The end of last week wasn’t one to be proud of. A vote to leave the EU came as such a shock, maybe even more to the Brexiters than to those of us who voted to remain. Working for a bank I’d been reading the research on what the analysts thought would happen if an out vote won and they were spot on. Now we just have to somehow pick up the pieces and move forward. And who knows where that forward step might be.
So in a sombre mood on Friday we headed out to Gatwick to catch our flight to Porto. It was so nice to get away and escape the craziness.
Accommodation appeared to be very cheap in Porto although I’d chosen to spend a little more on a lovely one bedroom apartment with a small terrace. I still thought 340 euros for 3 nights fairly conservative especially given the space. Well it didn’t disappoint, I can highly recommend, click here
for more info. Felipe met us at the door although must admit I’d missed this bit of information. Thankfully a lovely Italian couple were also waiting so that was perfect timing. The apartment (3B) was modern, clean, spacious and well equipped and after finding that the Euro2016 fanzone was right out front, it was surprisingly quiet (our apartment was at the back of the building)
After a quick change we headed to a vegan restaurant called Cultura Dos Sabores
. We had a delicious buffet and some Portuguese beer. Then on to an area well known for bars and nightlife. What we hadn’t realised is that the 23rd June, the day before, is the celebration of St John (João in Portuguese) and people had partied hard all night… so Friday was a little disappointing. However we found a place for a glass of port and then moved to another bar to sit outside and enjoy the people watching. We weren’t late as I think we were emotionally drained after a day we would never forget.
Saturday morning dawned beautifully sunny and beautifully warm. We had an awesome day visiting some sites, heading up a 200 step tower for great views over the city, a delicious espresso and then a wander over one of 6 bridges that led us to the other side and where we would find the port tasting. We also caught a short cable that gave great views towards the old town of Porto. Our first cellar was that of Churchill’s
, which ended up being our favourite. Only established in 1981 by one of the Graham sons – Grahams are a well known port producer. We at first sat out on the pop up terrace, then inside for a tasting, learnt loads and had a lovely conversation with Michaela when worked there, met the owners son who would soon be opening a Portuguese restaurant near London Bridge. We later hiked up to Graham’s – very commercial with stingy tasting portions and not great service but fabulous views. Last port stop was Ferreira for a proper tour which was great and a 3 taster tasting. We met a lovely couple, and the lady’s Mum being – the Mum spoke no English (her daughter did the translating) and insisted chatting away in Spanish to me although I had only a tiny idea of what she was saying. So final stop – to the top of Porto Cruz
to enjoy the amazing weather on the rooftop terrace and to drink too much beer and watch the sunset. Such a great day. Subway for dinner 🙂
Sunday morning dawned beautifully sunny and beautifully warm. Although my head didn’t feel so sunny… We started a little slowly with an espresso, fresh orange juice and sandwich for breakfast before meandering our way down to the waterfront finding some cools shops and a great market on the way. We spotted some sun umbrellas a little higher above the main drag on the waterfront and found some lovely little restaurants and one we stopped at for a nice salad and port/beer. After a stroll along the waterfront took us to the main bridge – the top is for the metro and people, the bottom for cars and people. We had wanted to go to Kopke
(the oldest Port Wine Company) first but the tasting room was closed for lunch so we had 40 mins to kill. So off we went to Quevado, we had a free voucher for 2 tastings that came with the price of the cable car. The port was only average. Then further up the hill we went to Taylor’s and enjoyed two tastings in a lovely garden. Very welcoming to escape the heat. It was then time to go back to Kopke. We splashed out and did the 28€/person tasting – 5 ports with chocolate. Oh my goodness it was AWESOME! I still like Churchill’s the best but this was a very close second. We had a lovely table, inside in the air con, overlooking the river. The fine white port was superb. So after a busy day, we deserved an easy walk over to the other side so caught the cable car up, I went to the apartment for a shower and Das had a quick beer at a cafe. We then went on the hunt for a place my guide book had recommended but it was full, so we ended up at a sweet little place with a table outside, called Terreiro
. We had a lovely time and both went off our normal diet to have some seafood – nice but it makes me realise I really don’t miss eating fish. Then back home to relax.
Monday morning dawned beautifully sunny and beautifully warm – are you getting the picture?! Today we were off home but as our flight wasn’t til 8.30pm we were able to leave our bags in the apartment and pick them up later. We went to Majestic Cafe
which started up in 1921 – very beautiful, silly prices but nice just for an espresso and piece of toast. We then headed towards a palace but I was feeling rubbish from a severe bout of hayfever and couldn’t be bothered looking around so we jumped on the little tram that goes out to Foz, on the coast. Very quaint and worth going. We went for a walk along the coast – the Atlantic brings some chilly breezes through so after about an hour we headed back to catch the tram once again. We wanted to go back to our vegan restaurant for lunch but it was closed so we’d found another place, also vegan so had an enjoyable meal there. We then just sat on the waterfront, sipping iced teas, whiling away the day until it was time to get our bags, catch the metro (only 1.85€ to the airport on a modern, cool train) and then the wait for our delayed flight home.
I can highly recommend Porto as a place to visit, it’s charming! If you want to see more pics, you can find them here