Monday, October 15, 2018

Porto, Portugal, October 15, 2018

It was raining all the way to Porto but I managed just fine.  I also found the hostel parking quickly and only have to pay $4.50/day!  That's impressive.  I couldn't check into the hostel until 3 pm so I went exploring Porto in the drizzle.  Grey, cloudy skies do not make for nice pictures but maybe tomorrow will be sunny!

The Torre des Clerigos was completed in 1763 and can be seen from all over Porto-

It's part of the Clerigos Church which is in baroque style and was completed in 1750.  The main altar is decorated with baroque motifs-

  Next to the church and through a park which has distorted olive trees-

is the Livraria Lello, the most beautiful book store in the world-

A winding staircase takes you to the second floor-

They have two rare editions of Le Petit Prince, in English and in French, signed by Antoine de Saint Exupery in 1943.  There were only 260 French copies and 525 English copies printed-

  J.K. Rowling says this bookstore was a huge inspiration for her in writing Harry Potter- 

From here, I went for lunch and had a Francesinha which is a huge sandwich with beef, sausage, ham, chorizo and cheese sitting in a sauce, sort of like tomato soup.  It was okay but I won't have another one-

There is so much to see!  There's a tram used for public transportation, not just for tourists-

The Palacio da Bolsa, aka as the Stock Exchange Palace cost 9 Euro, or $13.50 to enter so I passed.  I've seen enough palaces for now.  It was built in the 19th century and is in Neo Classical style-

Next to the Palacio is the Infante D. Henrique Square where there's a great monument-

Closer to the Douro is the Ribeira (Riverside) District-

The Cubo da Ribeira is a modern cubic sculpture by Jose Rodrigues-

The Ponte Luis I crosses the Douro and is more than 300 meters long.  Pedestrians can walk on the lower or upper bridge-

Looking at the Ribeira from the bridge-

On the other side of the Douro is Vila Nova de Gaia-

 where port is made and sold.  Popular port houses include Sandeman-

And Cruz-

I tried 3 kinds and liked them all: Ferreria, Galem and Taylor-

Port is for sale everywhere-

While enjoying my port, I visited with a German man who has been travelling for 456 days.  He walked from Nuremberg to Santiago, then walked another Camino to Cadiz, Spain.  From there, he hopped on a sailboat and went to the Canary Islands where he met another sailor and went with him to Guadeloupe.  Moving north, he left the boat in Savannah and walked the Appalachian Trail.  He returned to Portugal and walked all 3 Caminos from Porto.  He walks about 40 km / day and is on his second pair of boots but he also has a couple pairs of sandals.  He carries a 20kg pack too!  

After finishing my port, I crossed back to the Ribeira district and on my way home came upon the Sao Bento Train Station which has awesome tile work depicting the history of transport, ethnographical aspects and famous events in Portuguese history.  It was built at the beginning of the XXth century-

Next to the train station is the Igreja de Santo Antonio des Congregados which has excellent  tile work-

The inside is typical-

I had a pretty full afternoon, and rather than take the metro or bus back to the hostel, I walked.  Because of traffic, I walked beside the bus I would have been on and beat if home!  Tonight I've been visiting with 3 medical interns from Bogota, Columbia who have spent the last year in Barcelona and an instrumental engineer from Germany.  It's been a good night!  Looking forward to a sunny day tomorrow!  

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