Today, marks a year since we got back. Porto …..I sooooo long for you.
We hopped on the train from Lisbon ( Santa Apolonia ) at 8 am , in an extremely empty comfortable train. Paid 26 euros for a one way trip to Porto via the CP line (https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en/buy-tickets ).Wifi on board with enough room , considering we had the entire carriage to ourselves. There was water and coffee /tea available too.Trip took about 3 hours , with one connecting to Sao Bento ( Porto) .
Sao Bento Station being a tourist spot, it was pretty busy on arrival at 11 am. Extremely beautiful tiled station , and despite the crowd there was enough space for us to manoeuvre through to the exit.
Our airbnb was a walk away , uphill but easy walk since we were travelling light.Took us about 8 minutes , since we took a slow walk.
our little balcony , smack in town
Dropped our bags and immediately headed out to Majestic Cafe , for breakfast. Considered one of the most beautiful cafes in Portugal. We were in at about 11:45 am with about a 3 minute wait outside , but noticed the queue building up at about noon.
We started our day with the portugese tart , that was nearly as nice as the infamous one at Belem and of course , on holiday, its port and tonic any time of the day.I loved Majestic cafe , it felt majestic .
Would have loved to stay in for awhile, but looking at the long line outside ,we left to give way to the rest who wanted a taste of this majestic beauty.
We continued walking along Santa Catarina street, an extremely busy touristy walking street. Lots of street vendors with shops lining both sides of this street. Since we aren’t very much of a retail sort , we walked on soaking in the vibe on the street. We walked on , hunting for Mercado do Bolhao . Spent a good 30 minutes hunting it down , only to learn later then its been closed for renovation and moved temporarily to a spot nearby. (It is supposed to mimic Time Out market at Lisbon , plus it also sells local produce and little souvenirs in a pretty historical building ).We then skipped it , and proceeded to ,……our compulsory spot, Hard Rock Porto. As always, same experience , no surprises here.
Hard Rock Cafe , Porto
I packed light , assuming summer was universal in Portugal. Boy was I wrong, it started to get really , really cold and I was forced to get a sweater to keep warm. So , a sweater from Hard Rock , we did.
We stopped for sardine and Port wine at a cafe facing Avenidos dos Aliados.Also to recuperate from our long search for Mercado. With all the walking in my T-shirt , I started to feel sick .So , we decided to get on the Hop on and off Yellow bus. We got the 2 day pass considering we had two days and wanted to make the most out of it.This would include the orange and purple bus , that includes two routes.Since it was cold , we got on the upper deck to make the most of the sun . We drove past the few sights in town , where we had walked during the day and then headed out towards Ribeira. Since it was tourist season , roads were jammed . What usually takes 20 minutes, delayed us nearly an hour . We got off at the Vila Nova De Gaia , for a wine tasting . ( if you’ve been on any other wine tours, this was rather disappointing. The wine tasting was complimentary from the yellow bus tour )
We walked around the gardens , before being seated and served one glass of wine. We headed out almost within 20 minutes to continue on our tour, however the bus took nearly an hour . With us ,there were many more disgrunted customers .Finally the bus turned up , with almost no breathing space in it, but since we waited so long we were too nervous to wait any longer and all 10 of us scurried inside. It was a rather uncomfortable 45 minutes ride back in traffic , to where we started.
We headed back to our Airbnb to rest a little , before heading out again. On our walk back , we stumbled upon Casa Marlindo . Probably one of the best eats in Porto . Lovely owner , laid back atmosphere with some 80s English music in the background. With a full tummy and little high from the alcohol , what supposed to be a crazy night out ended up , an early night in. Woke up unexpectedly at 4 am , in complete disgust knowing we spent our only night in Porto , in bed.
We had signed up for a Porto Sunrise Walking Tour that was to start at 7 am , so we headed out at 6 am for a quick breakfast and reminisce on what was left of dawn .
Lauren , met us at 7 am together with another chap for our tour. She briefed us on the history of Porto before we headed off. Our initial bits of walking was through Catarina Street , that we had covered the day before , then headed off to Se Cathedral.It was a rather foggy day, so the views were rather disappointing. It was a lovely walk via the bridge ( One of the 6) and down towards Ribeira ( probably my favorite little town in the world) before heading back to Clerigos Church.
Fog in Porto
We stopped at a cafe nearby , for a quick breakfast drink .Headed back to our bnb , to pack up since we had to leave the premise by 11 am. The good part of this bnb was that we were allowed to keep our luggage there , till whenever .
Since we had the morning , we decided on the purple route on the yellow bus tour .This took about an hour and a half. It was a rather boring route I must add. We got back , quick pit stop at McDonalds since its rated the MOST beautiful in the world , think chandelliers , stained glass windows and they serve beer .
We headed off to Gaia, via the Dom Luis I Bridge , it is a double deck metal arched bridge. We played tourist , and took a stroll on both decks to admire the views. Gaia , is as vibrant as Ribeira , with lots of wine cellars and cute cafes by the Duora River. We did another wine tasting before heading back to Ribeira for lunch.
and then , the sun came out to play
There were young local boys that were jumping of the bridge , who did it for money. Rather amusing views. Also, lots of street entertainers singing , dancing and vendors selling little souveniors . Tempting to buy but usually, ends up in a corner once we reach home.
We chilled at a cafe , for lunch with some sangria while soaking it all in. Loved ,loved , loved it. Wish we had stayed a day more ,but our train was to leave at 6 pm.
Porto , probably my favorite little town , thus far.