Porto to Aveiro
January 4, 2017

We definitely seemed to have timed our movements perfectly with the weather this week. It was raining overnight and again this morning but even let up slightly when we had to load up the car as we left the hotel. We left at just after 10:30am and drove up the river toward the sea so that we could at least see what the beach area of Porto looked like (though it definitely wasn’t beach weather). At one point I wondered why all the cars were parked facing us and then realised we were heading up a one-way road (pretty wide road so not really any danger .. sorry Clegg & Moyles’ parents). I did a quick u-turn and blamed the two other people in the front seat (Oli & Michael) for not spotting the no-entry signs. What’s the point of the passenger seat if not pointing out road signs?!

The ladies wanted to spend the morning at the shopping mall and so we headed back to the mall we had located on the day we arrived in Porto but on route we passed another mall and decided to give it a try instead. It had all the requisite shops needed so it turned out to fulfill the needs of the ladies. The men toured the tech stores while we waited for the ladies to finish and then we met up in the food court (the most extensive one I have ever seen – even bigger than the American food courts) for lunch. We stuck with the tried and tested and ended up having Wok to Walk again with only Stephen having a burger from Burger King.

fdfbda2a-325a-48c5-ad15-de5adb1ccde4We then headed south to Aveiro which is our overnight stop back on route to Lisbon. It was less than an hours drive from Porto. It is billed as the ‘Venice of Portugal’. As we discovered this evening when walking around the town that is a bit of an oversell. It basically has two canals which run at right angles to each other and the ‘gondola looking’ boats are actually motor powered. It is pretty but after walking around for about 45 minutes we had covered the whole town and so we headed back to the hotel again. It is the best hotel we have stayed at so far on the trip.  We are staying at Hotel Aveiro Palace (http://www.hotelaveiropalace.com/hotel-overview.html).  It is actually also the cheapest hotel we have stayed at so far. The rooms are the biggest we have had and the quality of everything is very nice.

0c45bb14-c25f-4ce5-aa2b-97841cc4864aThe highlight of today was definitely the dinner. Oli researched the restaurants and suggested this place as it had a vegetarian option for Lara. It was called ‘O Barrio’ (meaning from the neighborhood). When we got there we were the only people in the place but by the time we left it was basically full (some reserved tables still unoccupied but they were turning people away). The waiter was excellent. He made a real effort to talk to us and explain things and he made an effort to ensure that Lara got a dish she would eat too. He explained the wine choices and encouraged me to pick a less expensive wine from the area (rather than the one which was more expensive that I had planned to pick – the one we got was only €13 a bottle). They gave a free glass of Portuguese sparking wine (with their compliments) and also crisps with a paprika dip (which Helen and Stephen both loved as evidenced by ho much they are of it). The menu was only in Portuguese but they translated the whole menu for us.

8cbfac70-ee2f-4f27-8b81-d7c8e12c5a36The main courses were also excellent. Lara had a vegetarian risotto; Michael & Stephen had Barrio steak (done their special way with a poached egg and mushroom sauce); Chloe & Helen had duck risotto and Oli and I had the local fish of the day with a vegetable parcel (the restaurant is right near the fish market in the town so I have no doubt it was purchased fresh there – pic of my plate). The chef is only 22 years old but he is right up there with top chefs in my view. The food was of a very high standard and definitely the best we have had in Portugal (probably from any visit). It ws definitely the best meal Lara has had so far and she went on to say it was probably one of the best Vegan meals she has had ever from a restaurant. Add to that the service we received from the waiter (he was exceptionally good and I am not exaggerating at all), the whole experience was the highlight of the day.

Until tomorrow

P, O (because of finding the restaurant), S, L (because the two of them have mocked me the least and Lara not at all actually), M, H, C (because she ‘kindly’ pointed out all the no-entry signs the rest of the day)

{I apologize if you receive this twice as the first edition seems to have lost a whole portion so I re-sent it)

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