Our next CS experience in Portugal was in Porto and it was not a surfing experience, but a meeting one. Normally we had not so much time to meet some other CS-ers, but this one is really extraordinary man, so we wanted to meet him. And on the same time he is a business man that was interested in the business of my travelling mate. Our appointment was in the city centre of Porto. It was in front of a parking house. His idea was to park our car there and make a small round with his car around Porto. A kind of a unique and special guided tour. A very special one, because his car is a last model luxury Mercedes Benz, business class of course. And it was unique, because our guide is one of the previous chief architects of Porto! As you can imagine, he knows basically everything about Porto.
But let’s start from the park place. It was a cylinder like underground park place going at about 20-30 metres deep under the ground. In the middle there is the spirally going down way for the access of the park places and the places are again spirally situated on the edge. And you go out with the car using a second spirally formed way. Even more in the middle there was the staircase and exactly in the middle there was the elevator. Great design and very functional. Of course designed and built by hour host.
The round guided tour in Porto lasted for about two hours, but I’ll definitely need days in order to write down everything we’ve seen and heard in those two hours. It was great to learn so many things in such a short time. (I don’t have to say that in the car was very comfortable as well ;)) And at the same time to see a lot of things totally invisible for the “normal” tourist or even “normal” citizen of Porto. Porto is a really old town with a lot of history and our 70 years old host managed to make such a great summary of the enormous amount of information, so that I felt like living my whole life in Porto. It is great to see that such an old man has such an energy and such a clear mind to present the whole history of the city in such a short time and in such a brilliant way. At the same time he is curious like a small child, keen to learn new things and is interested in every single change in Porto and manages to notice even the smallest details. And he was happy about this. He was always happy to see the changes and the development even if these were not the best possible solutions in his eyes. He was always ready to discuss and to help the people doing the change to do it in the best possible way for everyone. Not like most old people who murmur around and are dissatisfied with everything new, no matter good or bad. That was why he looks so young and has the spirit of happiness, like a child. I think that exactly this child curiosity, inner happiness and open-mindedness to explore the world are the most important characteristics of our spirit that help us stay young.
This person helped a lot in the development of Porto as a modern city. And still helps. Nowadays Porto is definitely the most modern and high standard city of Portugal and it’s definitely a pleasure to live in such city. But our host still helps. He is now working as a business angel and is looking for young entrepreneurs and new businesses which he assists financially. May be some day he’ll help my travelling mate as well, when he starts his own business. Helping people is definitely one another thing that makes him happy and young.
After the tour we headed to one of the best restaurants in Porto, of course on the Douro river looking directly towards the wineries of one of the best Portuguese wine cellars and wine exporting companies. But we don’t drink the typical heavy old Porto wine, but white new one. Our host approved the third bottle he was given, the other two wasn’t good enough for us. 🙂 Well, I it could not have bothered me to drink them too, because they were first class wine as well. We drunk white wine because of the main dish – the sardines we couldn’t try in Lisbon. But these were the best possible size and fat, baked and served so deliciously … one of our best dinners ever … I still remember their flavour. And this white wine … dry and so light.
We hat again some very interesting conversations and at some point we started to speak about the ocean, the great Portuguese ocean, the Atlantic. And our host told us, that when he was a teenager he was got by the cold current … he waited for 70 km in the cold water till he found a good place to get out of it. He was totally exhausted, but he managed to survive. Once you survived such a danger, it changes you forever. You are not afraid any more. Being afraid is blocking you always. It blocks your mind and emotions and you forget to live. After that story he feels somehow free and full of gratitude every single day that he is alive and that spends him the energy to keep going.