A DASH OF IRONY
Guess what… a new Starbucks franchisee cafe just opened in Porto… yay.. (not...!)
You know, we've all done things in the past that we’re not proud of. Mine include entering Starbucks a few years back in Madrid on a desperate quest for free wi-fi or going for a BigMAc burguer in Vienna. Oh and… those chicken wings at a KFC in London… shame on me…!! Yes, I have been a lazy tourist, I must admit. Against all guidelines of sustainable tourism, I have 'sinned'. Not proud of it though..!!
IS IT THE PASTRY?
I’m pretty sure you won’t need more than the friendly attitude of local people or a glass of full-bodied red wine from the Douro valley to really feel like at home in Porto. But still, if you’re looking for a common element, something familiar, one that you can find in other parts of the world, then you may want to read this post through to the end. Spoiler: it's not the croissants!
I had never even set one foot inside that building...! (honest confession)
Fact is, unlike many cities around the world, Porto does not have daily or weekly tours of the city hall. There are, however, arranged visits on special occasions and one monthly opportunity, if you book in advance (see bottom of this post).
So, this was THE gap on my 'rap sheet', considering I am a tour guide in Porto and slightly 'hooked on' History...!
NOT ONE but THREE DIFFERENT BUILDINGS
Allured by the promise of visiting the tower, (finally!!) I registered for a group tour - not a running tour, unfortunately :). As a bonus, the Architect guiding the tour also lead the group to 3 other locations where local politicians discussed the fate of Porto during the previous centuries. Hence this handful of photos you'll see, some of old demolished buildings and some fresh, from inside and from the top of the present building's central tower. Got 2 minutes?
At the top of Aliados Avenue, the present city Hall is turning 60 this year!
the darkest year of Porto's history
This weekend we welcomed runners from England and Switzerland. My favorite story and one of the many I got to share with them was about how D.Pedro IV's actions during the civil war and the 1832-33's siege of Porto influenced the course of history in Portugal and the city's toponymy.
"Pedro stopped in Azores to assemble an army, composed by mercenaries and exiled liberals. The army then disembarked in a beach near Porto and quickly occupied the city, cheered on by its residents."
This day was the 9th of July, 1832, exactly 185 years ago!
neologisms: love them or hate them?
Honestly, I have no feelings of prejudice towards neologisms. Terrible as some may sound at first, I have come to like these made-up words that combine different concepts or activities.
The bLeisure buzzword is a bit on the horrendous side but people have been using it to describe a new type of business traveller: one who fits in leisure travel while 'on the road'. Even some companies are realizing that helping their traveling executives to tag on some me-time to work trips is a good way to retain talent and provide some work-life balance.
However, professional or personal commitments at home may mean you can't book that extra day.
This is where Sightrunning comes in.
A sports pavilion named after a marathoner
Frequently heard during our sunrise running tour:
" - Is that the Crystal Palace you've mentioned? "
" - Well.. not exactly... :) "
The present building's real name is Rosa Mota pavilion, a multi-sports venue. To explain you who Rosa Mota is and why running is involved, we need to go back to the 80's.
Care to join me?
I know how tough this day can be for some of you. If you're not in a relationship, then you're probably trying to schedule a night out or a dinner at home with a group of other single friends, as far as possible from any of those 'romantic' restaurants...
On the other hand, if you're already committed, then you're possibly still searching for the perfect gift... is this your case?
Well, if your soul mate is an avid runner, I believe I can help. If he or she is not - but you are! - then I suggest you surreptitiously leave your laptop open on the dinner table, with this post on display...!
(recent UPDATE ON KINEMATIX COMPANYs future: please see bottom of this post)
Brace yourself: this may just be the strangest, most unscientific test run ever performed in the history of running...! Here's my 'kind of' running study with the help of TUNE, the new running wearable by Kinematix.
I'M NOT A TECHIE GUY
It is important for me to come clean about this up front, before you plunge deeper into this post and find out for yourself! So, at this point you might be asking "why is this person even using a running wearable"?
Actually, there is a couple of reasons! I'll explain them in the next few lines:
Well... I do feel like it’s celebration time for runners in Portugal and, in particular, for us living in Porto and the northern area! It’s all happening in this next few weeks!
Check out the 'gift list’:
NEXT RACES IN PORTO AND NORTH OF PORTUGAL:
2016 WORLD TRAIL RUNNING CHAMPIONSHIPS
I dare to say: the Portuguese trail running community is truly excited right now...!
Coming up this weekend, the IAU/ITRA 2016 World Trail Championships will take place in the Peneda-Gerês National Park (1 hour drive from Oporto international airport).
Around 60 million people are estimated to run or jog in the United States. In Europe we have around 50 million people running, 6 million in Germany alone, the Netherlands with 2,4 million regular runners and, according to a Marktest study last year, Portugal with around 1.5 million natives 'saying they've engaged in some form of running activity at least once in the last 12 months'…
2015's Boston Marathon finish line - running community has huge numbers in the US
Running with your dog
The minute we got a message from pet groomer Barbearia do Vidal we thought we should shoot a short promo video. Being small and local ourselves, we really enjoy collaborations with other small and local businesses. The message was about a new intelligent (?!) retractable leash for dogs, a product that is perfect for people who like running with their dogs.
Video shooting took place at the Foz district and Leça da Palmeira next to Barbearia do Vidal's small store.
Start-ups and scale up
Scaleup is a term you may have bumped into somewhere. There’s one phase in many start-ups’ life when new challenges may push them to grow. This may happen early or later in these small companies' life and therefore time is not the best reference, when you're trying to explain the concept.
A focus on Scaleups developed in Europe in the last years and the European Business Angels Network Annual Congress, held in Porto this week and themed "scale up for Europe", gathered people from all over the world to discuss and share their thoughts on this trending subject...!
Porto Running Tours is merely a micro-lo-fi-low-tech-not-yet-sustainable local business but we accepted FNABA's challenge: our task was to share a bit of Porto's history and best sights with the running enthusiasts attending the congress. And we did so, starting at 6.00AM, just before sunrise!
...as good visual dictionary in a poster!
IllustrART @ Porto has come up with one essential set of expressions for your 'survival' in Porto's ecosystem. Speaking of survival, there's an additional recommendation from our side: even though you enjoy running, you should avoid any mention to Lisbon's soccer clubs...
> Hey, just kidding! :) People in Porto are quite friendly, even if the conversation topic is soccer...!
Edição Limitada/limited edition. Designed by Isabel Coelho© IllustrART®
Encomendas / ordering: firstname.lastname@example.org
As activists for life's pleasures and passionate about Porto, the decision making process for our logo concept was quite an easy task: meet the 'running wine lover’!
Our mission at PORTO RUNNING TOURS is to share with you the pleasure of discovering some of the most beautiful sights of Porto, a great running training session in the city and maybe a glass of wine in some balcony overlooking the Douro river…!
That is also why we absolutely had to launch our Facebook page today!! It is PORT WINE DAY!
Sérgio is the founder of PRT, a keen runner since 1999 and a friendly running tour guide since 2015.
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