Portugal: Porto

Rain rain go away! This was our chant for Porto. We were blessed with calm sky’s when our plane arrived from Greece and managed to get our luggage dryly to our accommodation. From then on it rained. It was also cold, a bit shock after the 35 degrees of Greece. We did our best to explore Porto in the chilly downpours but ended up abandoning on our first day as I was freezing. On the plus side, Daniel was thrilled with the cooler climate.

Accommodation

Well I’d booked us another doosy. It was damp, smelly and the kitchen was filthy. Not pleased. The location was pretty good though and we were able to walk to the centre and most major transport hubs which made our time a little easier. Because of the weather, somewhere nice to hang out would have been a real bonus.

The only good thing about our Airbnb was that the host was happy for us to arrive at midnight and leave our belongings with her while we walked our camino.

Highlights of Porto

Despite my complaints about the weather and our accommodation, Porto was beautiful, even in the rain. In fact I think the rain added to the scenery. Porto is full of beautiful old building a brilliantly coloured apartments that seem to wobble over narrow cobbled streets.

Walking the streets

This is the first thing we do in any new city. Walking and see what hidden treasures we find. After being on the road for 2 months, you think we’d be bored of looking at old buildings. Nope, we are still loving seeing what the streets have to offer. The houses in central Porto are all beautiful. Many are tiled and many are painted beautiful colours which make them pop on a rainy day.

Visit the churches and the Cathedral

If it’s pouring with rain, it’s probably best to be inside. This can easily be achieved by visiting some of Porto’s many churches. I adored the outside of many of the churches. They were covered in blue and white tiling and towered over the streets below. However; I was not such a fan of the insides. Mostly baroque, they were a strange mixture of bare stone and extravagant gilt statues that didn’t quite go together.

We particularly enjoyed visiting the cathedral as it marked the beginning of our Camino. It was here that we got our pilgrim’s passport, with its first stamp so the cathedral felt pretty special. It also made for another break from the rain! It is a massive building with a high stone roof and a golden alter. You can visit the main bit for free but need to pay to see the cloisters.

Dom Luis I bridge and Durro river

When you visit Porto, you gotta take a look at the Dom Luis I bridge. It is double-decker and when it was built, was the longest bridge in the world. We visited on a morning, before the rain started. It is quite the view, especially because of the monastery on the hillside behind the bridge. It was also lovely to walk along the river watching the light on the water and school children on boats going for a cruise.

The Photographic Museum

What to do when you need to escape the rain? Find a museum. The photographic museum houses photography equipment through the ages. It made a perfect rain break, well for Daniel at least. It was great to see him hooning around like a kid in a candy store. I essentially had a free guided tour as he talked at length about the many different cameras, though my eyes started to glaze a bit when he got to focal lengths. I loved seeing the miniature cameras, but it’s a wonder that anyone could use them.

The shopping

Well window shopping in our case as we already have way to much luggage. Porto has a couple of large malls with many beautiful shops. We spent a bit of time, wandering around (and drying off) imaging ourselves in the fancy clothes. I had to be forcibly extracted from a lunch wear shop with many beautiful solutions to all of your container needs.

Vinho Verde

In Porto we discovered the fabulous Portuguese invention of Vinho Verde. The translation is ‘green wine’ and it basically means young wine that has not been fermented as long. It’s basically a low sugar prosecco. It has a lower alcohol content, is slightly fizzy but is not sweet. I’m half we have more time in Portugal to keep sampling it!

There you have it, my quick summary of Porto. We really enjoyed our time here but it was a little hampered by the weather. My biggest tip is not to wear jeans if you plan. To wander the city for the day! Leggings or hiking pants would have been a way better choice. We loved the buildings and particularly enjoyed exploring the streets. The best view we had on our journey was from the train leaving Porto, the whole bright city was stunning against a stormy sky. I wished that we had been able to stop and snatch a photo of that view.

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Next up, Espana!

Chloe and Daniel xx

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