Mittwoch, 31. Mai 2017

#ohporto part 6

Our last day in Porto started with rain. We had walked as far as the Rua das Flores when it got so bad we fled into a cafe for a 2nd breakfast and to shelter from the rain.

While we eeked out the beverages a long as possible we tried to find a rainy day activity and decided on the Museu da Misericordia do Porto, which is located on the same street.

I have to confess, I wasn't all that interested in paintings of saints, patrons and relics but I recognize  an exhibiton that is well-executed. 

 The building is amazing and has been carefully renovated.

In the late afternoon the sun had broken through the clouds again and we made our way to the Ponte da Arrabida to climb it.
It was amazing! If you only do one activity in Porto, go and climb this bridge! It is only 262 steps and even if you're not fit, it's do-able. Only the hairdo didn't survive!

The views are breathtaking and the architecture impressive. Our guide was a very passionate student of architecture and told us everything about the bridge itself and Porto.

On the one side Porto - just WOW.

And on the other side the Atlantic Ocean. My only regret is that we couldn't get closer to this side to take better pictures.

Montag, 29. Mai 2017

#ohporto part 5

Those who know me, know I`m not the biggest fan of modern art. Mainly because I suffer from "I can do this and call it art and make Millions of €". So far no one was able to explain to me what makes art art and who decides. Maybe I`ll watch out for an evening class.

So when for Wednesday the forecast predicted another scorcher I decided to join my brother visiting the "Museu de Serralves", the collection of contemporary art, purely for their aircondition.

But, I`m not too proud to admit that I enjoyed myself. I am a huge fan a modern architecture (go, figure) and loved the stark and brilliant white features of the buildings.

And some of the exhibits: 

And one of my favorites: The window, which reminded me very much of the Tate St. Ives with its huge panoramic window towards the sea!

After a quick lunch in the cafe we went outside to take a stroll around the huge grounds, a wonderful park which makes you feel like you are in the countryside. There`s a rosegarden, an abandoned tea house, a pond  and an Art Deco villa where you can get lost for hours.

Sonntag, 28. Mai 2017

#ohporto part 4 the Douro valley

Tuesday morning found us on a train to Pinhao. We left from the beautiful Estacao Sao Bento and it only took 2 hours 45 minutes more than half way through Portugal (horizontally) to get there.

It was hot! Baking hot. Luckily we arrived just in time for lunch so we hid under a parasol and had some sandwiches watching the water of the Douro flow past.

Then we went for an hour-long cruise on the Douro, delighting in the green water and vineyards moving past slowly. What a relaxing way to spend a hot afternoon. It was only 10 € and they sold port wine.

Later we tried to find a bathing spot but couldn't
Find an accessible part of the river shore. The people of the Douro valley are probably too busy for swimming  producing that delicious wine.

On a whim we decided to visit a Quinta, a vinery and chose the Quinta Bomfim at the end of the village, aptly named "pretty end". We joined a group of Germans for a standard tour and got shown around the vinery owned by the Symington family,

After the tour we received three different Ports to taste.
They were delicious. Luckily for us there had been a mix-up and we received three special instead of standard wines. Yay!

And then it was time to grab some snacks for the journey back and head for the station. All in all I would only recommend it if you are really interested in wine because the train journey is awfully long for a 1-hour cruise. Or maybe stay for a few nights and cycle round the vineyards?

Samstag, 27. Mai 2017

#ohporto part 3

On our third day in Porto we did tourist stuff. In the morning we took the historical tram or Electrifico from the Praca da Liberdade. It`s a roundtrip and takes you to Batalha and back via the University District.
 At Batalha I was surprised by the engineering ingenuity of flexible backrests which were turned when the driver moved to the back of the car  for switching directions so that the passengers were able to stay in their seats but still look into the driving direction. Does this description make sense?

After a restoring Cafecinho we went on one of those  guided walks which are free and afterwards you give a tip . Our guide David took us on a tour of the old town, telling us all about the history of Porto, local customs and "secret" spots. The 3 hours flew by and I really enjoyed myself. 

Most of all the exclusive treat at the "Cozinha Doce", a bakery which only delivers to restaurants and cafes but has a special deal with the tour company so we were able to choose from two desserts, cake Or Nata do Ceu (cream from heaven), which is egg yolk, cream and crushed cookies. I choose the chocolate cake and it was easily the best piece of cake I ever had in my lifetime!!!!
I loved the tour and am still deciding if I want to do the afternoon one as well!


Freitag, 26. Mai 2017

#ohporto part 2

Our second day we spent at the Atlantic. We took the tram to Matosinhos Sul, which is where the cruise ship terminal is. Amazing how close the ocean is to the town centre but hidden from sight behind the bends of the Douro.

First we visited the Cheese Castle and then walked along the shore until it was time for refreshments which we took at the Praia Homem do Leme. The kitchen wasn`t open yet for another 30 minutes so twist my arm we had to sit in the shade with cold drinks watching the waves.

Lunch was a delicious chicken salad with lettuce, carrots and oranges. In order not to be too virtuos we had some fries with it.

At the Forte de Sao Joao da Foz we visited the lighthouse and had a celebratory icecream before boarding a bus back into the town.

I find the Portuguese seagulls have better manners than their Cornish cousins. 

Donnerstag, 25. Mai 2017


I found this hashtag on our first evening on a blackboard outside a shop and simply had to hijack it because it expresses so much and more. Oh Porto, you are so beautiful, cool and shabby with bits (cobblestones) missing.

It was a long and tiresome trip with a very early start but from the moment the tram exited  the tunnel onto the Ponte de Dom Luis I all was forgotten.
The sun sparkling on the river Douro, the narrow, wonky houses or the wooden barges carrying tourists up and down the river.

We found an apartment on Airbnb in Vila Nova de Gaia, which is actually another town on the other side of the river. It`s only a 10-minute walk to the old town, cheaper and the area feels more airy and not so cramped and busy.
It gives us the freedom of 2 bedrooms, a kitchen/lounge and homecooked meals.

Stay tuned for more Porto adventures! 

Freitag, 12. Mai 2017

Holiday countdown

I'm in desperate need for some r&r - rest and recuperation - and luckily there's a trip coming right up!
 Next week I will board a plane with my trusty travel companion and brother to Porto. 

As we loved Lisbon so much two years ago, we decided to see its little sister. So, only  5 more days at the office and we will spend ten days sitting in the sun, drinking coffees and wine and doing nothing much else!
Bring it on, I say!