I didn't know that Portugal could get better than Lisbon, but when the train rounded the corner and I saw my first fights of the city, it truly took my breathe away. I was overwhelmed with the beauty of this place. I got to go to the beach and enjoy an afternoon by the sea, I spend an unreasonable amount of money to follow in the steps of J.K. Rowing, and taste tested Porto wine in Porto.
I quickly made friends at my hostel- I met Jack who was a young Australian guy who was traveling solo as well. We had sangria as we sat by the water and swapped travel stories. The next day I met Tarryn and Teresa, two girls from New Zealand who were just beginning a trip where they would be doing a yoga and surf retreat for a few weeks. We watched the sunset at a park that had a full few of the city, had a thought-provoking discussion, and tried to figure out how to open a beer bottle using another beer bottle. I met another guy at my hostel who was from Brazil. He didn't speak English, but he spoke some French so we got by that way. He invited me to go salsa dancing and we danced the night away on my last night in the city.
Porto was definitely marked by the people I crossed paths with there. I realised how much I love being a solo traveler because it became more evident how easy it was to meet people and it was people I wouldn't have met had I been traveling with friends.
Altogether, it was an amazing time. Portugal has my heart and I wouldn't hesitate to go back again.