Archive for October, 2019

Portugal Diary, day 11

Sunday, 6 October, 2019

Tuesday, 21 May, 2019. 16:41

Porto is built on hilly terrain. Steep hilly terrain. It’s like a thousand years ago when some people decided to build a town they thought about it a bit and concluded that flat land was for wimps. But the good thing about Porto is they use flat granite cobbles or actual concrete(!) for footpaths, instead of slippery rounded limestone cobbles.

We’ve been walking down and up the hill all day and are taking a rest break in an ice cream shop called Boutique do Gelado. M. has had a scoop of Ferrero Rocher, while I had one each of pistachio and strawberry cheesecake. The day is warm again, with various signs around the city on the pharmacies showing temperatures of 25°, despite the forecast for the day being a mere 18°. There’s definitely something odd about the weather forecasts here. For the last several days the forecast wherever we’ve been has been hovering around 18°, but there’s no way that any of the days we’ve been out has been that cold.

We slept in this morning, or rather M. did. I got up around 07:00 to do some stretches while she snoozed. We weren’t ready to go out for breakfast until almost 09:00. I searched online for some breakfast places nearby and found a couple that sounded okay, next to each other just a block or so away. When we arrived there, the first one wasn’t even open yet! It advertised breakfast on the door, but didn’t even open until 09:30. So we went next door to Bread & Breakfast, a bakery that opened at 06:00.

Despite the English name, the guy behind the cash register didn’t speak much and had no idea what I meant by “tap water”, so we ate without any water. M. got a croissant de ovo, with a sweet egg yolk filling, and a cappuccino, while I ordered a cheese omelette, which came with a bit of lettuce and tomato drizzled with olive oil. The cheese in it was like mozzarella. It was fine but nothing special.

After returning to our room briefly for toilets and putting on some sunscreen, we ventured forth for the day. We planned to just walk around and discover things and see whatever we happened to see. But we started off in the general direction of the Douro River, heading downhill.

Down to the Douro
Heading downhill towards the river

We thought we could perhaps cross the river on the bridge and check out the other bank. But as we headed down the hill we found that the roadway and pedestrian path across the tall arched Dom Luís I Bridge were above us! But fortunately we saw that there was a second crossing on the bridge directly below the first, much closer to the water level, although it wasn’t clear if pedestrians could cross it until after a while we saw some people doing so.

Read more: crossing the Douro River, markets, a port tasting for morning tea(!), wandering the steep hillside alleys, churches, pizza