When traveling, all rental cars feel like a red convertible along a palm-tree lined beach road. Wind in hair, classic rock on the radio, and a glass-bottled Coca-Cola in the cup holder. A couple of the details are different in our case – the rental car is very compact and white, the music playing is by Portuguese artist Sara Tavares, and the drink is hydrating water, but the free-spirit sentiment remains.
Although only about a three hour drive from Lisbon to Porto, we find a small town along the way that had been recommended by our Vespa tour guide. Aveiro is Portugal’s version of Italy’s Venice. There are canals and gondolas and cute cafes and high-arching bridges. There seems to be a festival going on the day of our visit complete with live music and art installations. We have a perfectly toasted sandwich each, tour the town to stretch our legs, and then continue onward to Porto.