Porto

Tucked away like it is on the far side of the Iberian peninsula, Portugal was one the few western European countries that neither Andreas nor I had ever been to. It sounded like a fun end-of-summer stopover before we had to get home to Cairo and back to work.

We budgeted ten days for our visit. We have friends who swear by the Algarve, an area of sunny beaches down in the south, but we thought it might be too warm for us there in August. Instead we opted for a week on the northern coast in the city of Porto followed by two nights in Lisbon.

The Airbnb listing said the apartment was in a good location. It turned out to be absolutely fantastic, on an old street now pedestrianized and lively with artists and musicians late into the night.

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Our apartment was at the back of the building, away from the street noise where we could leave our bedroom balcony door open all night.

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The first place I had to go to was the Lello book store.  I’d seen pictures of it before on one of those “most beautiful book shops in the world” lists on the Internet. I agree, it’s awfully nice.

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We also saw some gorgeous churches. One of them, San Francisco, is entirely covered inside with gold from colonial Brazil. I heard a tour guide said that in the early 18th century the wealthy importers and port manufacturers gave generously to the church to atone for their sins in the business world. He also made the joke (in rather bad taste) that Portugal wasn’t worried about bringing home the gold from the Olympics in Brazil this year, as they’d already brought most of it home a couple of centuries ago.

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The old stock exchange is another beautifully decorated structure

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One day we took the metro and bus to the modern art museum

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Another day we took the trolley to the beach and walked along the coast, then had a dinner of fried sardines and vinho verde

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I love visiting food markets in big cities. Porto’s did not disappoint. We put together some nice lunches at our apartment with the goodies we picked up here.

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And of course we had some great meals in restaurants. Our favorite was recommended by the owner of our apartment – a little place with an unmarked door where you choose between the two dishes cooked by the mom and served by her two daughters on a patio with a view (super cheap, too!).

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And finally some miscellaneous views from around the city

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About lornaofarabia

I am a teacher from Medford, Oregon. I currently live and work in Cairo, Egypt.
This entry was posted in Elsewhere, Food and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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