Drugged up, layered up and bags full of food - we were off to Porto!! Only a 3 hour drive away, weekend trips might turn into a regular adventure at this point. Gosia took us (me and Kaska) in her car and while I drifted in and out of sleep in the back, dosed up on pills for my horrendous head-cold and travel sickness, a mix of Paolo Nutini and polish rap music blasted through the speakers. I think it rained the whole way down and it didn't stop throughout the night either.
We woke up to more rain and cookies for breakfast. Our AirBnB apartment was in the cutest area and it took us over an hour to walk to somewhere for lunch because we stopped by so many small art galleries and graphic stores and boutiques. We ventured downtown towards the river and stopped by the Lello Libraría* and the São Bento train station on the way. We got lost in the tiny streets and staircases and finally made it to the river and saw the Dom Luís Bridge in all the lights - it was so beautiful. And on the night before Valentines Day, I guess it was also super romantic, so Kaska took couple photos of me and Gosia as a pre-VD celebration because we had each other and that was enough.
* Perhaps the prettiest bookstore I have ever been inside and the most excited I ever was to visit one -- it's famous interior and staircase was a big inspiration for Hogwarts and JK Rowling wrote parts of the first Harry Potter book in the cafe upstairs!! So maybe I had a fangirl moment. But it was 3€ just to take a look inside so Gosia and Kaska left me and my emotions to experience it on my own. Which was probably for the best.
We had dinner (well Kaska just went straight for dessert.. from the breakfast menu) at the Majestic Cafe - which was another know place that JK Rowling frequented and wrote in, by the way (!!) - and ohmygod it felt like we were in the Titanic. I know I should upload more photos to this but I'm so lazybones right now (and all the time) so you can find the rest on my Instagram where most things are documented these days. It's famous for it's art nouveau interior (and exterior) and ok, it was super cramped and the tables were just too tiny and close together but the waiters were all dressed in white and the service was amazing and the food was amazing and it was just such a lovely dinner. We had so many doubts when we first went in - it was full of older people and it looked so.. I guess, majestic, but in the sense of being very upperclass with that uptight atmosphere. By the time we left we were so in love with it and I think it was my favourite part of the trip.
The next day was the wind was so bad my umbrella broke twice and in 3 separate places before I gave in and threw it in the bin. We could hear it all night too and it actually blew open the window in Gosia and Kaska's room! And then there was hail on the way to breakfast. By the time we were dry and warm and full, the sun had come out and the wind was on steroids. We headed back to load up the car, passing multiple broken umbrellas shoved into every bin we saw, and began the drive home.
It was one of the most chilled out weekends away I've ever had. Other than accommodation, we did no planning before-hand and other than my insisting on the Harry Potter hotspots, we had no real plans when we were actually there. Just to explore and eat and enjoy. It was a shame the weather was so horrendous but it helps to know that we'll be back soon, for sure.
So Porto was only yesterday and now, not even one week since my last flight and I'm back in London again - this time for 'work' and for less than 24 hours! I'm with ZARA HR to talk to prospective graduates at St. Martins tomorrow about working and moving and all the usual things. Ironically, it's my first business trip with the company and it's not even design related. I'm excited to see Benny tomorrow but kind of nervous to see anyone else. I guess I just don't know how it's going to go or how well the idea of working for ZARA will actually go down with the new final years. And while we were waiting to board, HR showed me the presentation and informed me that it would be in front of around 100 people. So there's that too.
I should be asleep by now but I'm too anxious for my eyes to stay closed. This last week has been so exhausting and I've fallen victim to the shitty weather both literally and emotionally. I got sick over Chinese New Year (great start) and coming back to the misery of more grey skies and rain away from home just made everything so much worse. And still in recovery mode today and our plane was delayed by 4 hours because of the bad weather!! At least it's just a little cold in London thank god. I don't know if I can cope with any more storms and weather warnings. But I'm flying back on my own tomorrow while HR stay a little longer to do interviews.
I heard that the breakfast at this hotel is amazing so perhaps I am more excited for that than anything else. Gosh, I can't really think about anything else right now other than that or I start to feel nervous again. Ok well, gotta sleep - wish me luck!!