From Peniche to Porto, Portugal

View of Porto's skyline

You would not believe how long it takes me to pack! This time, it was especially difficult. I’m moving from Peniche to Porto via bus, no airline weight limits, so I can keep all my groceries, like fish-sauce and sesame oil (do NOT spill the fish-sauce!). I also have a lot of stuff because I’m traveling and don’t have a home base. While I didn’t enjoy hauling around unused pants and sweaters in the tropics, I sure appreciate them now! Hauling all the cooking supplies makes my life so much easier once I arrive; no emergency grocery store trip on a travel day. But my bags are so heavy!

To the bus stop!

There are a couple of ways to get from Peniche to Porto without renting a car (which would be very expensive). The fastest is to wake up super early to catch the 7am bus directly there. Um, no. The most scenic is to take a bus to Lisbon and then take the train to Porto. The ride is supposed to be gorgeous. I just couldn’t work out the time logistics without an added Metro ride in Lisbon. That would be two transfers with all the heavy luggage. Guess it’s the slow bus for me. At least I get to sleep in!

Peniche Fort
Here is a view of one of Peniche’s forts as seen from the breakwater around the harbor. It’s huge!

I checked out of my apartment with no issues and hauled all that luggage to the bus stop 12 minutes away. You should have seen me bobbing and weaving to avoid cobblestones at any cost. Don’t want to blow out a wheel! That would suck. Once at the stop, I waited and people watched. It’s fun to see all the tourists with their surfboards. I started getting nervous as the designated departure time came and went. The bus swap in Lisbon was only 20 minutes, and I did not want to miss that connection.

While waiting, one friend I was here visiting stopped by to wish me luck again. So nice! The bus finally arrives and I quickly stow my luggage in the luggage compartment. I’ve got those fancy trackers in each bag, so I can tell if one of them wanders off. It’s pretty safe here, but it’s nice to know for sure. As I get on the bus, I realize someone is in my seat. No worries as she speaks English, so we sort everything out. We head out and I check Waze for traffic to see if we will make it in time. We will not. Crap!

Rocky beach near Peniche
I will miss the natural wonders of Peniche!

Um… do seat assignment not matter here?

We make up a bit of time on the road, arriving in Lisbon right when my connection should be leaving. I grab my luggage and run down the line of busses to the correct stop. Lucky for me, the bus driver is clearly waiting for quite a few people from my first bus. Unfortunately, I’m like one of the last people on the bus and seat assignments are totally all over the place. I ask the people who are sitting in my seat what their seat number is, but someone else is in their seat, which is why they are in my seat. What a cluster. I finally find a seat in the back and hope I don’t get the boot.

There is one stop midway and I have a good time watching people get on and try to figure out the seat assignment thing. I chat with some of the English speakers about the unusual situation. All it takes is one group of people picking the wrong seats, and the next people not wanting to cause a fuss, and it’s just chaos from there. The bus driver didn’t seem to mind. We all ended up with seats in the end. I am glad it’s not a free-for-all like that on airplanes! I want my window seat!

Blue tile on church
Check out the blue tilework on this amazing church by my new apartment. So pretty!

You can eat on the bus, so I pull out some homemade stuffed arepas for lunch. Noms! I get really carsick nowadays. Eating helps, as does the Dramamine I took this morning. That stuff makes me so tired, but it is worth it to not get sick on the bus. You are welcome, other passengers!

I’m so lost!

With all the delays, the bus ended up arriving in Porto 15 minutes late. Here’s the thing… I told the owner of my next apartment that it would probably take me about 30 minutes to get from the bus station to meet him. I now only have 15 minutes before I am late. I don’t like to be late. Plus, he had texted me to let me know that he was waiting at the apartment early. Run!

Church right by my new apartment
This amazing church is right around the corner from my new apartment in Porto!

Well, it’s hard to rush around with a bunch of heavy luggage when you have no idea where you are going! I kept following signs for the Metro but I kept ending up at stairs (avoid stairs with heavy luggage) or blocked by construction. I find an elevator that said the Metro was both on floor zero and floor two (Schrödinger’s Stairs?). After going up and down and around, I find another elevator with the same confusing directions. I ended up on floor two using an escalator.

Unfortunately, in order to go any further, I needed to go down immobile stairs leading to a level between one and two. What… the…actual… eff! I think I broke myself hauling one piece of luggage at a time down the stairs (hoping no one runs off with one of my unattended bags!). Finally, make it to the Metro. It takes a really long time to figure out where I can buy a Metro card. Everything is all so confusing due to the construction and the signage not updated to reflect construction blocked routes. I got this.

Street art in the park
I love finding street art! This one is in the park near my place in Porto. Garden art!

I am so late!

The Metro is super fast, but I do have a transfer to navigate. This involves getting off the subway with all the luggage, hauling it up more escalators, and jumping on a different line. I’ve been on so many subways that I’m not worried at all… just tired. The problem is that I didn’t understand why there were card-readers inside the station. They are usually on the outsides so you can tap when you get on and tap when you get off. Not between stations (found out later, this Metro is tap only when transferring between stations and lines, not when you get off… live and learn).

I finally arrive at my stop and make my way out of the underground and into the beautiful sunshine of Porto. Everything is so gorgeous! What an amazing city! I can’t stop ogling at all the old architecture! Must keep going… not there yet! And now for all those cobblestones I read about. Hopefully, no hills.

Hill up to my apartment
This is the hill I had to climb to get to my apartment. Those cobblestones are no joke!

After pulling up a map app on my phone, I head out… and up the most massive hill I have ever seen. I’m exaggerating but still a big hill to get to my place. My luggage wheels are not happy. The bottom of my bags for sure took a beating. But I finally make it… over an hour late. Luckily, the renter speaks English, so I am able to apologize profusely and emphasize just how sorry I am for making him wait. I really hate being late. I don’t know why I thought I could make it in 30 minutes.

The apartment

The apartment is absolutely adorable! It’s hard to know what you are going to get just from pictures, but this place is lovely. Plus, the balcony is way bigger than I expected. You can’t exactly fit a chair out there, but they fit just fine in one of two doorways out onto the balcony. It’s also high enough up that I can safely leave the doors open all night.

Hill up to apartment
Yet another hill leading up to my apartment!

I’m bummed it doesn’t have a washer and dryer, but I got a drying rack to hang from the balcony and have been doing laundry in the sink. There is a laundry mat down the street, but it automatically adds the smelly soap for you and I’m allergic to fragrance. The sink works just fine. I think loads of neighbors do the same thing because there are a lot of clothes drying off of balconies.

The location of the apartment can not be beat. It’s very close to Clérigos Church and Tower and a number of other famous architectural wonders. I’m right in the middle of the tourist zone, so it can be a bit loud. However, I like the sounds of the city… as long as there aren’t too many car alarms. I’m down a very small side street which doesn’t allow for much traffic. I’m right in the heart of the city, which is really conducive to getting out and exploring… Sometimes with a destination or route in mind… Sometimes just wandering and checking out the churches, parks, and cemeteries that I stumble across. Porto is such a beautiful city!

Recommended Posts


  1. I am amazed at your facility for negotiating different countries with associated language and customs confusion at the same level as a local.

    1. She’s a pretty smart cookie.

  2. Glad to hear that you made it!
    Porto sounds really intresting.

Comments are closed.