This and That in Porto

I have a ton of photos from Porto so I’m going to share them. Why not?

If you go down, down, down some hills you reach the Douro River and the interesting area called Ribeira. The famous Porto wine was stored here, and still is, and exported too. The day was mostly cloudy and rainy so I didn’t get any photos I liked but this gives you an idea of what it was like. There are still large buildings for storage and, of course, many places for tasting. Porto wine is sweet and I seldom drink it. I have occasionally dumped some in my spaghetti sauce which gives it a good flavour. We had a cocktail made with white Porto but I couldn’t really taste it.

This is one of the six bridges spanning the Douro near Porto. Two of them had Eiffel-as in Eiffel Tower-involved. He was a genius with metal sculpture and building. This is the Dom Luis I bridge.

We rode a tourist trolley that circled around Porto which was fun.

Isn’t this strange? I saw two of them in two churches in Porto. I asked a person working in one what it meant and he said it was the third eye, as in the one talked about in India. Apparently, this saint had visions. I couldn’t find out any more about it.

I couldn’t make this any lighter and it looks rather confusing. It was a sculpture in Sao Francisco showing the tree of Jessie which shows the ancestral history of Jesus. This church was once Franciscan which I believe was once an order with very plain, bare churches. The Portuguese later decorated it and everything inside is gilded in gold and in the Baroque style.

A close up view of just some of the gilding.

I passed an antique/used furniture store and this caught my eye. It made me wonder about the history and what it was worn to. A dance hall, a party, carnival, a parade? I’d love to know.

I love shops like this, stuffed with all sorts of food and drink items. Such great ambiance.

Another exterior, and interior, that I loved.

Book Store

While in Porto I read of a famous bookstore called the Livraria Lello, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. I  love old bookstores. It’s known for its beauty but also for the fact that J.K. Rowling sat upstairs while writing some of her Harry Potter books and apparently there is a library in the series based on this bookstore. This fact has made the place extremely popular. I never could get into Harry Potter. I’m not that much a fan of science fiction and the first movie bored me silly. It is so popular that you have to go up the street a bit and buy a 4 Euro entry ticket. If you bought a book, and I did, you get a discount with the entry ticket. My 13 Euro book was 11 Euros thanks to that. It’s a small place and it was packed. It was, indeed, beautiful.

The exterior.

As you enter.

Underneath the lovely staircase.

The concrete stairs are red. I’m not sure if they have always been so.

I liked this curve of the stairs.

The stained glass up above.

Looking down from the second floor.

Train Station

I love old train stations. The one at la Rochelle is splendid and the one in Porto with its blue tile was fabulous.

Blue tile and some in different colours up above. The tile at the top tells a history of transport.

Another view.

The lower panels feature Portuguese history, and landscapes.

A closeup. It looks a bit like china from the Netherlands. The Dutch did indeed import their Delftware worldwide including into Portugal but soon local artists made their own. The tiling, by the way, was created by Jorge Colaço, a famous Portuguese azulejo artist.

Little trains here and there.

This was outside the train station, some people selling roasted chestnuts. As we approached the station, I thought something was on fire there was so much smoke.

Porto


 As it was getting close to New Year’s Eve Maurice suggested going somewhere as we had no plans for that evening. Maurice suggested Portugal and asked the guardienne who takes care of the buildings where we live for suggestions as she is Portuguese and she said Porto so we quickly booked a trip for three days. Porto turned out to be a really beautiful and interesting city, full of hills like San Francisco and beautiful architecture, a lot of it with embellished with blue and white tiles known as azulejos. It was started by the Moors who once ruled this area. We found the Portuguese people to be very friendly and warm.

The first thing I saw when we got out of the metro stop when we arrived was this beautiful chapel.

A closer view. This was more recent tile done in the early 1900’s.

Another decorated church. Note the gray skies. We got rained on a couple of times. The sun came out the day we left.

I think this church was closed but I loved the door and window.

Here’s another one.

There was some Art Nouveau too.

They put up two huge umbrellas which blocked the beautiful Café Majestic. It has a gorgeous interior which is worth buying a overpriced drink to see just don’t, please, eat there. I did and I’m sorry. We had the crummiest seats in there too.

The pretty bar there. Over crowded with tourists. It’s listed in every book and article you read about what to see in Porto.

Winter Beach

Maurice and I made a quick trip to our beach place. Things are pretty dead there in the winter but it was a nice break. (This was before Christmas).

The local church was prettily lit.

A little jazz band was there playing Christmas music.

The Wednesday market was small compared to summer but the florist was still there.

I had a good seafood salad with a tropical twist.

There had been a big storm the week before we arrived and sand was piled up along the beaches. Some of this is protected sand dunes and I’m wondering if they will clear away some of the sand or leave it.

Another beach view. The fences are almost totally covered.

A little of the music that I recorded.

Looking Back

I was going through my 2017 photos to try and pick a favorite but don’t really have one. I just have photos that mainly bring back good memories. I picked out over 20 but may have to spread it out over several posts.

We went to the States in January. We visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona,

and Sante Fe in New Mexico,

and the White Sands Monument in New Mexico.

We went to the Maldives for my birthday.

A trip to Venice with a lot of Spritzs to drink.

We did part of the Camino de Santiago in May where I took this photo of a cow at dawn. It was very difficult for me, my first and last time, but Maurice is ready for more.

We went to England to watch some tennis and made a stop in London while there.

I spent the rest of the year in the States, mostly with my mother but visiting with my children before coming home in December.

I don’t know if this is my favorite photo but I do love the optical illusion of this building in hilly Montmartre.

I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year for 2018. Thanks for making me a part of your lives.