Houseless, not Homeless

Posted by on Jun 6, 2016 in Travel Update | No Comments

June 5, 2016   Porto, Portugal

Boat on the Douro River, Porto

Boat on the Douro River, Porto

Laurie and I are now over a week into our first temporary home base for our houseless, not homeless, lifestyle. And we picked a great city for it: Porto, Portugal.

On the last day of March, we walked out of our Tacoma apartment three days later left for the Camino de Santiago. The next six weeks we spent most of our days living out of our backpacks as we trekked from Saint Jean Pied de Port in the French Pyrenees across Spain to Finesterre—the “end of the earth.”

Port Wine tasting at the Farmers Market (Fred, Laurie, Dennis, Trish)

Port Wine tasting at the Farmers Market (Fred, Laurie, Dennis, Trish)

But now we’re enjoying our first true home base where we can unpack our backpacks, leave our toiletries on shelves in the bathroom rather than putting them away, buy replacement clothing—and watch American TV on my MacBook. We spend some of our time exploring the sites of this friendly and fun city, I write (not enough—but it’s a start), and we both deal with the routines of life like paying the bills, getting our haircut, and shopping for groceries. And yes, we’ve managed to sample some port wine, which is made along the Douro river that runs past the city.

Fred and Trish in Port Cellar

Fred and Trish in Port Cellar

We caught a bus from Santiago to Porto on May 26 where our friends Fred and Trish had secured an Airbnb apartment just a few blocks up from the waterfront. They brought some of our supplies from the states, including my MacBook. It was a great reunion with Fred, Trish—and the MacBook.

Porto was supposed to just be a place to hang out while we recovered from hiking 900 kilometers. But it has turned out to be a great city that we can easily imagine returning to in the future.

Clerigos Tower near our flat

Clerigos Tower near our flat

Porto is a very walkable city with great transportation options including subway and bus systems, and streetcars. The major producers of Port wine are located across the river, a pleasant walk along the riverfront and across a bridge. We visited several of the port caves or cellars and took a few tours. We also took advantage of the hop on, hop off tour buses and rode one out to the beach where we waded in the Atlantic.

Fred and Trish continued their journey after a few days and we moved to a fourth floor flat that looks out across the river and waterfront. It also features a view of a rooftop seagull rookery. Two different pairs off gulls are each raising three chicks on our level and on a roof below. The parents spend their time feeding their chicks and chasing off pigeons, although the trio of chicks on our level are big enough to kick pigeon tail now.

Gull parent and chicks

Gull parent and chicks

Gull and Chick

Gull and Chick

View from our Apartment

View from our Apartment

When we travel around the city we find that the people are helpful and most of them speak English. You get the feeling that the residents are glad to see you—not just your wallet. And we’re just around the corner from Rua Das Flores, a popular pedestrian street. Great place to watch street performers or people. And it is home to Laurie’s favorite ice cream shop.

Houseless, not homeless. And Porto is a great place to call home until we depart on June 15 for Dublin, our next home.

Laurie found the only Starbucks in Porto

Laurie found the only Starbucks in Porto

Steam Locomotive in the Sao Bento Train Station

Steam Locomotive in the Sao Bento Train Station

Douro River

Douro River Valley

Port Wine tasting at the Farmers Market (Fred, Laurie, Dennis, Trish)

Port Wine tasting at the Farmers Market (Fred, Laurie, Dennis, Trish)