My flight to Porto was delayed by more than 3 (almost 5) hours due to a technical fault, and having left at 3:30am to get to the airport on time, the energy I would’ve spent on my first day going around Porto, I spent at the airport, so my two day trip turned into a one day trip. And Porto is a lot hillier than I expected, but Uber is a good friend with good prices here! There are a lot of places I couldn’t visit…I will just have to go back to see Rua de Santa Catarina, Mercado do Bohão, Agenda dos Aliados, the veggie restaurants, the inside of Bolsa Palace and Church of São Francisco and the Livraria Lello & Irmão…It was hard to prioritise but this is what I did on this trip:
Started the day at Jardim das Virtudes with the first beautiful view:Walked down its many layers to get closer to the river through little alleyways:
Walked along the historic tram route and saw the Church of São Francisco from the outside:
Then went up and up and further uphill and up stairs to get to the Sé do Porto (lack of pictures due to lack of breath):
The most interesting (and quite efficient) process at the toilet facilities at the bottom of the stairs up to the Sé: You pay 20 euro cents and get a few sheets of toilet paper and get admission into the toilet. Environmental – you get what you need, clean – no extra toilet paper being dropped all over the floors + they are being cleaned.(The toilets I speak of are right opposite the red car on the bottom right hand corner of the picture above – under the shade of the tree basically)
My pictures of the interior of the Sé didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped because I was intrigued by the differences I felt between this cathedral and the cathedrals I’ve been to in Italy, France and Switzerland (Rome, Paris and Geneva).
The inside of the Sé reminded me most of Geneva’s St. Pierre in terms of the darkness and the colour of the actual building material. Because of the Protestant movement and reformation in Geneva though, it’s basically not decorated at all. The decorations in the Sé seem a lot older than the ones in Rome and Paris, a lot more use of gold than of colours made me feel that way.
I’ve now found out that the Sé, St Pierre in Geneva, and Notre Dame in Paris were all started in the 12th century, and a lot of other cathedrals that I was thinking about in Rome were also started around that time, but they use a lot more colour and stained glass windows than the Sé from what I remember which I think gave me that feeling. St Peters’ Basilica was started a lot later, though, in the 17th century.
Then walked in the opposite direction towards Cais de Ribeira, the boardwalk next to the river. It was such a beautiful walk down the steps surrounded by the historic houses and the magnificent views of the river and the Gaia side over the tops of the red roofs of Porto.
Took a little break from the sun in a riverside café. Then walked across the bridge and got an Uber (:D) to Graham’s Port Lodge.
The tour is fantastic – a mere €10 for a tour and a tasting! (Private tours can be €75, and there are different price ranges for different types of tastings, the price of the tour is included in the price of the tasting you get). And the staff are super friendly and helpful too.
For €10 I got to try Six Grapes, a 2011 LBV and a Tawny Port. I loved the sweetness of Six Grapes, and the almond/whisky type taste of the 10 year Tawny Port without the kick of whisky. All three of these are filtered before they are bottled, so the oxidation process is already over, so when you open them you can savour them over a couple of months.
Ended the day with this spectacular view from Graham’s Restaurant Bar.