What to do and see while in Porto, Portugal
After Santiago de Compostela we decided to leave Spain and move on to Portugal. Since Blablacar has been working so good for us in spain, we wanted to give it another try and see if in fact you could us this service also to move between countries in Europe. Sure enough there was actually someone going to Porto, Portugal from a smaller town close to santiago. We were very excited about Porto and Portugal! We reserved our two spots in the ladies car and got bus tickets to Vigo, which is were she was leaving from. It’s really a relief when things work out without too much trouble, or so we thought. Next morning I received a message from her, canceling the trip because she had car trouble.
Who would have thought that Porto is such a hilly city?? I was really surprised how hilly it is.. it kind of reminded me of San Francisco, California, except Porto is decorated with stunning churches and cathedrals build in goth, baroque and romanesque styles. Architecture is breathtaking. You can see all these styles in one building. You ask why…?? Well, it’s because it took decades to finish building them.
A must-see in Porto is the “Harry Potter” library which is called Lello e Irmao. To avoid long waiting lines, I’d recommend going there either right before they open or around the time they close and you can walk right in. Entrance fee is 3 euros, but if you buy a book, the entrance fee goes towards your purchase. The author of Harry Potter used to live in Porto for a while and got a lot of her inspirations for the book from this City, like the capes the graduating students wear or the beautiful stairway inside the library.
Across the river from Porto you will have the wineries that produces the infamous Porto-wine. The process is quite impressive. This wine is particularly sweet although is has a higher percentage of alcohol than regular wines.I am not a big wine drinker, therefore I can not attest to its popularity but I’d say at least try it since it also is super cheap.
We had to take public transportation after all to go to Porto. Yet again, we used Airbnb and stayed with a very lovely young couple, Ricardo and Sophia. They were more than accommodating and offered to pick us up at the bus station. Initially we booked only one night with them but then ended up staying three nights, although their home was a little outside of porto, in a suburb called Gondomar. Local bus transportations were accessible, but we decided to walk anyways. Their house is located literally by the river. Well, first you have to walk 194 steps down to get to the river… talking about a morning excercise,huh!?! Then we walked along the river for about an hour to the city Porto…but we walked slow and took our time. We tend to just walk around the cities or towns we’re in, instead of taking local transportation because it lets us enjoy the new surrounds at our own pace and plus its so much fun to just wonder around without knowing where exactly you are.
Wine and Dine (top3)
1) Casa Guedes: Billy had their specialty “Sando de Peril com Queso de Serra” which is their infamous sandwich. If you decide to give this a try, order this one. Locals line up for it. Since it’s Pork meat with soft sheeps cheese, I had something else with beef. I can’t remember what the Portuguese name was for it because it was the daily special but I was told that its cows tail with rice, french fries and salad. I gave it a try, I ate it. Would I order it again?… probably not. Not because it wasn’t good but because it was too fatty for me. That was definitely a first… LOL.
2) Travelers cafe: I know its cliche, but it was really good and affordable. They offer small snacks, like sandwiches, smoothies, coffee, tea and traditional Portuguese deserts, like Natas.
3) Cafe Santiago: Now this is where you go to have the original “Francesinha” the little french girl, which Porto is so famous for. I am going to attempt to explain what it is… so its a sandwich thats layered with different types of meat and bread and cheese, covered in melted cheese and topped with an egg. This mouthwatering goodness swims in a tomato sauce made out of beer and wine and is served with french fries. Hungry yet??