Porto: The Unsung Portuguese Gem

Porto is a blend of chilled, happy days and charged, wild nights. It feels very, very safe and the people are amongst the friendliest of any city I’ve ever visited. 

This is the first travel article I’ve done for my own blog on a place other than Andalusia but I feel it’s now a natural progression to cover more of the world. I’ve noticed that over the past few years, I’ve travelled a fair amount around my home continent of Europe (my last long-haul trip was back in 2015 to Las Vegas).

The beauty of Europe is how the culture, climate, language and history is so varied and you can be in a completely different place after only a 2-3 hour flight!

My cousin works with a Portuguese woman who had long been recommending for him to visit Porto as she knew he had visited the Algarve around five times. When he suggested Porto to me, I had no visual impression of what it was like, I had never seen photos of the place.

The only thing I knew was that it has a football team and is sometimes referred to as Oporto.

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Best Places to Drink in Córdoba: Bar El Clandestino

When I think back to many of the fantastic times I had out and about whilst living in Córdoba, Bar El Clandestino is the place that mainly springs to mind.

A couple I used to work with introduced me to it very early on and I was relieved that I’d found somewhere a bit more in tune with what I enjoy from a good bar (as much as the quaint Spanish tabernas were a lovely cultural experience, I needed something a bit cooler and more modern too).

Situated on Calle Diario de Córdoba on the bended road heading from the town hall  and Roman Temple down towards the river, it is one of those classic legendary postage-stamp sized bars which always seems to the most popular kind of place. It is just on the edge of La Judería (the old Jewish district/UNESCO World Heritage site of Córdoba’s historic centre) and close to several places to eat, should the mood take you.

Friday nights would have dozens of people spilling out of the bar and milling round the street outside, a happy and chilled vibe where you could meet anyone and end up with another new drinking partner.

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27 Spanish Sayings to Sound Like a Local!

Part of the fun of learning a new language is picking up slang or local phrases. This not only helps you to feel integrated and natural when chatting to a native speaker but it’s also a great ice breaker.

I was lucky enough to live in a city in Spain (Córdoba) where English isn’t widely spoken. It is on the rise and lots of people attend English academies so it won’t be long before the locals speak the language fluently but I was immersed into the language from scratch back in 2015.

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It’s a stunning city which is as typically Spanish as it gets with flamenco, ferias and breathtaking Moorish architecture such as the Mezquita and the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos.

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Alcázar de los Reyes Católicos

Córdoba is often overlooked by tourists in favour of Sevilla and Granada but this is a real shame as Córdoba is magical and leaves a long-lasting impression. It was my privilege to live there for almost four years and where I became fluent in Spanish from scratch.

Read on to arm yourself with Spanish phrases to sound like a native!

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Bringing Spring to Autumn in Córdoba- Festival FLORA

In 2017, the Ayuntamiento de Córdoba (council) decided to liven up the city’s autumn calendar with an event which would bring alegría (joy) to the streets.

Córdoba is synonymous with the season of spring and even the month of May is adopted by it, known affectionately as ‘El mayo córdobes‘.

This is a culturally rich season celebrating the arrival of Andalucía’s most pleasant weather where locals and tourists alike descend upon the Cata del Vino, the Cruces de mayo and the mother of all Córdobes festivals, the Feria de Nuestra Señora de la Salud.

However, its autumn had been lacking something. As the much awaited cooler weather draws in, there tended not to be much to look forward to until Christmas.

What better idea then to bring international artists, floral art installations, light and melodies to town?

Thus, Festival FLORA was conceived.

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Along La Ribera and the Roman Bridge in Córdoba

La Ribera means riverbank, similar to riviera in French.

When you search Córdoba, Spain, on Google, the Guadalquivir riverside and its famous UNESCO Roman bridge and Mezquita dominate most of the images and for good reason too.

It is the heart of Córdoba and is a spectacularly beautiful site which never gets old or boring to me. It looks pleasant on photos but no justice is done compared to actually being there and taking it in with your own eyes. The sound of the river streaming past with bats swirling overhead and the sunset behind the Mezquita makes for a truly stunning setting.

Continue reading “Along La Ribera and the Roman Bridge in Córdoba”