Today is the day we “do Porto” so up earlyish. Opened the shutters - grey and foggy! Quite cool, and clothes on the balcony much the same as when they were put there last night. Oh well, hopefully it will be warm later.
We headed down towards the Sao Bento station as we had been told it was worth a look. The outside is OK, but it’s the main hall inside that impresses with huge tiled pictures on all the walls. As good as the walls we had seen in Palaces. We hung about inside and outside looking for photo ops, all the while keeping a close watch on our bags and wallets, just in case. There are more easy pickings than us we hope! Next we spent some time walking up Praça Gen. Humberto Delgado. On the way up, looking at beautiful buildings in every direction and statues such as Estátua Equestre de Dom Pedro IV ( King on a horse), and Monumento a Garrett (a writer - not Pat!). We stopped off for a coffee near the spectacular Town hall. C was insistent that J get some Orange syrup cake to share!
We walked behind the town hall and had a look at the Igreja da Santíssima Trindade - we had a look inside and it was impressive, but with some quite plain parts like the ceiling.
Walking back down the Placa, we turned right and headed up the hill. We saw the queues outside the famous ‘Harry Potter’ bookshop. Further up we sauntered around looking at churches, buildings (University ) and parks. J was surprised to hear a loud Pigeon call. When he looked around he saw a group of people and one was making Pigeon noises - J wondered if it was Pigeon English or Portuguese!
We did some ‘window shopping’ and then started walking down in the direction of the river. Hunger pangs forced J to seek a cafe for lunch - carefully trying to avoid anything advertising ‘snacks’. We went into the Mercator cafe and had shandies, eggs Benedict, and Popeye eggs!
Then past the Palácio da Bolsa with a statue Monumento ao Infante Dom Henrique.further down cobbled streets to the waterfront. Hundreds of cafes along the river, dozens of tourist stalls, thousands of tourists. Many boats, mostly of the traditional style - Rabelos. The buildings all along the riverfront are multi-storied and multicoloured. Washing flapped in the breeze. J found the only remaining gate structure that connected the town to the waterfront.
A walk across the bridge, and down the left bank past the Port warehouses and hundreds of cafes. If this is not peak tourism, J and C wondered what it would be like in July/August. There were tour buses parked everywhere. After coffee and a custard tart, we returned upstream in a cable way gondola. Views were great and think of the stairs it saved! Then a walk across the top of the steel bridge, and back up to the apartment.
J went back out for some shopping and to get some cash. About 7:30 we went out for tea. A bit of a look around nearby, again trying to avoid any snacks! One of the places J and C looked closely at had Chicken gizzards and pork guts on the menu. They kept walking!
The Rebeira restaurant was chosen as they had traditional baked cod, potatoes and spinach. Bones to be careful of, but not too bad. The downside came later when credit cards weren’t accepted. Really?? How bizarre. So J had to go back to a bank and get more cash.
While in the restaurant it started raining. Only light but annoying, and the cobblestones were slippery. Hopefully it will be gone before our Douro tour tomorrow. We get picked up at 8:10.......