Amongst circumnavigating zoom meetings, choosing the most efficient home workout regime and perfecting the ultimate banana bread recipe; the global pandemic has certainly taught us how precious being able to travel the world is. And whilst it has been wonderful to have been able to enjoy the beauty of our local surroundings, a trip away felt long overdue.
After some early starts, duty free delights and placing bets on whose bags are almost certainly over the weight allowance (Izzy, we still don’t know how you got away with it!) we landed safely in sunny Portugal. Within 2 hours of us landing; we had travelled to our hotel, checked in, freshened up and thrown into a few hours of strategy for the coming months, lead by Andrew and Mark.
As a largely remote team, we thrive on these monthly opportunities to share ideas ranging from marketing strategies to new product developments, and what better place to talk-over the excitement of the impending sunny season than where city meets surf: Porto.
Meeting over, laptops stowed and sunnies on, it was time to explore the city in all its glory. We walked and talked our way to the Cais da Ribeira Waterfront, a stretch of quaint cafes, bars and restaurants overlooking the water’s edge (and yes we took our chance to stop for a drink). Our first dinner was as local as it gets; a Portuguese tapas restaurant before we hit a nearby bustling-bar for a glass of anything Duoro. A few Pastel de Natas nightcaps were scoffed by all on route to bed!
Day two began as it should with breakfast and coffee at the Fabrica de Pasteis de Nata before taking a short taxi journey to the Foz do Douro for a quick cold water sea swim. Let’s be honest - a Jam trip would not be complete without an ocean dip. I am still not quite over how we transitioned from the cobbled streets of the city centre to sitting with sand between our toes within a mere 10 minutes. An absolute must-do activity if you’re ever visiting Porto, (there are trams, but the taxis were very reasonable).
After a luxurious and lengthy coffee break on the beach it was back to base for a quick turnaround before our next destination; the Espaco Porto Cruz. Based on the Duoro banks a project dedicated to celebrating the tradition and contemporaneity of Port wine culture… in Porto itself. We enjoyed an afternoon wine-tasting session, combining discovery and knowledge with indulging our senses in a variety of different tastes and smells before embracing their lively roof terrace bar for a boogie and cocktail as the sun dropped. With Porto known for its fine wine, this entire afternoon was truly exceptional and one of a kind … another must-do if you’re planning a trip here soon.
We bookended our short but sweet city-break with a dinner at Cozinha Cabral, a beautiful restaurant inspired by the nuances and influences of traditional Portuguese cuisine. Here, we relived the last 48 hours spent soaking up every ounce of sunshine, overcoming our fear of heights on cable cars and eating our way through copious amounts of pastal de natas (when in Rome, eh?!) but mostly, how much we loved being together as a team in such a beautiful city. I think I speak for us all when I say I left Porto feeling incredibly inspired and motivated for the year ahead.
A HUGE thank you to Andrew, Mark and Lynne for making this trip happen and - as always - making us all feel extended members of the Jam Family. ‘Felicidades' to 2022!