Dear Travel Diary,
It was a nice warm day today. At one point the temperature reached 21degrees. I didn’t feel like being stuck inside all day so I took the train to Aveiro. It’s a very different kettle of fish from Porto. There are no hills to climb and nobody accosted me outside the station trying to sell me drugs.
Aveiro also has a more modern feel than Porto. There are plenty of monuments and other historic features in the city, but the buildings in the city centre feel very up to date and when I walked through the open-air shopping mall it felt almost like walking through a shopping mall in the Netherlands or the UK.
One of the reasons I chose to visit Aveiro was because I’d been told it had urban canals with gondolas similar to those in Venice. I’ve never been to Venice, but from what I’ve seen on TV the men operating the gondolas propel the boat forward by using a long pole to push against the bed of the canal. The gondolas in Aveiro are engine powered.
The Portuguese gondolas are very colourful though. I enjoyed watching them sail past. I chose not to take a trip along the canal though. The cost of a gondola ride in Aveiro is €10 and from what I could see the gondola just sailed to the top of the canal, which is a dead end, turned around, headed back, and then proceeded in the other direction. I walked the route in both directions. There are some nice views, but I didn’t see the point of paying €10 to see them from the water when I could see them for free and stop and soak up the atmosphere any time I wanted.
Despite the fact that Aveiro is so beautiful by day, I think if I had to choose between Aveiro and Porto for a night out, I would choose Porto. Sitting and having a drink or a meal at one of Porto’s riverside bars and watching the lights sparkling on the water is an experience that is second to none.