Thursday Thoughts – Porto’s Sister, Gaia

On the other side of the Douro river, is Gaia. Home to the wineries and the good food, the salesmen and the old boats – and great street art. Let’s pay the area a visit.

My first impression was of a rather run down area, nothing fashionable at all. The best thing was the lovely views of Porto on the other side of the river.

Walking along the Gaia waterfront, you can see the slender old port boats and even a vintage tram rattling along the Porto streets.

At Taylor’s Port, we were showed around among the impressive barrels, and the wine tasting was excellent. A couple of bottles in the bag could not be resisted.

Bacalhau! A national dish in Portugal. We got a first taste of it here, with a glass of port of course…The neighbour was a spectacular sardine shop. You could even buy a box of sardines with your year of birth on it – luckily the fish was not the same age… I bought a box for my father, who turned 89 two weeks later.

There was excellent street art all over the city, for almost every new block we walked a surprise was waiting around the corner.

A marvelous work was this rabbit, or hare, made of debris and I guess whatever found… We met him at a corner and could not stop looking at all the details. I told him how amazing he was, and he nodded gracefully – I am sure!

Thank you for walking along with me in Gaia, and now, a glass of port – cheers!

Thursday Thoughts – A Piece of Porto

So, we finally went to Porto, a trip cancelled two times due to covid. I must admit it felt strange to travel again…boarding a plane, walking in the sun, taking photos, eating out… My guess is I took more photos than I usually do.

I will share my first impressions of this friendly city today.

We arrived in beautiful evening light, and it felt so good to finally be there. A stroll in the park, and then a good night’s sleep before next day’s adventures.

Early in the morning we realised people were absolutely right about the steep streets, mostly cobblestones too. Big parts of the city were under reconstruction as they were enlarging their metro system. Taking photos in the central parts were quite impossible.

The beautiful azulejos were everywhere. This church and the trainstation were especially amazing.

But, the azulejos were not the reason why we went to Porto. I knew from my blogging friend Viveka (Myguiltypleasures), that the narrow streets and alleyways, the old houses and the charm of the river Douro – and good food – was THE reason.

View from the upper part of the bridge between Porto and Gaia.

Stairs and steps…but worth the trouble!

This old man watering his flowers had a grand view of the Sé Cathedral from his balcony.

No words for this path – it was just my kind of path…

More of Porto later on – hope you enjoyed the first piece. We also went to the wine district in the Douro valley. I hope you will enjoy more of Porto later!

Thursday Thoughts – Going Vestmannaeyar

Vestmannaeyjar came to international attention in 1973 with the eruption of Eldfell volcano, which destroyed many buildings and forced a months-long evacuation of the entire population to mainland Iceland.

Approximately one fifth of the town was destroyed before the lava flow was halted by application of 6.8 billion litres of cold sea water.

About 1500 people decided not to come back to the islands.

In 1979 We visited Heimaey, in the archipelago south of Iceland mainland, which is the only inhabited island here, and home to Eldfell. You could still boil an egg in the lava ashes, and putting down a finger would make your skin peeling off.

Our plan was to revisit now, 40 years later, to see in what ways the island had changed.

The photos show the views from the ferry takeoff and in the header, you can spot the whole range of the archipelago islands in the distance.

Lofoten – Å – Oh!

Road nr.10 ends in Å on the southernmost part of Lofoten. An old fishing village with rorbuer and  – fish.

And charm…

Many galleries,  and flowers in the small gardens.

We had a great view from our hostel Salteriet.

Down the road we felt almost Chinese… I half expected an artist standing there, painting.

When we left in the early morning, the whole landscape felt dreamy and unreal.

Almost supernatural.

But that is what Lofoten does to people…


Svolvær – Lofoten

Svolvær is the main town in Lofoten, and Northern Atlantic Cod fisheries, particularly during winter months, have remained one of the most important economical foundations for the town. Just west of Svolvær is Vågar – mentioned in the book Heimskringla, and might have been established as early as the year 800 AD.

We arrived rather late, and thunder was in the air the whole evening. This also made for an interesting walk in beautiful light and no winds.

The little town has about 5000 inhabitants, and many people were strolling the streets in the soft evening. The special light made all colours stand out – no need for enhancing anything. Natural beauty only.

The old – and new – little houses are called rorbuer. Rorbu is a traditional type of seasonal house used by fishermen. The buildings are built on land, but with the one end on poles in the water, allowing easy access to vessels. Today they are mostly used for tourist renting.

After sorting by quality, most of the stockfish is exported to Italy, Croatia and Nigeria.  In Norway and Iceland, the stockfish is mostly used as a snack and for lutefisk production. In Italy, the fish (called stoccafisso) is soaked and used in various courses, and is viewed as a delicacy. The man working where we parked the car, told us that in Nigeria it has become the national dish!

When the clouds occasionally lifted, or there opened a rift in the skies, we could capture some very picturesque views.

Unfortunately, after this lovely walk, we had to say goodbye to Svolvær – still bathing in that special light that attracts many artists and galleries – and us – to Lofoten.





Thursday’s Special: Pick a Word in July Y3

Paula’s Pick a Word is always a treat – but this time…I only managed four of her five words. I will have to look closely at how you all solved it!

splash – Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

feathered – Designer Wallin, Sweden. If this does not count…Galapagos’ swallow tailed in the header!

marine – Switzerland

scenic – Switzerland

WPC: A Face in the Crowd


Erica, at WordPress, gives us the task to show anonymity, a face in the crowd – referring to the days when she was too afraid to ask people for a photo. I am still there…but on my way to overcome it. I still take photos from behind though, or with a long lens, if I am not in the mood for asking.

This series, taken some years ago on the beach( in a warmer country than mine) shows how well we can express ourselves – even in the anonymity of silhouettes.

Keep an eye on the man…

… he expresses himself…