One of the luckiest things I had at the time of the exchange was arriving in Porto in the month of August. The lively summer schedule made me feel “at home” in the Portuguese city where I would be studying for the next 6 months.
In August Porto is in celebration: cultural events pop up everywhere, inviting people to enjoy the season.
I got to know the beautiful gardens of the Palácio de Cristal on the day I went to see Sweeney Todd, the demonic barber of Rua Fleet, at the festival “Cinema out of the place”, which shows films outdoors in various parts of the city (sítio, in Portugal, is used as a synonym for place).
The “Cinema out of place” is an opportunity to enjoy some of the most iconic spots in the city, such as Praça da Ribeira (on the banks of the Douro River, facing the beautiful Luís Bridge) and Praça Dom João I, among other places where sessions are held, in addition to the Palace.
The 2013 lineup also includes a Tim Burton movie, Dark Shadows, and several others that look great, like The Descendants, The Man Who Changed The Game (Moneyball), The Amazing Spider-Man, and Power Without Limits (which there translated simply as “Crónica”, faithful to the original title). I haven’t watched any of these yet and, if I were in Porto, I would watch them there, for free and outdoors!
The Palácio de Cristal was also the setting for another super cool experience in my first weeks in Porto: the Noites Ritual festival. It is one of the biggest rock events in Portugal, already in its 20th edition, with great emphasis on national bands.
Like any good rock festival, it also has an alternative fashion fair and performances throughout the night. It was in one of these that I ventured to try some jumps with skyrunners (jumping stilts). Super fun, although I didn’t go very far (or very high…lol).
The previous week there had also been a Blues and Jazz festival. I didn’t let go, but I confess that I’m not a big fan of these genres.
This year, Noites Ritual takes place on the 30th and 31st of August, but I read that there will also be programming in downtown Porto the week before, starting on the 23rd. !
Noites Ritual also used to be free – and, although in the last 2 years there was a charge for admission, it still has a very quiet price: 5 euros for the pass for the two nights of shows. Not bad to mingle with the Portuguese and get to know their sound.