Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Putting the Port in Portugal

Here in Porto, about 300km north of Lisbon, we are staying in the Grande Hotel Porto and it probably once was! The breakfast room/restaurant has a self playing grand piano and large ornate chandeliers. It also has proper French pastries- yummo! The hotel foyer is grandiose with floor length mirrors and long hallways. The bedrooms however are fairly basic, the shower leaks and the floors rumble and shake whenever someone walks in the corridor or next room. We are situated in the centre of the main pedestrianised shopping area which is a bit of a challenge! The parking building however was a piece of cake compared to Lisbon!!

With just two nights and one full day we filled every minute of it! We took a tourist bus and covered the whole city and the riverside beaches. Porto is an interesting city full of tiny narrow steep laneways, zigzag paths leading to nowhere, houses on the tumble down hillsides, soaring bell towers, buildings piled on top of one another, baroque churches and so many photo opportunities that my camera batteries ran out twice as I tried to capture the moments. Our bus tour took us through the old and newer parts of the city on both sides of the river.

In the morning we also visited the Majestic Cafe - plush and amazing but definitely overpriced for pretty average coffee and juice! We also stared in amazement inside the train station where the walls are covered in tiles telling stories of the history of Porto in pictures. We visited the fruit markets and were surprised at the brightly coloured "artificial" flowers on display for sale.

We spent an hour on a tour of the port wine cellars in Gaia (on the other side of the river) including sampling of course, and later enjoyed port on the rocks as we basked in the late afternoon sun and watched the tiny boats in the harbour beside the tumbling cliffs.There's nothing quite like drinking port in Portugal! Later we walked over the bridge and up the steep cobbled streets back to the hotel - a much needed workout before dinner!

1 comment:

  1. If those glasses are ports, they're bloody big ones!