Saturday, July 30, 2011

Eurotrip2011: Day 28

San Sebastian - Porto

Today involved driving. Muuuuuch driving! Nine hours of driving to be precise. I would probably recommend people split a San Sebastian to Porto drive, but then, if you're up for some mild torture, go for it! I exaggerate - it wasn't all bad - there were two very positive notes:

  1. rural north Spain is undoubtedly picturesque and I was struck by the landscape's diversity as we drove from east to west; and
  2. this photo is taken at a highway stop. That's right, it's not a small goods store or a deli - this, my friends, is a petrol station:

Once we had crossed the border to Portugal and found our way to Porto it took a while to find our hotel, which had only recently been constructed and was tucked away on a brand new street that had not yet made its way to maps/GPS'. Exhausted, we mustered only enough strength and energy to get ourselves to the nearest supermarket to pick up essential dinner/breakfast supplies.

My first impressions of Portugal weren't overwhelmingly positive. Though they weren't altogether negative either. The country certainly appeared to be run down in parts and suffering from the widely reported economic downturn. Having come directly from an historic and beautifully maintained part of Spain, the contrast was palpable. Thankfully, my first impressions mellowed during my stay in Porto, as I was won over by the warmth of its people, the glorious Douro river and, of course, the port!


  1. Wow, I can't believe that the pic of the deli was from a petrol station. It says so much about how a culture perceives the importance of good food, when the highway stops look that gourmet. If only we had this type of food avaliable when we stop late at night at the petrol station, rather than Four and Twenty pies, sausage rolls and Magnum icecreams. Enjoying your posts, there giving me the travel bug. Keep it up :)

  2. Thanks, Adriana - yes, I agree - it says a lot about Spanish culture and the importance of food therein. I wonder what Australia's petrol stations say about us? We value convenience over all else, I imagine....
    Enjoying your blog too, by the way :)