Day 5 – Thursday, June 4th

We had a slow start this morning as Michael wasn’t being picked up until after noon, so we enjoyed a relaxing time in the hotel room. I left out when he did and started winding my way back to the river again.

I have been trying to walk down different streets each time I go somewhere so that I can see the shops and sights along the way. I was surprised to find that most of the shops along this one small street were closed from 1:00 to 3:00. I hadn’t found this to be the case in other areas.

I have also noticed that all of the cafe’s seem to have the same food….I wonder if they buy it from the same places.

I was trying to make my way toward another church on the other side of the city, but ended up doing other stuff instead. On my way I walked thru a tunnel that had a walking path along with the lanes for cars. It was deafening inside as the cars were driving on cobblestones and the roaring was intensified by the tunnel. It was a relief to get to the other side.

As I came out of the tunnel, I decided to walk across the bridge to the other side of the Douro River. I had not realized it, but there is a completely different town on the other side of the river, called Galem. I particularly enjoyed taking photos of Porto….you could really see the hills this way.
As I walked back across the bridge, I noticed a long set of stairs that went up the hill to the area that I was trying to reach. I also saw a small tram that would take you up the mountain. As I was debating about which to use, I noticed that there was a fairly long line for the tram and that the ticket machine was not working well and there was a tram agent banging on it to try to get it to work. SO, I decided to climb instead.
After I had climbed the first 100 steps, I turned a corner and found that there was ANOTHER set of steps and terraces that ended up being 114 MORE steps. However, it was a very interesting walk as there were homes located along these terraces, with kids, dogs and small shops along the way. I watched as one woman walked out of her door and up about 90 steps to get to her car. I cant imagine how they manage to live there. Also, one of the train lines ran just above the houses so I would imagine that it is relatively noisy as well. But, the views were wonderful!!!

As I was stopped at one level and looking over a ledge at the street below I enjoyed watching 2 delivery trucks try to jockey their way around a dead-end street. One of the trucks was backing up and was only 6 inches away from the cars on eitherside!! It took about 10 minutes for them to get everything moved around.

I went into another church at the top of the stairway. This one was called Se Do Porto.

I particularly liked the water fountain there….

I remembered that I had wanted to go to the “Centro Portugues De Fografia”, a photography museum. The museum is in a building that was originally a jail and the heavy iron door and huge padlocks were still present. I climbed to the top floor to see a display of over 500 cameras. There were huge wooden ones and tiny ones that were used in espionage. I recognized a couple that my family had and even one that Michael and I owned when we were first married.

There were two displays of actual photographs. One was called “Contrapontos Visuais”, and contained a series of photos that were very stark and mostly with dark overtones. I did like the photos of one person, Pedro Sottomayor.

The other exhibit was from villages around Portugal and each display showed one large photo and then a series of 15 to 20 smaller photos. Some of the photos were wonderful.

There was one “art movie” being shown. It was a film of a bus ride, with the camera being held out of the window so that you felt as if you were riding on the bus. It was interesting.

One of the funny things that I saw was outside one of the Natural History Museums. There was a tractor-trailer rig that was opened up on one side and had a long white couch with fluffy red pillows on it. There were a couple of young nice-looking women sitting on the couches. As I am trying to figure out what this is all about, I see a sign that has the following…..”a disfuncao erectil”…….enough said.

As I was returning to the hotel, I passed an area that had lots of art and craft stores. There was an art supply store, a yarn shop and 2 fabric stores. The yarn shop held mostly acrylic yarns, but there was an entire wall covered with skeins of yarn. It was priced by the kilo and there were large scales that were used to weigh it out. I have found the fabric stores to be interesting as well. The fabrics are all stored on shelves and have counters in front of them so that it is impossible to touch the fabrics. Also, the shop keepers almost always seem to be men and they seem to be VERY protective of their fabrics!!! The only cotton fabrics that I found were made in Italy so I decided to wait and buy those in Rome next year!!! This also reminds me that yesterday I went into a bead shop. The walls were covered in beautiful beads and stones, many of which were very expensive.

There was one store that was devoted entirely to door knobs and locks and another firearms store whose salesmen all wore 3 piece suits!!!!

We were picked up for dinner about 9:00pm by Paulo, his wife Paula and their two kids. We walked a few blocks to a restaurant that is know for their live performers. Tonight the group was singing “Fado” style music. This is a Portugese style of folk music that either has 3 or 5 group members. In this case, there were two guitarists (one acoustic and one Portugese Guitar which is sort of like a big Mandolin) and a female singer. She had a wonderful, deep voice and her songs were gorgeous. The word “fado” means destiny or fate and the songs were sung with deep emotion. Paulo said that typically the Fado singer sings with her eyes closed and with all of the emotion coming from her heart.

We ended the night at about 11:30, full of wonderful food and our ears ringing with Portugese folk music!!!

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