Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rio Douro

Riverfront buildings: Porto

Let us assure you that we are not suffering when it comes to breakfast. All of our hotels have had excellent breakfast offerings (complete with dessert), and the hotel in Porto has been no exception. Oh yeah, and the food is free, which is quite remarkable, when you consider how inexpensive these lodgings are (relative to North America).
So, after eating, we went walking in the sunshine, which was lovely - particularly considering we awoke to rain. We visited the imposing Se Cathedral and numerous other churches, which are always wonderful. We never tire of them, and apparently nor do the Portuguese, as there always seems to be a mass underway. We are not yet converts.
me (Dale) map reading in Porto
We strolled across the impressive bridge spanning the Douro - i forget the name of the bridge, there are 5 of them, but only one is impressive. The bridge was designed by an unnamed assistant to Gustave Eiffel.
Having worked up an appetite, we had the most glorious long lunch on the river front, sitting in the sunshine, snacking on olives, and seafood (Betty Lou) and smoking a cigar (me) all the while being serenaded by a lively duo on the accordion & guitar. It was perfect.
Market Olives: Porto
Not wanting to leave the river, we took an hour long cruise down the river.
We capped off the evening with hot chocolate and truffles at a super stylish and beautiful hotel, like something out of Wallpaper magazine. Very glamorous.
Today we were sort of out of things to do. We visited a few more churches and took a tour of the Palacio de Bolsa, which was once the stock exchange and commercial centre. It was very beautiful.
After a decadent afternoon nap we were on our way to tea when we stumbled across a group of university students dressed in their black suits & capes playing Portuguese music on the street (accordions, various stringed instruments, drums, etc). Very delightful. Even without anything planned we always manage to find entertainment and delights.
We will be catching an early morning train to Valença do Minho, the last stop as we wander north.
d & b
Window: Porto

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