Photo Story: The Portals of Porto

The cityscape of Porto is rich with spectacular viewpoints and vistas, ripe for capturing on film. From the 12th century Romanesque cathedral, to the 21st century Casa de Musica, and not forgetting of course the iconic Dom Luis I iron bridge stretching high above the mighty Douro river. Curiously enough though, it was not any of those that caught my imagination as I wandered around town on a wet Sunday autumnal afternoon… but something rather more modest: the humble Porto doorway.

It might seem to strange to say it but they were everywhere. Even the narrowest building seemed to have at least three front portals (one for each member of the family?), and moreover each seemed to have something visually fascinating about them. Some were licked by perfect new paintjobs, with cute ironwork flourishes guarding the window panes, others were surrounded by Portugal’s characteristic ceramic tiles, whilst many more displayed a tatty grandeur as paintwork peeled and split, doorbells gathered dust and the metal trims of letterboxes had been stripped away. Some had been bricked over entirely, and I discovered one such defunct doorway displaying the slogan “PEOPLE COULD LIVE HERE” (in Spanish, rather strangely [correction: see comments!]).

In the end I took well over 100 photos just of Porto’s doors (check out our Facebook page for more!) in just a couple of hours of wandering around. Now, if I was the kind of pretentious travel blogger who liked to imbue his posts with an undue sense of significance then I’d be tempted to say that these doors were much more than functional entrances; but rather they acted as a gateway between the local Porto people and the streets of the their city…a threshold where we can catch a glimpse of them in the shadowy inbetween world of private and public lives, and yet at the same time which prevents us, the casual tourist, from making more than a superficial impression on the city. But I just thought they looked cool…

Duncan Rhodes travelled to Porto, Portugal, as part of the Douro 2012 wine/travel bloggers press trip, organised by Catavino wine blog and the IVDP (#Douro12 on Twitter). So yes, you can expect some wine-related UTB content soon…

2 thoughts on “Photo Story: The Portals of Porto

  1. Thanks Brad… you’re right! Actually Spanish infinitive for “to live” would be “vivir”. Still I didn’t know Portuguese could be so similar! Now I don’t know if I should correct it or not… because then this conversation will look really weird;)

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