I remember reading that Porto is home to the Iberian Peninsula’s largest synagogue. AT SOME POINT it dawned on me that Catholicism is actually an even bigger deal here. It was a hazy shade of winter Sunday, marijuana MAY have been involved, I don’t remember exactly WHEN I had my epiphany.
It may have occurred earlier in the rainy streets, my sweet Portuguese friend shared her umbrella and we passed numerous indigo mural facades of Porto’s many old Catholic churches. The Clerigos museum should have tipped me off, with its collection of crucifixions. Or it may have been the stunning interior of Clerigos Church itself, where my friend and I shared stories of our Catholic upbringings.
The only certainty I have about my breakthrough realization is that it DEFINITELY DID NOT occur when I was climbing the bell tower because I had nearly zero thoughts. There was only ONE thing on my mind: RAW SURVIVAL. The bell tower, icon of Porto, is visible from so many points in the city because it is really freaking high. I should probably point out that I’m not afraid of anything EVER.
MY FRIEND IS NOT AFRAID OF PIGEONS and I’m not afraid of taking photos at heights, on top of centuries old bell towers, with slippery pea soup weather punctuated by perhaps tropical storm-strength gusts of wind. Anyways, Clerigos was my favorite church I visited in Portugal, where yes, Catholicism is kind of a big deal. There’s even a Costa Coffee right next door, where a cafe con leche and chocolate muffin mellowed my PTSD.