portoA welcome return to Porto for the first time since the Open City Guimaraes project in 2012 – a beautiful city and now one with a clear shared sense of new possibility.

My visit included a session at UPTEC and a tour of UPTEC PINC, two of the four incubators established by the University of Porto to support new business development in the city – in these iterations focused on Tech and Creative Industries.

Meeting businesses in both buildings there was a feeling of optimism and potential (where 4 years ago creating new start ups felt like a necessary path to avoid youth unemployment) and clearly some of the positive public intervention which has transformed Lisbon’s sector is replicated here.

Added to that the downtown area which had felt abandoned in parts previously now has a new vibrancy – there was a marked shift.

One thing still puzzles. The food and wine in northern Portugal is particularly great (octopus, black pork, douro wines, port), yet the dish recommended by all as the Porto speciality, the Francesinha, is a weird spicy fried steak sandwich covered in melted cheese, egg and served in a tomato sauce – never again….

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