|Colorful tiled buildings overlook the Douro River in Porto.|
Our visit to Porto comes as we are homeward bound. After three weeks on the road, we are a little travel-weary and have begun to believe that we've seen more than enough (for now) of Portgual. However, a three-day stop in Porto turns out to be a highlight of our trip. The city is, in fact, the first city we've visited where we think, "Yeah, we could live here." If only my Portuguese didn't sound like Russian with an Italian accent ...
|A traditional boat called a Rabelo was used to transport people and port.|
Porto, in northern Portugal, is located on the Douro River at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. Way up river lies the Douro Valley, the only place to grow grapes for port. A tour of a port lodge of Vila Nova de Gaia, located across the river from downtown Porto, supplies me with this tidbit: The valley is uniquely qualified for growing grapes for port because of its bitterly cold nights and hellishly hot days. Drink a glass of port with me and I'll probably repeat that, since much of the rest of the port education I receive during the tour goes straight out of my head.
|Port tasting at Ferreira lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia|
We're staying in a room in a modern high-rise apartment in the Gaia district. A map supplied by our hosts suggests we start our visit with a walk to the river. The steep streets challenge us, but it is after all, downhill. It's Sunday and sunny, and it's bustling along the river. Families, couples, and fellow tourists pack the lanes lined with cafés and street vendors.
|A steep street in Gaia leads to the Douro River and Porto.|
To get to Porto-proper, we walk across the Ponte de Dom Luis I. This double-decked metal arched bridge was designed by Téophile Seyrig, a partner of Gustave Eiffel. We'll cross this bridge several times while we're here via the metro that runs along the top level.
|Porto as seen from the Ponte de Dom Luis I|
We linger over a cold beer along Cais da Ribeira before setting off to explore the beautiful city of Porto.
|Street music and refreshments in Porto|
|Inside the Estação São Bento (train station)|
|Interior Igreja Clérigos in Porto|
|Sé Catedral in Porto|
|Fancy McDonald's in Porto|
|Tiled-covered rock serves as a bench in Porto.|
|Lunchtime shopping along Rua da Bandeira in Porto|
|Statue along Avenida dos Aliados in Porto|
|After eating nearly no meat for three weeks, I succumb to this: Francesinha, |
a Porto specialty.
|Fishing boats at the mouth of the Douro River in Porto|
|Forte de São Francisco Xavier, or Castelo do Queijo, is located on the |
Atlantic Ocean in Porto.
|A little rain doesn't spoil our seaside promenade in Porto.|
|Statue along the Atlantic Ocean in Porto|
|Do I really need to explain this?|
|Porto monument to Raul Brandão, Portuguese journalist and soldier|
|Roofs of the port lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia|
|In the Jardim do Morro in Gaia|