The mood of Porto varies in accordance with the sun and the rain. On days when the sun is absent, the gray granite tinges the city with sadness. I take on the color of Porto each day. When there is sun, Porto awakes as cheerful as a teenager. The light of Porto is a warm yellow that penetrates the bodies of those who stand at the window. I was born and still live close to the sea. I don’t know how else to live. At the moment, I am living in Foz Velha, at the mouth of the river. There is a broad promenade facing the sea and lower, close to the beach, esplanades are open all year round. My life consists of rocks, sand, sea, and gulls. There I am, and the image of myself that I carry with me wherever I go.
Rosa Alice Branco
interviewed by Nathalie Handal on Words Without Borders
The weather in Porto is noted for being moody. Mercurial. Dictated by whatever the Atlantic sends its way.
As someone whose spirits are affected by dreary weather, the maritime gods bestowed their mercy upon me while we were there. In fact, the climate during our two-week stay was so sunny and temperate, I felt I could live there forever. Sometimes in the late afternoon, we would see semi-threatening gray clouds accumulating along the Atlantic shoreline. But the ridge stopped there, never rounding the bend into the mouth of the Douro River.
So we walked and we walked. Wending our way through layers of history built up over centuries. Up and down. Along both sides of the Douro. Crossing a bridge and even taking a ferry across. Here are some parting shots from our stay.