We arrived in Porto on Monday afternoon in the rain, and stayed two nights in an apartment near the centre of the city … in the rain. It wasn’t an ideal way to see the city. We were grateful for the few brief periods when the rain relented.
We didn’t do any of the touristy things apart from taking a tram ride. Instead we walked across the Dom Luis I Bridge, out to the river mouth, and meandered around the middle of town.
I very quickly noticed that Porto is falling apart. A high percentage of the buildings are derelict, sealed up to prevent access. Large numbers of other buildings are only partly occupied: they seem to rot from the top down and be progressively evacuated. Why is this? Evidently it’s purely financial. There just isn’t money to maintain and repair on the scale required to keep decay at bay.
Despite this there’s a lot to admire in Porto. It has the slightly frowzy appeal of a down-at-heel fairground. The people are friendly, the cost of living is low, and there’s always something entertaining going on.
It would be nice to return to Porto when the sun is shining. There’s a lot we didn’t get the chance to see, but we saw enough to know that a return visit would be rewarding.