Well almost everyone else has been there, so it was time to visit Portugal’s second city. And what a fantastic city it is! Calling it second is underselling the place. Let’s call it Portugal’s northern capital.
There are so many interesting streets to wander and I was having such a good time, I suffered a bit of photographer’s block. We were there for only a couple of unusually scorching days (for up north), so just a little taste of Port-o this time. Definitely a place to return to and explore in greater depth. Sarah has some very interesting old family history in Porto which she might tell you about one day if she’s in the mood. And you’re nice.
There’s a little bit of China in many parts of Portugal and the centre of Porto is no exception. Yet again I’m left pondering who influenced who, especially when you look back at the city from the southern bank of the Douro (first photo). A bit crumbly in places and remarkably with the influx of tourists in the last 20 years, still has “real life” going on. Tucked down the dark and cool alleys you’ll find little cheap and basic looking cafés with fluorescent lighting, tiny grocery stores, ironmongers and other useful shops for everyday living. Along the narrow promenade you might be jostling for a position for the perfect photo like any large tourist destination, but you will also see doors occasionally left open with bikes in the hall and fishing nets being repaired on the wall outside.
The Majestic Café. Famous, heaving full of people and elegant without a hint of snobbery in the air. Ladies taking tea and short wearing riff-raff like us rub shoulders happily here. It was 30 something degrees, the extravagant Art Nouveau doors were wide open front and back and the very old-school formal looking waiters swooshed left and right effortlessly through the tiny gaps between tables. Coffee and a little bit of forehead sweat followed by a cooling plate of three sorbets. I wish this was our local!
Porto, we will see you again.