To be honest, I must say that the very first impression after arriving at Porto airport was a bit disappointing.
I started my secondment in Spring, leaving my hometown on a very sunny day with very good weather next to the always pleasant Mediterranean coast in the east of Spain. I just didn’t think I was leaving this climate behind to go to the western part of the Iberia Peninsula, which is clearly influenced by the Atlantic climate. When I arrived in Porto at the beginning of April it was very cold and, of course, raining.
I had no umbrella nor waterproof clothing… and I was wearing short sleeves! I froze as soon as I left the airport.
Luckily, there is a bus stop right at the airport to take you to Braga. Not only that but the Braga bus station has an urban bus stop right next to it that takes you directly to the gates of the INL.
Wow, the very first impression of the INL is impressive. A huge, modern building surrounded by greenery. I must say that as soon as I got into the building, I went directly to the toilet to put on a jumper and a coat. Soon Dr Pastrana came to the reception to welcome me and take me to his department. There, he introduced me to those who were going to be my lab partners for the next month.
I must say that the welcome was very warm, and everyone was very welcoming. So much so that I quickly forgot about the weather outside!
They showed me all the facilities and labs they have, and I soon started my new stay as a researcher.
Days passed quickly and as time went by, the weather gradually became sunnier and warmer. I was so comfortable that I soon stopped missing my hometown and its climate.
Of course, I had the opportunity to visit not only Braga but also the surrounding area. I can now say, after a month’s stay there, that it is an area of the Iberian Peninsula that I had not visited before and that it is beautiful and full of charm. Highly recommended for a family holiday.
However, I must confess that when I took the bus back to my hostel every day, I always had to pass by the traffic signal that I show in the last picture… A traffic sign that by chance (or by “synchronicity”, who knows) always reminded me of where I came from, my hometown, Valencia, and the city where I studied Physics and where I have my best friends, Barcelona.
Many thanks to all the researchers and technicians at INL. Many thanks to the European Commission and BIOINICIA for giving me the opportunity through the FODIAC project to meet people and places that I will never forget.