Fontainhas is a place very close to my heart. My grandparents used to live there and I spent most of my childhood in this area. Fast forward a couple of decades and now I live nearby – talk about circle of life, huh?
When I was young, I was fascinated by the fact that everything seemed close by. Fontainhas seemed to be the epicenter of the city and still it felt like a village. We’d spend our day at the window, greeting the neighbours and friends. Everyone knew everyone. We even had an old lady come by, carrying a big basket full of biscuits, selling them door to door. It was just like a movie.
Then, Infante bridge was built and lots of people were dislocated, including my grandparents, and things changed, a lot.
For a few years, I’d rarely return to Fontainhas and when I did it felt different: my grandparents house wasn’t there and the whole area seemed quite deserted.
Then, recently, Porto became a tourist magnet and many neighbourhoods kind of succumbed to it, becoming a bit uncharacteristic. But Fontainhas managed to keep its local charm. Loud people, small (and slightly stinky) cafes, the old washtub areas where the women used to wash their clothes while either fighting, gossiping or singing. Not to mention the breathtaking views of the river Douro and its beautiful bridges and the rumble of the train going into the tunnels. I just adore the whole picturesque scene and I think you will too.