Cold winds, hot dance & a lot of Port :)
I have been dancing Kizomba for some time now. A sensual couple dance, with African origin, that is now danced in various styles and increasing in popularity rapidly. Within the dancing community it has become very popular to travel to festivals to explore Kizomba & other Afro Latin dances through workshops with global teachers from all over. The schedules are always very thorough, not to forget to mention the evening/night schedules that most of the time follows special themes or per-decided color scales.
Last summer I managed to convince Louise to come a long to Porto where they have a annual 10 days Latin festival every year called “DMAES summer boot camp”. So after a week in Lisbon we took the bus to beautiful Porto to settle down for some days in Vila Nova de Gaia, adjacent to Porto.
Porto has a different beauty & feel from Lisbon, more mysterious! And Porto has plenty of amazing wines & great Port wine from the Douro Valley which both tasted wonderful & kept us warm 😉
Louise & me chose to not join in on every part of the dancing schedule but spent a lot of time to walk around and explore the beautiful surroundings.
One nice part with festivals is of course to make new acquaintances. We spent some nice moments with Franz from Hamburg & Ann from London. Ann later came to visit me in Göteborg for a Kizomba event and in a few weeks me & Louise will travel to London to spend a weekend dancing Kizomba in the regular venues where Ann goes 🙂 To be honest, I have figured out that is probably more my thing, to enjoy local regular Kizomba life.
One evening we had dinner in central Porto followed by a night walk. As many cities, Porto shines at night! And it also had a bit of a spooky feel 🙂
We went into Porto a few times to just stroll around. One day we also did some Port wine tasting. Several wine lodges offers tours & tasting for free. Considering the constantly present chilly wind it was even more pleasant to warm up with some good Port 😉
No trip to Porto would be complete without a Douro river trip. Unfortunately we had picked a rather cloudy and cold day. The only thing that could warm me up was, again… some Port wine and odd layers of clothes (not actually meant to be combined). At the end of the tour however it both became warmer and even a bit sunny. A very relaxing day on a boat, enjoying nice views and doing nothing. And passing two sluices 🙂
Close by to the hotel we found our all time favorite restaurant. I do not remember the name but they had the most delicious seafood casserole. And since it was not a tourist area the prices were too good to be truth 😛
Finally, some workshop pictures below. At the end of a workshop the instructors always demonstrates the full sequence so that everyone can record for home practicing. The Porto week was great and I enjoyed the city strolls evenly much as the workshops. Festival parties are usually not the dance evenings I enjoy the most since I feel more relaxed when I can dress in the clothes and colors that fits me rather than according to special themes. But it was for sure an interesting and instructive week 🙂