Weekend in Porto

After 5 months in Thailand as soon as I landed in London I wanted to see something new in Europe. I talked to my girlfriend and we each have a  list of cities we want to see. Both of us had Porto, for wine, narrow streets, architecture, food and walls covered in blue tiles.  At the last moment my brother decided to join us for a girlie weekend and we were off. Porto is a perfect weekend gateway from London. Plenty of cheap, short flights (only 2hrs away). Great for all day walking around and exploring. We spent a few days walking around, browsing market stalls, eating whenever we had a chance (always with a bottle of wine), admired views from Luis I Bridge and Clerigos Tower, visited Port cellars, walked hours by the seaside, spent evenings in bars around Praca da Ribeira. Soaked in the sun and atmosphere of this old city.

First look at red rooftops of Porto.

As soon as we arrived.. Coffee and Pastel de Nata.

Admiring Sao Bento Station designed by Jose Marques de Silva and opened in 1916.

There are 20,000 Azulejos tin-glazed ceramic tiles at the Sao Bento Station. It took the painter Jorge Colaco 11 years to complete.

Look at those colours! We stayed in an apartment in this very narrow alleyway between fountain and wall of colorful buildings.

Dom Luis 1 Bridge spanning over the Douro between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. Designed by Teófilo Seyrig, a disciple of Gustav Eiffel. It has the longest iron arch in the world and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Lower level is used by cars and pedestrians, upper level for metro, bicycles and pedestrians. Best for views of Ribiera and the Porto Wine Cellars of Villa Nova de Gaia.

On the upper level of Dom Luis 1 Bridge.

Tourists relaxing by Praça da Ribeira,

On the board of Porto’s 100 year old vintage tram number 1. We took route from Infante, along the northern bank of the Douro to the beach at Foz.

Inside the Porto Cathedral.

Looking up.

I admit.. I am a sucker. I did pay 3 to visit Livraria Lello. It’s famed for being on the list of one of the most beautiful bookstores in world and more recently as inspiration for J.K.Rowling’s for Hogwarts. There used to be policy forbidding photography inside the bookshop. Now you pay entrance fee and you can take as many photos as you like. There can be up to 80 people at the shop.. very crowded. Apparently the queue to the bookshop over Easter holiday was few hundred meters long! It is a pretty shop. Opened in 1906 designed by architect Xavier Esteves. There are carved wood ceilings, stunning red staircase, stain-glassed roof and neo-gothic facade. Very pretty, but not my favourtie bookstore. That is still ast Bookstore I visited in Los Angeles.  In order ‘to get back’ my money I managed to find a book to buy ‘The Portuguese Way to Santiago de Compostela’. Of course now I am considering doing the French Way instead..

While we were picking up a bottle of ‘something’ for evening the store owner grabbed my brother and handed him a bottle of Port from 1979.. Explaining that he believes it was the year Lukasz was born. He was spot on!

We took several hours long walk along the beach. Completely different side of Porto.

View from Clerigos Tower (75.6m above the city). Worth climbing 240 steps to the top.

With Lukasz.

Sitting and ‘tasting’ Port again and again at the Sandeman.

Sunset.

It’s lovely to spend evening by the Duoro River.

Beautiful Porto by night.

I adored Porto. Charming city. And I loved the wine!

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