I’m alive and well. and having dinner in Porto.

I’ve taken the train to Porto, to the north, for the weekend. I jump ahead in my story but right now—at this moment—life is pretty good.

Just me and my chapeau.

Dinner is on the River Doure, about 8,000 steps down from the city of Porto, proper. Literally about 8,000 steps. Luckily there is a lenticular train that goes back up.

However, let me bring you up to date on how I got here. After all, I am here for higher education. This is not a boondoggle.

Around every corner you find architecture like this. And amazingly, I think this is a laundromat.

The neighborhood i am staying in is called Principe Real. Sort of a mashup of Greenwich Village, the North Loop, Sunset Boulevard, Soho (London, of course) and Chelsea, all rolled into one. There are more great restaurants in spitting distance than you can shake a stick at. I know this for a fact, I’ve been reprimanded more than once for spitting at a restaurant.

This, and I kid you not, is a store 200 yards from my apartment that only sells tins of sardines. I am hoping to open a franchise in Uptown.

So. School. Well. It’s hard.

Imagine Ben Stein, the actor playing the teacher in Ferris Bueler’s Day Off, as the teacher. Although he looks more like Roberto Benigni.

I started off in an advanced class and after the first day, opted out for the next class down. It was probably the right choice: as I left the room several students pointed at me and laughed and the professor did some odd move with his hip, ankle and the goat tethered to his desk.

My savior arrived and he is Stanley Tucci!

Oh capitao, meu capitao! (Oh captain, my captain).

Well, he looks a tad like Stanley Tucci but he has all the dynamics of him. He is smart, brilliant and offers a teaching style that keeps us awake and attempting to learn.

Which brings me to now. It’s been two weeks of four hours a day of—for me—intense Portuguese. That plus trying to only speak it in everyday interactions. I must say I am pretty proficient at talking to four-year-olds and domestic animals. Unfortunately those who own four-year-olds and domestic animals steer well clear of me.

Excuse me, is there anything better than first class?

Which brings me to now. Porto is about 179 miles or so north of Lisboa. Several kids in my class were coming up here as well and said the bus took the same time as the train and was much cheaper. But as you know, if you have ever read my Blog (and there are more than 5,000 of you, give or take) I love a train. And as a senior (age not school) i was able to take the train from Lisboa to Porto for $20! Suck on that kids. I think if i had also used my student discount they would have had to pay me!

That’s me (on the left).

Oh my God!!!!

I almost forgot one of the most amazing things about Porto, besides Port actually comes from here! this is the home of the most amazing sandwich: The Francesihna. It is a smoked meat beef, ham, sausage between toasted bread, covered in melted cheese and then covered in a beer gravy. It is heaven. So imagine, coming to Minneapolis—the home of the jucy Lucy—and finding Matt’s Bar, the originator of said sandwich.

Desculpe, that wasn’t quite enough. May I have one more?

In all fairness i did not stumble on this. My new best friend Joao recommended restaurant Capa Negra to me. Now, I recommend it to you. I walked in to the best rated Francesinha shop in town and there was only me and a couple others. I walked a ways and saw others having their own version of said sandwich and just smiled, knowing they were having the 58 version of a jucy lucy.

Port. Portugal. Get it?

That is it for now. I’m running out of battery and for some reason they want my table after I’ve been sitting here for seven hours (give or take). But just to point out, the photo from from river from me of Sandeman, isn’t a restaurant of the same name but the actual Sandeman Port! My garçon has just brought me a glass and with that it is time to say Tchau. Please excuse any typos it is late. More later. Yip yip.

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