I "Heart" Porto
Trip Start Jun 06, 2014
15Trip End Jun 21, 2014
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We returned last night but the ship still is our "hotel" for one more night. Today we had a city tour with a local guide. We visited the "goldilocks " main train station which is not too large and not too small. It is decorated with ceramic tile murals depicting life in the Douro region. Next door is the most elegant Mc Donald's restaurant on the planet. It was originally a 19th century cafe and it maintained its original stained glass panels and feeling. I wish they were all that way. By the way, the menu items were virtually the same, but they did have soup, some local pastry items and sandwiches made with local bread rather than buns on the menu
We made a few other photo stops at the major highlights in the city before heading over to one of the many port wine tasting rooms in the city. It turns out the the Porto waterfront became the storage area for port wine centuries ago because the hilly environment here allowed caves to be dug in which the wine was stored for aging, and the proximity to the sea gave them a means of shipping the finished product. There are literally dozens of them within a small area around the waterfront. We visited the Calem winery specifically to try their white port which seemed sweeter to us.
Another highlight of the trip occurred when we decided to skip lunch on the ship and simply go to a local waterfront outdoor cafe to sample typical Portuguese luncheon fare. We learned that sangria and tapas can make a great lunch. We had a platter of grilled Portuguese sausage, a plate of Portuguese ham and salamis, black olives and a local fantastic bread called "Broa" which is made with rye, corn and honey. It was heavy and very moist; it all disappeared. We met the son of the owner who brought us complementary port wine at the end of the meal. We even bought the ceramic BBQ alcohol fired broiler they use to prepare the sausage. Hope we can get it to work properly when we get home. A nice long nap finished off the afternoon!
We are now repacking as tomorrow we head to our hotel in Porto for the next two days.