On Wednesday I spent most of the day in Porto, checking things out before all of our friends arrive and I turn into a tour guide. Mostly I just wanted to get a feel for the place and figure out exactly how to get there and back again.
Michael dropped me off at the Metro station on his way to work and my first task was figuring out how to buy a ticket and which side of the platform to be on. The ticket part was fairly easy as you simply picked which station you were headed to and then paid the fare for that particular Zone.
Next came figuring out which way the train was going to run. I seem to be supremely hopeless with this and many times in London I would get on a train and realize that it was going the wrong direction. Fortunately it is not hard to get off at a station, walk across the tracks and get on the opposite train, but I really didn’t want to do it this time. As I was perusing the map, I noticed a little arrow at the top, pointing downward (toward Porto)……
And, sure enough, the arrow in the other side of the tracks pointed upwards…away from Porto. Hooray, I had figured it out!!!
So, I sat down to wait for the next train, wondering where all of the people were. I saw the next train approaching, stood as it got closer and then watched as it blew by me without stopping!!! Afterwards, I looked at the sign and found that it was the “express” train that didn’t stop at the “little” stations!!
About 10 minutes passed and more people started showing up so I figured that it was coming soon. I boarded, found a seat and relaxed for the journey into Porto. The entire trip took about 50 minutes and was super comfortable. I spent a good part of the time looking at my Porto map and reading in Rick Steve’s book, trying to decide what I wanted to find today.
As with most Portuguese churches, it was ornate on the inside…..
I stood on the steps, taking photos of the courtyard and looked up to see a tall building in front of me. The lady walking toward me in the photo stopped and pointed to the big building and told me that it was the “Camera”….basically the town hall……
It stands at one end of a large park called the “Avenue of the Allies”…
I had decided to work the city in a clockwise direction so headed first for a Market area. Unfortunately, I missed the street that I needed and ended up on another one that I couldn’t find on my map. However, I did notice that this street had a tram line on it, so I was able to figure out which street it was on the map. I used the tram lines as a landmark several times during the day.
As fate would have it, one of the first places that caught my eye was a fabric store. I purchased a small pack of traditional Portuguese fabrics. They were very expensive at 19 Euros per yard!!!! Having said that, a long, formal dress was shown in a window and priced at 39.99 Euros.
I loved the colors in this building…..
As I entered the market, there was a man busking at the entrance while a cockatoo sat on his shoulder. The really cute thing was a little girl sitting next to him with two small birds on her shoulder and hat. She was reading a comic book and was totally oblivious to everyone around her…..
It had the usual stalls, including bins of olives….
….and interesting marine products….
I decided that these were the unlucky ones……
Michael and I loved this market when we came here in 2009, but this time it seemed smaller and less interesting. I don’t know if the supermarkets are putting these traders out of business so that it actually was smaller or if it is because we have seen so many markets in the intervening years.
Returning to the street, I found this Ex-phone box that had been turned into art…..
I passed another busker….blow up the photo to see the cute helper……
I passed this design……
Although it is supposed to be art, I see it is a lawsuit waiting to happen!!!
I have noticed an inordinate number of people wearing Tee-shirts with English slogans on them, but none of the wearers appear to speak the language.
I also observed one woman and her son…..she was telling him to stand in the middle of the street so that he could take a photo of her!!!!
As I climbed up yet another hill to get to this church, I could hear haunting trumpet music…..
When I got to the top, I could see where it was coming from…….
He was swaying as he played, obviously enjoying himself greatly. These two, however, didn’t seem to be particularly happy…..
…even though they were following their photographer to have wedding photos made.
The City of Porto is straight up and straight down and I hadn’t realized how far up I had come until I looked over the wall of the church grounds….Now all I can think about is making a quilt using roof lines!!!
…..fortunately, arriving just before a large tour group following a young woman carrying a dilapidated sunflower as a beacon.
….but passing some interesting things…..
….although it had a simple wooden altar…..
…..and an area with nice, relaxing colors……
I found this pipe organ interesting as I have never seen pipes that extended out like this……
I continued walking down and to the left until I finally hit the river. I was starving and stopped for lunch…..
It was yummy, once I had been told that my silverware was in the cute box that the waiter had brought to my table…..I felt like an idiot!!!
There was a busker playing guitar in a classical style but the selections were popular songs. It was a great addition to my meal!! Also, I observed one man asking for a table for FOURTEEN. The waiter told him in no uncertain terms that there was NO table available!!!
I returned to the street next to the River and started heading to the Ribeira area…..or so I thought!!!!!
However, I was not so excited when I realized that I was walking FOR TWENTY MINUTES in the wrong direction!!!
The faces of the horses were well defined and normal looking, but the heads were truly weird…..
….even if you get rid of the happy face drawn on this one.
By this stage I was tired, cranky and LOST!!! I was so tired of walking up and down streets, not knowing where I was! I passed a woman standing in her doorway and asked her where I was on the map. She very sweetly pointed it out to me and encouraged me that I was close. I truly needed that!!!
Once I found out where I was, I happily continued walking around, scouting out a few more locations and then hopped on the metro for my return trip to Vila Do Conde. Michael met me at the train station, ending a great day of reconnaissance…..bring on the tourist friends!!!