We had expected it (thanks to our weather apps) but this morning we woke to it having rained lightly overnight and being totally overcast. The good thing was it stayed overcast but fortunately never rained (while we were out) so we could spend the day walking around Porto without getting wet. I definitely haven’t walked so much in a long time and my feet are really very sore this evening. The biggest issue is that to get anywhere you seem to end up walking up hill all the time. This morning was no exception as we headed out to Lello bookshop (the oldest bookshop in Portugal and the most beautiful one I have visited). Michael’s route to the store took us up the steepest incline that could possibly be found. We were all out of breath when we got to the top (even the runners).
It was also the first time in my life I had to buy a ticket to a bookstore (€5.50) but I can fully understand why they do it as the place was packed. It was a beautiful bookstore and the photo’s don’t really do it justice. With your ticket purchase you do get a €5 voucher off any book purchased which basically means you only pay 50c if you actually do buy a book (which 4 people out of the 7 of us did). By this point we were ready for a coffee break. Only in Portugal would you be able to get a beer at Costa Coffee though. We were right next to Clerigos Tower and some people were thinking about climbing it but as it is attached to a Church (Catholic of course) there was a fee involved and so we ruled that one out (one thing paying to get into a bookshop, another whole thing paying to walk up a tower).
We walked across the top of the Ponte de Dom Luis I bridge. The top-level is for pedestrians and the metro only. No fence between where the people walk and the tracks. It would never to be allowed in the UK as it must violate every health and safety law. I wonder how many people are killed every year by the metro on that bridge?! The views are really good from the top of the bridge across both Porto and Gaia (the other side of the river where the Port Lodges are found). We took the Gondola’s from the top of the bridge down into Gaia. Lara was a touched freaked out (she is scared of heights) but managed to still enjoy the view and the good news (Bryan and Sharon will be pleased to hear), she is still alive when I last saw her a few minutes ago.
We then walked up the hill to Graham’s which is arguably the best port wine producer in the world. We did a port tasting and then afterwards a bought a bottle of crusted port (it was exceptionally good) which I am hoping Helen will take back to SA in her luggage. We walked back down the hill and had lunch at a riverside restaurant and then headed back across the bridge (lower level this time), over the river and back to the hotel. On the river bank you still find the old port boats (called rabelo boats) that are used to transport the port barrels from the estates (up the river) to the port lodges (cellars). These days they are no longer used but still line the river in front of the port lodges (they are used once a year only).
By the time we got back to the hotel it was 3pm and we relaxed for the balance of the afternoon. We had dinner at a nearby restaurant (Tapas place though only Stephen and I had tapas in the end). I am sure everyone will sleep well again tonight after all the walking.
P, S (because he had tapas with me), L (because she definitely doesn’t mock me as much as the rest of the them or for that matter she doesn’t mock me at all), M, O, C, H (close call but the last two as they both enjoyed mocking me today but Helen wins out today)