A Travellerspoint blog

Day 16, Porto

sunny 21 °C

5688334436_c2a124c37c.jpg
Our first impressions of Porto
We awoke bright and early this morning at the apparently very popular time of 6:30am. My alarm went off and all 8 of us in our bunks jolted up. Shane and I got right up as well us two other bunk mates, who appearently were using our start time for their own. We snuck quietly (we hope!) out of the room. We checked out and walked to the metro, from the metro we walked to the train station, we waited for half an hour for the train to the airport and stood with our packs (they were getting heavy at this point) during the 20 minute ride to the airport. We walked around looking for the ryanair check in desk, got told to get our passports checked, came back to the counter and finally dropped our packs. We were concerned about the weigh of our packs so we had shuffled everything heavier into the daypacks, like books, the laptop and converters. Our weights came in at 11 and 15kgs. So we done good.
5688378042_95b841342a.jpg
5688614126_cc726447e3.jpg
We went through security with only a minor hiccup and then (FINALLY got some breakfast. I had a really good container of greek yogurt and we shared a chocolate doughnut we had seen all around the city. The doughnut hadn't looked that good to me, but I was intrigued as to why it was so prevalent. So we tried it and it was actually very good. Not your typical doughtnut texture, but nice and loaded with chocolate. Bonus!
5687838419_87302b6010.jpg
5688426880_7e7b9a1187.jpg
This was our first expierence with budget airlines and we figured out why they are so cheap. NO SPACE. The plane is packed with as many seats as possible, I couldn't even cross my legs! They also try to sell you stuff all flight long, lottery tickets, smokeless cigarettes, high end cosmetics and perfume and overpriced food and drink (only one of which we fell prey to.) That said, it was a very good flight and well worth the $100CAD it cost us.
5688434580_e0d9325e78.jpg
5687870973_98c7010927.jpg
The view from our room
5688463826_55220d5ecb.jpg
We arrived in Porto at 10:40 local time (we went back one time zone) we grabbed our bags and found the metro station. It should be said that for a city of only 220,000 people, the transit system and airport are superb! By any cities standards they are both extremely efficant and beautiful. On the metro we met two girls from Vancouver who had flown from Barcelona also. We split ways at our final stop. We buzzed our way up to our pension. We walked the four flights of stairs to our room, which wasn't ready, we had known we were to early. We got the keys and a map from our host Pedro, who said that the cheapest cafes were on the street behind the apartment.
5688468644_394544cb55.jpg
5687919547_3ce1a299f9.jpg
We took his advice and, scared as we were (we understand NO Portugese) we sat down in an unsuspecting restaurant. The owner and server were very cool, first two glasses or Port were placed on our table "an apertif" he said with a smile. We were nervous, having read that in Portugal they bring the food to your table and if you touch it you pay. We accepted anyway, knowing the cost couldn't be that much. The server wrote out a translation on a piece of paper and brought it to our table. I selected a sausage dish, Shane got the roast chicken. The owner came back saying they had no sausage, so I ordered the chicken too. The locals started pouring in, each one obviously a friend, with a handshake, a laugh and a slap on the back. None of them got a glass of port, we were feeling pretty silly. They started ordering and quickly thereafter a yellow potato-y looking dish was placed on the table. We were intriged. I flagged the owner, "What is it called?" I asked pointing to the dish. "Bacalhau," he responded "You want some?" "So it's like potatoes and rice?" I inquired. "Pototaes, yes, fish" he replied. "Ohhh!" we said, we knew the fish, dried salt cod, delicious! "Yes, one please" we answered.
5687768739_612b26404f.jpg
5688342140_3b25c9a4b6.jpg
A few minutes later out came the chicken and the bachaluas. BEST CHICKEN OF OUR LIVES! There is no joke there, it was amazing. The half roasted chicken was rubbed in spices and served with freshly fried potaote chips (still warm) and a most amazing sauce, which tasted like mushroom, roasted chilis and CHICKEN. We couldn't help ourselves, we devoured it. If I didn't love Shane so much I would have stolen his piece of chicken out of his hands! We could have sworn we were going to get ripped off as tourists here. Shane asked how much I thought the bill would be. "Will be or should be?" I asked. I guessed 15 at the value and 25 at the bill. We waved over the owner and asked for the bill. He took out a pen and scribbled the totals down quickly on the paper table cloth. $5.5 for the bachalaus, $5 for the chicken $.80 for the water. 11.30 euros total. We couldn't beileve it ourselves. We hadn't been ripped off, we had been welcomed. We learned a lesson today, and we left 15 euros, what we thought the meal was worth.
5687930005_84aef798ac.jpg
We wandered the streets after lunch, our room wouldn't be ready. At 2pm we went back up the four flights of stairs, the room wasn't done. We sat in a cafe across the street for 30 minutes. Espresso at .60 euros! So cheap! The same espresso cost us 2.60 euros in Paris! Finally we got our room. We freshened up, sorted ourselves out and left. We wandered into the old town and stumbled into Avenida Dos Aliados a pretty sqaure with statues and fountians and old buildings. We wandered a little farther before we saw a beautiful sight, the Sé. Thats it's name, and all it needs oddly enough. It's a stunning church started in the early 1100's. Its undergone a few changes in it's day, but now includes a small museum, a treasury and other worship rooms coming off the central courtyard. It was well worth the 3 euros, there was hardly anyone there.
5688491010_e7538e7995.jpg
5687948995_8832d6d918.jpg
Finished with the the cathedral we walked down beautiful streets to the Douro river waterfront, chalked full of restaurants and cafes. We bought ourselves some icecream bars and swung our feet over the edge of the boardwalk. It was a very nice way to relax before we started uphill. Our walk brought us to a supermarket, we decided to get some food for both tonight (we are always hungary) and for breakfast. A bag of chips, a bottle of wine, a can of juice, 4 containers of yogurt and disposible cups...5 euros
5688534532_473f4b9e1e.jpg
5687973009_e13b8e980d.jpg
5688545052_b7b85dda40.jpg
Still looking for dinner we walked back to our room (away from the marked up prices.) Just down the street we found what we were looking for, a cafe. We ordered two ginger-ales and two savory-pastry-sandwich things. The service was AWESOME. We settled down to watch the begning of a football game. A few locals showed up, and we ordered some epsresso (to keep me awake blogging right now!) The total price, 6 euros. I don't mean to keep telling the price of everything here, but we are so impressed with how far our 75 euros got us today we can't help it!
5687978603_d71191e200.jpg
5688573076_b0cbfc21d5.jpg
5688015095_5bb0983675.jpg
5688591692_1a4aba35d9.jpg
5688031883_c47cd77e5d.jpg
Now we are drinking our vindo verde (a sparkeling rather sour lemon-y tasting wine) having showered (finally!) and are ready for our night's sleep. We are in love with Porto.
5688620722_396f55c11f.jpg
5688061959_b9b3b2e544.jpg
5688617524_015eebf999.jpg

