Postcard from Porto: Part I

When I received an email late last year from EasyJet telling me the expiry date of my vouchers for Covid-cancelled flights to Bordeaux and Barcelona had been extended, my beloved elected to visit Porto in March and Mallorca in April.

Neither of us has ever spent much time in Portugal. I haven’t been since I was nine years old and then only spent a day in Lisbon and Estoril as part of a two-week cruise. Although my beloved has visited Lisbon a number of times on business, he has seen very little of the city. This may change as university friends have recently moved permanently to southern Portugal, happily near to Portimao the MotoGP circuit, whom we shall probably visit at some point.

No sooner had I booked the flights and hotel to Porto than EasyJet advised of flight changes, fortunately the hotel was able to accommodate these. I’d chosen the hotel based on its central location, its excellent reviews, facilities and great prices.

I didn’t give the trip too much thought beforehand other than deciding on a few things to do while we would be there. Fingers were then crossed that the rolling French industrial action wouldn’t lead to our flight being cancelled. It didn’t, though we were delayed by an hour. Rather than take a taxi in Porto rush-hour, we took the Metro to the station a couple of minutes stroll from our hotel. An hour after landing, we were enjoying a drink and light bite in the hotel bar.

Porto is surprisingly easy to cover on foot, despite its cobbled streets and hills. Indeed, it’s fair to say that we “did” Porto in a day. It’s a compact city on the up with many buildings undergoing much needed renovation and infrastructure works in progress to extend its Metro lines. None of which were fortunately taking place near our hotel.

Porto’s famous blue tile-fronted buildings, particularly the churches, are striking with many having delightful wrought iron details. In addition, it’s a door lovers paradise. Expect to be bored silly for weeks on Thursdays with the city’s doors. I was also impressed with its recently renovated market. If you live in the UK, you may prefer to look away from my photos of abundant fruit and vegetables, and their prices.

Having conquered the city’s streets on day one, we decided to head to the Museu Serrevales in the upmarket Porto suburbs on day two. With a purpose-built contemporary art museum set in glorious grounds which included numerous sculptures, different gardens, a pink art deco villa, a cinema and tree-top walkway, we found plenty to amuse and delight.

You may recall, my beloved always wants to stay in a hotel with a spa, gym and swimming pool. Our hotel obliged, indeed it had two pools one inside and another on the rooftop. Every day we returned late afternoon to our hotel to wallow in its facilities before donning our gladrags in search of dinner.

We, or rather I, typically locate our restaurant for the following evening’s dinner during our post-dinner stroll. We had no problems securing reservations at our chosen destinations where we ate and drank well at very reasonable prices.

You might be surprised to learn that we didn’t venture down the Duoro valley nor did we do any port tastings. Sacrilege I know to some of you but neither of us are fans of wine tastings, nor do we drink port, though I do use it in cooking. This of course meant we merely gazed at Gaia during our short boat trip along the Duoro river and briefly on our train trip to Aveiro.

Having exhausted the charms of Porto so quickly, and being so close to the train station, meant that on two consecutive days we took potluck, catching the first train to wherever, which turned out to be respectively Guimaeres and Aveiro.

Our train trips showed us more of Portugal’s industrial landscape, countryside and seashore. Now, I do appreciate that a country’s best real-estate is rarely located adjacent to a busy railwayline but, honestly, you could count on the fingers of one hand the ones I did spot. Sadly, it was often a case that the bones were there but had long fallen into desrepair which was something of a shame. Much of the more recent constructions were devoid of any archtectural style. Most towns were built up around heavy industry and the surrounding countryside was largely unkempt though we did see some vineyards.

We had been pre-advised by EasyJet of the likelihood of industrial action by its Portuguese staff on our return. We took note and arrived early at the airport, by taxi as it was pouring, but early indications were that we’d be spared delays or cancellations. We settled into the lounge and tucked into a surprisingly generous breakfast, keeping an anxious eye on the departures board. But we needn’t have worried. We left and arrived on time. As always, it was good to be home.

34 Comments on “Postcard from Porto: Part I

  1. Indeed Portugal is very underrated in tourism not enough budget… but a beautiful country of which I am attach by having my oldest godfather from Faro. Many trips there too! Nice pictures glad you enjoyed it too Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your photos brought back our trip to Porto a few years ago. It’s even more enjoyable for those of us who sample the port :). Glad you had a good time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you had such a nice visit to Porto. My one visit there was in 1963 on a bicycle tour of Spain and Portugal.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My daughter and spent a very happy few days in Porto last May. I am amazed you covered it in a day, we only scratched the surface in three, walked everywhere and racked up some impressive steps in the process. A city I would definitely return to, and as you say, a door paradise.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful tour Sheree! I love those blue tiled buildings, especially the one in the middle, just fabulous! Thanks for sharing another wonderful trip!😃😺📷

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Thursday doors #202 – View from the Back

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: