Back in 2010, after we completed our group tour of central Portugal, Gerry and I picked up our car again. We had parked it at the hotel in Sintra. We knew we would finish our tour there and could leave the car for free for a week. We had been driving in Spain before we started the tour. Now we would be driving north to Porto and then, following the Douro River, we would drive back to Madrid via a different route.
Again, writing 7 years later, there isn’t a lot I remember.
The memory of the fantastic food we had is bright even today and we are planning this year to return to a restaurant on the Cais da Ribera called Chez Lapin. It was recommended to us by our bus driver on the group tour. I seem to remember he was from Porto. The dinner we had was out of this world! Potatoes and octopus baked in a casserole, so tender it was like butter! Drenched in oil and garlic…what could be better! I am so glad it is still there and open. It was located right at the beginning of the Cais da Ribera restaurants that chain right along the quay. Another thing I won’t forget is that in Porto, food is served with port wine. Perhaps, that sounds like a strange pairing, but I was amazed at how well the port complemented the food we had.
Another memory is not such a good one. There was some sort of festival going on in the Praça da Ribeira. In addition to all kinds of sound people there were also scantily-clad young women. Guess who took his eyes off where he was going and walked full-on into a cement post? He did a number on his shin. Then, he refused to put ice on it (don’t ask me why) and what ensued was a highly unpleasant (for both of us, but for different reasons!) couple of hours. I ended up seeing Porto on my own while he went back top the hotel. Now, guess what the hotel did as soon as he got there. Yup, they insisted he put ice on it.
Looking through the pictures to post with this short text, I can remember some sensations…
How beautiful all the tiles were and they were everywhere.
How incredible the Dom Luis I Bridge is!
I walked across it. It’s made of iron and spans the river allowing traffic to access both the high and low parts (separately) of the two facing banks. It is a wonderful place from which to survey Porto. You can see the colorful and movida Praça da Ribera on the north side of the river and all the port lodges on the south side.
I remember I crossed the bridge in order to visit one of the port lodges. I know I walked around on that side (I have pictures) but I can’t remember if I did visit one or not!
I remember, after seeing the pictures, that the port boats are historic and picturesque!
We are returning to Porto for a couple of nights at the end of our river cruise. Cindy and Greg are staying, too. We are actually booked into a hotel that caught my eye back in 2010. It is right on the river and the Praça da Ribera…It looked like a perfect location back then. The Cais da Ribeira was definitely the place to be! I don’t remember what hotel we stayed in on the first trip, but I think it was near the Praça da Liberdade.
So, here are the pictures from that first time. I will have much more to tell you after the May 2017 trip.