Posted by s-a 14:36 Archived in Portugal Tagged porto

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

Fantastic photos. Your comments reminded me of some of the out-of-the-way places I visited and I remembered that, yes, one goes to the major cities to see the can't-miss sites, but in every other respect it's the smaller, nearly-forgotten places that really win you over! Where a tourist isn't just a milk-cow, and restaurants compete for local custom.

by Braden

Everything is so cheap there...in euroes of course! but still. and those pics!! wow...i am just in love with it guys!!!

by Willena

Shane its good to see you chilling! hey these old chuches have big fancy pipeorgans too? i know up northern europe they do so i was wondering if they did down south as well.

by dad

Braden-The big cities are nice for sure, but the smaller cities really pull at our hearts. They are authentic and beautiful. Our favourite places in every country have been the smaller ones.
Willena-I'm so stoked you love it Willena! I hope it motivates you go see it all one day, it really is worth the time and money it takes to get here!
Dad-Yes for sure they have the pipeorgans! We have yet to enter a church without without one.

by s-a

Oh Porto looks amazing!! I would love to go there, the places that aren't controlled by tourists. How is your room here?

by Tashabobasha

i definetely am going...i have it all planned out already!! lol!

by Willena

I love knowing how much everything costs!!! I am so captivated by your blog!! Defenitly keeps me hooked!

by maggie

North cyprus travel guide help to travel in sandy land and inform you about beaches and entertainment facilities.
http://www.northcyprustrip.com/

by jhonandi

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint