18.08.2012 22 °C
Ah, Porto! City of bridges(many), also hilly streets(ditto), amazing river and buildings. After a day of resetting David's built in GPS, and revisiting some favorites, we took a bus to the far end of the city. Matosinhos is the industrial port end, where fishing boats also land. Fabulous grilled fish prepared outside so the smoke billows down the road. Choose from a range of fish on ice, simple, excellent.
We are in a basic cheap hotel, with a church opposite our window city walls of blue azulejo tiles telling the saint's life. The main market , Mercado Bolhao, is round the corner, so we stock up there for breakfast and some evening meals. Great breads. the metro stop is next door. Very convenient.
It actually rained alone day! We were indignant! However, a visit to the impressive Serralves Museum and art gallery was dry, tho the fabulous gardens weren't an option. Entertained by a display of work from a Bulgarian artist, much larger than life, very clever- Nedko Solakov. Not someone we would ever have seen in Australia. And seen some lovely old eclesiastical
buildings and wonderfully skilled furniture.
And then there was the Douro River. What a day! Up early to catch the train all the way to Pinhao, past terraced hills, along the river for quite a lot of the trip. Then onto a boat and back downstream. We even went through a lock! Which dropped 28 metres. Gorgeous green hills, worked and planted with vines right up to the skyline. Glimpses of houses perched on the slopes. This is the Douro wine region and many Quintas were labelled along the river in big letters. At Regua, sadly a big extra crowd joined the boat but we had a lovely morning before that. The crowd was entertaining in its own way, big numbers of Portugese families out to have a great time. Drinking songs were an important part of lunch, led by Portugese women of a certain age, a force of nature obviously. Lots of good humour. We arrived back at the Gaia side of the river, took the cable car up to the bridge and wandered across, stoping for stunning views, and back to our hotel. Had interesting chats over the day with a young couple from Belgium and another town from New York.
And we are waiting to find out what happened to the Art Nouveaux cafe Brasileira, a landmark of style, which had smoke puffing out and a big contingent of firefighters. David thinks they burnt the toast.