Alarm at 4am, but we have no probs getting up. Everything’s ready, so we just got dressed and picked up our bags went out to flag a taxi. With no traffic at this hour we got to the airport still before 5am. I was a bit worried that my carry-on bag would be too big, and we know how RyanAir likes to harass people and make them pay extra – it’s like their favourite thing to do ever – but it was all ok, as a matter of fact a bit disturbingly smooth. After a quick b-fast in Starbucks we found ourselves in a completely fully booked plane direction Porto.
A bit of a snooze and we got out in hot and humid Porto airport – still before 9am! (This is also the point where we found out that Portugal is actually on UK time, not European – everyday we learn something new!)
We got our rental car with no probs (Renault Clio with AC) and headed in the direction of the town centre – at least that’s what we thought. However, we got trapped in the maze of the highways and motorways, all of which failed to signpost the Porto centre. Eventually Nexy saved the day and got us the GPS signal and safely to town. Our hotel was smack in the middle of the centre in a tiny narrow one-way street encircled by a web of other on-way streets but finally we managed to park and check into our tiny but cosy room. Without further ado we dressed in our summer-Sunday-best clothes, and went to explore the town.
Our guide provided us with a handy walking tour suggestion, from which we occasionally diverted, and covered all the major pretty spots of Porto. Of course the main attraction are the beautiful streets of Porto themselves, with charming houses, little balconies, tiled facades, laundry lines, and terraces.
Porto’s historical centre is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, first of many sites we are planning to see during this trip. This is what they have to say about it:
The city of Oporto, built along the hillsides overlooking the mouth of the Douro river, is an outstanding urban landscape with a 2,000-year history. Its continuous growth, linked to the sea (the Romans gave it the name Portus, or port), can be seen in the many and varied monuments, from the cathedral with its Romanesque choir, to the neoclassical Stock Exchange and the typically Portuguese Manueline-style Church of Santa Clara.
(rest on their web) After the walk we took showers and got a short much needed nap, before heading out for a nice dinner of seabass and cod, super fresh, and cheese cake (shared), super heavenly.