Some of you may have heard whisperings that we were pondering a change of location in the next few months, but few may have anticipated a full on commitment to the idea. Alas, we are proud to announce that yes, in a few weeks time, we’ll become new residents of our neighbor to the west: Portugal.
Mind you, we are not giving up on Spain. We have spent 8 long fabulous years exploring its vineyards, appreciating its culture and making wonderful longterm friendships that we will continue to cultivate. As Porto is just a short hop over the meseta from Barcelona, we’ll return often, if only to ensure our Cava and Sherry levels don’t drop to dangerous lows. Ah the convenience of European travel!
So why the move? What’s the draw to that sexy little strip of land keeping Spain from the Atlantic? We’ve come up with 5 reasons we are excited to be moving to share with you!
- Port wine. Clearly, we love wine to the point that our cabinets are overflowing with various bottles, including Port. But somehow Port rarely gets cracked open because we’re not quite sure when another bottle might cross our path. On the flipside, if we’re in Portugal, a glass is sought out on a daily basis. It’s easier. It’s everywhere. And no meal ends without it, or so we like to imagine! Port’s not the only beverage we love in Portugal – think Portuguese wine. The diversity and quality has been one of Portugal’s best kept secrets, but together, we can now explore our new digs and uncover a host of fabulous new flavors.
- People. We adore people, and we’ve been fortunate enough to meet smiling faces from around the globe, and Portugal is no different. We’ve so enjoyed the continual warmth, caring and unprecedented kindess we’ve received upon our visits. To be honest, it’s rather addictive. Plus, as Midwesterners, we thoroughly attracted to the frequency of invitations into people’s homes for a glass of wine or a leisurely dinner. And with time, we hope to return the favor tenfold.
- Architecture. We believe that one of the most beautiful views in the world is when you wander over to Vila Nova de Gaia and look back at Porto. The hillside dances with colors, and presents a tableau that we look forward to enjoying as we nap on the shores of the Douro river. Combine that with the colorful tiles that adorn so many buildings throughout the city and you have the makings for a magical place. You simply cannot escape it. It’s raw, gritty and beautiful.
- Language. Neither of us are wizards at language. We stumble along, appreciating the process when we’re not butchering someone’s name . However, we have a secret weapon, Ryan. Ryan spent a year in Brazil, back in the day, and has felt a personal kindship to the language. Though a different creature to Spanish, Latin roots are Latin roots, and we are hoping that neither of us will be too challenged in switching from Spanish to Portuguese. Plus, how cool is it to have another language under your belt! Typical for many Europeans, but a fluke of nature for us Americans who rarely fly the multilingual flag.
- Food. Some of the best meals we’ve ever enjoyed were in Portugal. With a vibrant culture of grilled fish, and a global perspective on flavors, we’re excited play with the local flavors in the coziness of own kitchen. With Portugal’s influence of so many international cuisines, from the Orient’s adoption of Tempura to Feijoada’s infusion into both African and Brazilian cuisine, experimentation should come easily.
Clearly we’re excited to take yet another leap forward in our never-ending European journey to both explore the world and challenge ourselves by living and working in a new location. And with any luck, you’ll join us in Porto. Never hesitate to reach out and contact us if you’re in the area. It’s a fantastic, much-overlooked city for tourism and naturally we’ll be penning a Porto travel guide soon to highlight its charms and entice you all to come over! (And if you can’t afford to stay the 5-star Yeatman – where we recently enjoyed a delicious Michelin-starred dinner – then simply go for the more affordable option of Porto apartments!). Those of you who have visited us in Madrid, and most recently Barcelona, you’ll be familiar with our style – share a glass of wine with us, meander the streets or come visit the vineyards. The best way to explore a new land is to share the experience with others.
Ryan and Gabriella
Catavino, where we build custom tours in Portugal and tours in Spain. Contact us if you are interested in learning more! We'd love to make your dream trip a reality.