Porto - where it all happens, all at once, just the way I like it
Oct 5, 2018
|The highlight of my day today was chatting to Maddie on What’s App. I miss her soooo much and she was so sweet this morning. She did mention the fire twice but seemed more content to show me her new Barbie doll car and barbie dolls, and was very busy building a castle with LEGO whilst talking to me. She tells me she will sleep in her new bed (no more cot) in her new house and wear big girl undies in her new house, no more nappies.
See you soon Maddie.
Bon Voyage Cameron, you are now on your way to Kathmandu for your extreme hiking adventure, I hope it all goes well and you have a safe trip. We shall rendezvous in New Zealand next, after a brief regrouping in Laurieton in about a months time.
I had a great day today though I think Laurieton is making me soft, after a twelve hour day and 19 kms of meandering around Porto, I had to call it a day by 8.30 pm, totally whacked. Ellen, you and I did better than that when we hung out together in Europe a few years ago.
I did the 3 hour free walking tour this morning which was really informative and helped me to establish my bearings in this fine city of Porto. I visited the obligatory churches, cathedrals, monuments etc but was really drawn to the old Jewish area, laneways and alleyways, old buildings with many indications to confirm that it was actually inhabited by the Jewish people before the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition. An interesting revelation was that both Spain and Portugal today automatically give immediate citizenship to anybody who can prove they are related to the Jewish people who were forced to flee these countries during the Inquisition. Of course many of the Jewish people converted in an effort to save themselves and avoid being turfed out of their homelands.
I love all the tiled buildings, floors, railway station, walls etc, it adds so much colour and you will often see a row of houses, each one tiled with a different colour tile, so attractive.
I found myself at one stage in some catacombs in amongst a whole array of dead bodies, skulls and bones underneath a church, which was somewhat of a surprise.
It’s so obvious looking around the city that they have been through tough economic times though Porto is now on the up and enjoying popularity with the financial benefits flowing from new circumstances. There is so much construction going on around the city, in between are the lovely old houses, lots of old dilapidated buildings and a few modern ones going up in between.
Interestingly, the local people throw their garbage and cigarette butts everywhere, even though bins are provided, the sign of a good meal is apparently to throw your serviette on the floor, though the restaurants and bathrooms are really clean.
Security in Spain and Portugal is not as big as it was in Paris, the bins were hanging plastic see through bags in Paris (imagine what a fun time Sydney bin chickens would have with them) and many concrete bollards protecting pedestrian walkways, not so here.
After my single and obligatory ohh so yummy Portuguese tart for morning tea, I explored the area where we had done our walk and after a lunch of the Porto Speciality, a Francesinha ie. a sandwich served on a plate, consisting of ham, sausages and a steak between two slices of bread, then covered in molten cheese, and a generous amount of a thick spicy sauce. It’s actually a lot tastier than it sounds, Evan you would’ve loved it, just your thing.
After that calorie bomb, I decided I needed to explore Porto’s famous Port industry, as I needed something to dilute the effects of the Francesinha.
I found the history of how Porto became famous for its Port quite interesting and the Port tastings even more interesting, especially paired with the local chocolate. In fact Cameron, I think you should throw out some of those cheap white quaffing wines in the cellar to make space for some lovely cold white Porto Port, my new best favourite little tipple.
By this stage it was time for dinner (walking 19 odd kilometres a day makes you hungry, plus by then I needed something to dilute the Port, a vicious circle really) and chose the grilled sardines I remember so well from my first time in Portugal, they didn’t disappoint, a tasty light meal.
Mum you would love the speciality Tinned Sardine Shops, they only sell sardines, many different types in many exotic looking tins in all sizes and shapes, wish I could bring some home for you. In Portugal the people eat sardines for breakfast, lunch and dinner, most likely morning and afternoon tea too, you would fit in well here.
Porto is extremely hilly and once I’d finally managed to drag myself away from all the fun and local street entertainment (it’s a public holiday in Portugal today so the local people were also out having fun and providing more atmosphere the the city) I finally hiked up the hill to my hotel and do believe it is time to call it a day.