A STROLL IN PORTO, IN THE LITERARY STYLE OF MIGUEL CERVANTES*
Winged Visions of a Knight
- Don Quixote de la Mancha and Sancho Panza wander through the streets of Porto
In the early afternoon of a July day, Don Quixote de la Mancha, a nobleman of fine lineage, accompanied by his loyal squire Sancho Panza, arrives in the ancient, noble, always loyal, and undefeated city of Porto.
Don Quixote: - Ah, Sancho, we have finally arrived. It has been long and tiring days under this summer sun to reach the undefeated city, but I am certain that something special awaits us here.
In front of the magnificent Tower of the Clerics, Don Quixote doesn’t hesitate: - Before us, the guardian of the city, dominant and protective, from its impressive height and vigilant spirit. I see how it looks at us, with suspicion and disdain...
Sancho Panza: - Yes, my master, an imposing tower. But I see nothing more than a monument...
Don Quixote: - Ah, Sancho, your vision is limited by the constraints of mundane reality. This guardian figure protects the city from evil forces. But we have permission to proceed, let’s go on! As expected, our good nature and intentions were understood. However, it will surely not divert its attention from us for a second and will follow us all around.
Going downwards to the Ribeira neighborhood, Don Quixote muses about the beauty of the cobbled streets, where each stone bears witness to an echo of history.
At the sight of the Luís I Bridge, Don Quixote steps back. Before him stands a winged dragon, ready to take flight and conquer the skies with its glittering scales of mythical creature. Intimidated, he stops. He contemplates the legendary animal while formulating in his head the most convincing arguments to persuade the dragon to transport them to the other side. On the other side of the Douro River, lie the famous Port Wine Cellars, where the precious nectar ages, defining its identity and character. Between them and a longed-for wine tasting experience, there’s a winged dragon.
Sancho Panza thus faces the arduous task of informing the knight-errant that he sees nothing more than an iron bridge with its two decks connecting the riverbanks, uniting the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.
With a projected and distant gaze, Don Quixote seems not to hear his squire. His mind wanders between reality and fantasy. Don Quixote's eyes always see more than other eyes perceive. Fortunately, Sancho is there to guide him through the reality of the paths they tread together. They cross the famous bridge, and each in their own way feels the thrill of doing so: Sancho contemplates the beauty of the view from that supposedly golden river; Don Quixote allows himself to be carried in the winged dream of the dragon that accepted his request and granted them its back for this enchanted crossing.
Continuing to wander through the city, their next stop is an oasis of green and pure air in the heart of the city: the beautiful gardens of the Crystal Palace. Don Quixote believes he is facing a lunar crater when he catches sight of the Multipurpose Pavilion that inhabits the garden – a structure that one can climb and enjoy a magnificent view from its dome. For Don Quixote, this is a celestial sanctuary where the gods can contemplate the beauty of the Earth. The knight probably remains unaware that here once stood a glass building, constructed in 1865 to host the Great International Exhibition of Porto. Nothing remains of that structure except the name with which this place, which is deeply embedded in the hearts of the people of Porto, was once baptized.
At the end of the day, when the sun set over the city, it was from there, from that no-longer-crystal Palace, that they contemplated the falling night, bringing with it renewed mysteries and enchantments.
Don Quixote: - Sancho, my friend, it is in this serenity that I find confirmation that my pursuit of adventures and dreams is a path of truth.
Sancho Panza: - My lord, every step we take in this city carries new meanings. It is an honor to accompany you and serve you on this quest.
Don Quixote: - I feel at home in Porto. Here, I find the essence of the values I hold dear, like a knight-errant in search of justice and love. In its streets, I find stories of bravery and perseverance, while its river sings a melody of courage. In this tall and proud city, I find the value of loyalty, expressed in every sincere smile and handshake. The people of Porto, like faithful squires, protect their traditions and honor the legacy of their ancestors. Their hospitality is a protective shield that embraces travelers and strangers. - Porto teaches me to cherish perseverance, for its steep hills are constant challenges, just like the battles I fight against the enemies of justice. The fortified city stands tall, firm as a medieval castle, resisting the storms of time and the adversities of life. - Here, I rediscover the beauty of small things, present in every colorful tile, every hidden corner, and every stained glass window of a church. Ah, Porto is a kaleidoscope of charms, a symphony that captivates the senses and awakens the artistic sensitivity that resides within my knightly soul! - You know, Sancho, in Porto, love and passion are celebrated like a shining armor that envelops hearts and minds in a fiery embrace. On the banks of the Douro, I witness couples dancing to the rhythm of the river, in an eternal waltz that transcends time and reason. Here, I learn that love is the fire that warms the soul and ignites the toughest battles. - But Porto is also a beacon of culture and knowledge, where wisdom is passed down from generation to generation. In its libraries and universities, I find treasures of ancient and modern knowledge, nourishing my insatiable thirst to learn and understand the world around me. - Finally, the city of Porto is a living testament to human resilience. Its meticulously preserved historical buildings are proof that we can build something enduring, even in the face of life's storms. In this place, the values that I, Don Quixote de la Mancha, hold dear - loyalty, perseverance, beauty, love, wisdom, and resilience - find an inspiring echo and gain life in the people and streets of this city.
It’s now time to leave our knight in this city that becomes a stage where dreams come to life and statues speak to the hearts of those who dare to listen. It is certain that the journey of a knight-errant is not only a battle against windmills but a relentless search for truth and for the essence of things - which often lies beyond what the eye can see.
We joined Don Quixote and Sancho Panza on their arrival in the city of Porto, on that July day when we wove together an imaginary piece. May the winged visions of Don Quixote and the loyalty of Sancho Panza inspire us to explore the unknown, embracing the infinite possibilities that this world - and all others - offer us.
*This text was written in the literary style of Miguel Cervantes, using a combination of an AI language model and human creative input. By taking these two Cervantes literature immortalized characters and placing them in the streets of Porto, we aim to invite readers on a brief, yet symbolic, journey through time and space.