As part of our MYrago profiles, we sit down with some of our locals to find out the most unique things about their country, what they think every traveler should be aware of and what is that one thing that makes them call their city home! This is our way of giving our readers and fellow travelers an insight into the daily lives of locals and also prepare them as they get ready to explore the unknown!
We sat down with Cristina who is a Port Wine Connoisseur based out of Porto, Portugal. She is our local MYrago ambassador and has awesome experience Learn to make a smashing Porto Cocktail from a Mixologist where in travelers get to make offbeat drinks from Port Wines!
MYrago: How would you describe yourself?
Cristina: I am a very enthusiastic person. Although I am reserved, I am able to share everything I have to say in a very passionate way. I love traveling and experience what each place has to offer.
M: What is the most unique thing about your city that no one (including most locals) don’t know about?
C: Porto is a really really old city and there are traces of it every where. It’s not easy to choose where to go and what to show to people. However, for example, I can tell you that we have a big festivity in the city called “São João”. The entire city stops and goes towards the streets to dance, eat and drink. At the river, we have a great firework show with music. It is an amazing party and everybody wants to experience it, especially at the riversides.
Most people thinks that “São João” is the patron saint of the city, but it’s not and it never was. There were patron saints in Porto, but none was “São João”, in fact this festivity has pagan origins but it isn't religious.
M: What is the most-touristy thing you have ever done in your city? Don’t be embarrassed, some of the touristy things are actually fun!
C: I have actually done plenty of touristic things in Porto! I must say I haven’t done everything that I want to, regarding that matter. My latest experience was that I went with my family to visit the World of Discoveries at the Alfandega. This is an interactive museum about Portuguese history. It’s like a small trip into the past where you are able to see all the places that we have discovered during the Discoveries era.
A funny tradition of Sao Jao Festival is to hit the one you love on the head with a leek or cloves of garlic! Over the years, this gentle bop to the head has become a sign of good luck. No one really knows how this tradition started, but in the 1960’s, a new element was added to this head-banging activity…..the plastic, whistling hammer!
M: What makes you call your current city home?
C: I wasn't born in Porto but I grew up here, so of course I can consider it as my home. I went to study in a different city and by the time I returned to Porto, it seemed awesome, as a lot of things were new, there were new habits, new places and also young people! Porto has such a good energy and despite it’s not a very big city, like NYC or London, it has a very dynamic environment with all sorts of events happening everyday.
M: What inspired you to come up with the idea for your experience?
C: It has been two years since I’ve decided to study Port wine and search for new modern ways to enlighten this wine. Port wine is a very special wine that we produce here and sometimes even Portuguese people don’t know how to use it or they stick to the conventional way to drink it. Thus, I’m proposing new ways to learn what Port wine is and I will try to show all the potentials ways to use it. I believe that everyone has his own special way to enjoy this type of wine. Did you know that there are more than ten categories of Port wine?
M: What is that one thing that people should be aware of before visiting your city?
C: Porto is experiencing a boom of touristic visitors and the city is changing very fast to give an answer to all new visitors and the prices of the rentals here went crazy specially downtown. However, the city has much more to offer than the downtown, which is where all the tourists go with their guiding tours. Porto has a terrific service in public transports as you have a lot of buses and the metro running all the time.