fifty (±thirty?) years old. As they get very old, the flavor gets better, but they tend to produce less. E.g., some getting as old as one hundred twenty (!).

An insect called phylloxera came from America in the late 1800s and decimated vines everywhere. Almost none survived. This was a big deal for them.

The Douro river was historically used to send barrels of port to Porto. Now it’s got a bunch of dams, so no more. (Some wildly tall locks, though, so I guess it’d be possible, just slow.)

Peneda-Gerês National Park

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Map by me, made with marceloprates/prettymaps. Data © OpenStreetMap contributors.

Another day trip from Porto. Also couple hours way, north / northeast. Pretty park, might be the big nature reserve in Portugal. Seems like hiking’s not big here? If so, shame—pretty country.

Strong heather presence.

Old (unused?) damn. Swam in the lagoons beneath it.

This big fella on the road.

Huge shock on the way back—fire! Hard to see much from this photo. Ablaze on both sides of the road, horizon lit up, smoke filling sky. Thought we were doomed.

Everyone just drove past. Couldn’t even find anything on the news (admittedly, probably bad at searching in Portuguese). Controlled burn?

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