So here’s a weird thing about the subway system here in Porto: it seems to be run on the honour system.  There are no gates anywhere; there are machines to load up your swipe card with the fare for a ride, and there’s these little card scanners around each station that (I think) you’re supposed to swipe before you get on a train and when you transfer, but that’s it.  I’ve never actually seen anyone confirming that passengers have paid their fare. It’s weird.

I’m constantly paranoid that some gruff, no-nonsense ticket-checker is going to scan my card and it’ll turn out I did it completely wrong. I’ll try to explain that I paid a fare, but of course the guy speaks no English. I’m not entirely sure how this would end for me, but not well I’m sure.


The other oddity is that, in a lot of stations, there are multiple lines that converge, and often the trains from the different lines will all arrive at the same platform. So you have to be careful about which train you’re getting on (even if you’re at the right spot!) or you’ll end up in the wrong place.

I mean, come on. That one seems designed solely to screw with tourists.  Of course I wound up on the wrong train at one point. How could I not? (By paying attention, you’re probably thinking. Shut up, you.)

On the plus side: phones get a rock-solid signal, even when the trains go underground, so that’s nice.

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