The Blue At Our Doorstep
22 Oct, 2016, By Manuel A.
Most of Porto’s frontiers are made of water. In the south the dodgy, golden Douro River is the most ancient (and most effective) of this city’s walls, and in the west we have the immense blue Atlantic ocean.
In fact it was this surrounding by water that gave the city its name: Porto, a port of call, a safe haven for those on a journey, a place where tales of the sea get entangled with the mist coming down from the mountains.
People in this town have a special connection with the sea, and many of us won’t spend too much time without visiting the seaside and watch the mesmerizing oceanic motions for a while. At least I won’t.
Here, the beach days normally stretch from May to September, and, on abnormal years like this one, you can see people sunbathing even in the middle of October. But not only swimming and sun bathing take people to the seaside. Even on winter days one can see the esplanades crowded with some impervious individuals, taking pictures or just carelessly challenging the cyclic showers and waves.
My grandfather was a fisherman, so I’ve always been close to the sea. Yet I remember not being too fond of it in my early days. Even the tiniest waves would scare me. I thought the water was unbearably cold, and I didn’t like the feeling of saltwater in my eyes. One day I was sitting on one of Foz piers and, without any previous warning, my grandfather pushed me into the water. As I was struggling for life in the midst of all the bubbling, foam and algae I could only hear him shout “Now swim! Swim!”
It all could have gone terribly wrong, but something changed when I braced myself, got a grip on myself, and swam with all I had. Faced my fears head on. That’s actually how I started loving the sea, and how I’ve come this far.