What I learned last week (#167): the unsayable experience

IMG 9226

A weekly selection of what I was reading, drawing, writing, and doing.

This post is super late and is actually for the week of March 14th but who cares? I’ve been a little preoccupied with travels and other life stuff, so I missed a week and I’ve given myself a pass.

This week’s sharing is exclusively comprised of five small takeaways from my trip to Porto in Portugal.

View from inside the plane of brown cloud outside covering the ground.
That’s a sand cloud covering the ground as we come into Porto from the south

First, I didn’t know this but sandstorms are a regular occurrence in the Saharan desert AND also regularly travel north and cover southern Europe, Porto included. This happens a couple times a year typically and was just happening when I arrived (but dissipated quickly). It’s not fun to run in this kind of smog. I also learned that. 😬

Panoramic view of mountains and vineyards.

Second, port wine is not actually from Porto. It comes from Douro valley north of the city and is cellared in the town across the river called Gaia. It was just called Port because the wine was shipped from traders based in Porto waaaay back in the day. Port wine does taste nice but also all the wine (most of the wine produced there is not actually port) from the Douro valley is, broadly speaking, really superb. The region also has that beauty that seems to be required of all wine regions.

IMG 9211

Third, the city of Porto is clean, inexpensive, and super walkable. I walked an insane amount while there and also went on a couple of runs which is one of the best ways to see a new place I think. I rarely bring my phone on runs but when traveling I make an exception. Spending an afternoon getting lost in the tiny narrow streets that wind every which way and see what you come across is a great way to pass the time.

20220318 181501
This was taken by my coworker Paul and he was as close as you think he is

Fourth, seagulls don’t give a shit what you want, especially in Porto.

IMG 9389

Finally, the impact of being together IN REAL LIFE with the people you work with every day is hard to express. After not meeting anyone from my work for nearly three years, saying it was “nice to finally meet” doesn’t seem to fit.

On that note, I’ll end with a little tidbit from the modern art museum in Porto, the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves. There was an exhibit of the archives of Hans Ulrich Obrist who is an art historian and critic and who has interviewed a billion artists, one of them being Ernest Mancoba. The line that stuck with me is when Earnest talked about his mother and he said his mother would read him poetry to “explain the importance of poetry, in particular that expressing the unsayable experience.”

A lot of life it seems to me is finding ways to express the unsayable.

See you all next week!

Last but not least, check out what I’m up to now.

2 responses

  1. I love taking my running shoes on holiday. Even city breaks. Getting up early doors, and cantering round a city when it’s half empty with just cleaners, bakers and early commuters is magic!

    1. Plus Porto looks stunning – minus the sand cloud

Comments welcome!

%d bloggers like this: