Summer In Porto

summer in Porto, Portugal (1)

Officially, there is one month left in summer but I can already feeling it winding down a little bit as September looms. August is when the Portuguese take their holidays, typically the whole month. Family-run restaurants are shuttered, tourists swarm the cities while the natives have escaped, and villages swell as emigrants return for their festas which celebrate saint holidays. It’s a very different atmosphere in August.

I shot all these Porto-branded photos at the F1H2O weekend; the weather was extremely favourable during each of the event days. In fact, the whole summer has been consistently hot and sunny with very few cloudy days (we had a run of four overcast days in a row recently, which stood out as unusual) and hardly any rain at all. Good for most except the bombeiros (firefighters), who have been battling a greater number of fires this year, especially in the north and centre of the country.

This being my second summer in Portugal, I’ve got a better handle on where to go and what to do. It’s par for the course, but also good timing for the friends I’ve hosted since May, all first-time visitors to Porto. There were six in May, one in June, a group of six in July, and this month brought a new challenge: a pair of tweens.

Achievement Unlocked!

Today we had to drag everyone to the airport at 4:30 in the morning to get them to their boarding gate on time, and two flights later they made it to Germany. Once I got the update, I breathed a sigh of relief that our week of hosting two 12-year olds in a foreign country without their parents was a success (read: without incidents). This has been in the calendar since March, and at some points since I racked my brain to recall what age 12 was like, but it was simply too long ago — more than 30 years! It was my last year in Winnipeg, I was in Grade 7, I read a lot of books, and the summer I turned 13 we went to the Philippines. That’s about it. If you can remember that age clearly, I applaud you!

Needless to say, hosting kids is very different from hosting adults: there are no port wine tours or tastings, not the same sort of sightseeing, and I brought them everywhere and back home versus sending them to places on their own. There was even a requested trip or two to a shopping mall (and you know how I feel about those), where Paulo and I saw a movie and called it a date while the girls power-shopped.

I’ve known one of the tweens all her life and the other was her classmate, who I didn’t know. If there was such a thing as a Life CV, I would put “tweensitting” near the top! Because it must be said: the prepubescent brain is a mystery, with a No Adults Allowed sign at the entrance. But at least I can say we survived the week, which I call a reality check for parenthood.

What’s Next?

I’m hoping now that our hosting calendar is all crossed off for the year, we can get in at least a couple more road trips before the summer ends in a month. I’m working on a couple of big projects and have a family shoot coming up, too.

There’s a week and a half left in August, I hope you’re enjoying it!

summer in Porto, Portugal (2)

summer in Porto, Portugal (3)

summer in Porto, Portugal (4)

summer in Porto, Portugal (5)

July 31-August 2, 2015
Album: F1H2O Grand Prix of Portugal 2015