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Entries about porto

Portugal Day 8: Viagem

sunny 79 °F

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We had breakfast in the beautiful common room. There were a few pieces of bread and some water, so we at first got a coffee and sat down. We asked one of the employees if there were any croissants left, and she said “one second.” We were starting to get impatient with waiting for a single croissant when she came back in with two of these huge breakfast boards. We ended up having a delicious breakfast.
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Some last pictures of Porto. Such a beautiful city.

After that we drove from Porto to Lisbon to meet Catherine’s parents and aunts and uncles, who got into Lisbon yesterday. It was a beautiful drive, although we were a little pressed for time and couldn’t really stop and take pictures.

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Our room at the Intercontinental Hotel. It’s a beautiful room with a great view.
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We went with Catherine’s parents to the Time Out Mercado. We got Thai food (which owes its spiciness to Portuguese trade, according to João our AirBnB host in Coimbra), and then went looking for a place to hear fado music.
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But first we got dessert. Daniel had a pastel de nata, but everyone else had ice cream.
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Tiny doors as we climb the Bica hill.
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The busy Bairro Alto, which had numerous fado clubs and bars. We found one that let people in in small groups for sets of three or four songs. It was very enjoyable to hear it in an intimate, less formal setting.
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The fado singer and musicians.
We went back to the hotel early because we have a bus tour to Fátima tomorrow and need our sleep.

Posted by danielcatherine 00:11 Archived in Portugal Tagged breakfast family porto mercado fado time_out Comments (0)

Portugal Day 7: Exploring Porto

semi-overcast 81 °F

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Some views of the common area in the House of Sandeman, which is a hostel with dorms as well as the suites like we are in. There is a breakfast and a dinner available in this room.
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We had a quick breakfast and walked around on the southern side of the Douro, which is not technically Porto but rather Vila Nova de Gaia. This is where the port wine cellars are located, and also the original larger settlement from Roman times.
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Evaporative cooling. Porto is ready to convert!
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We took the gondola to the top of the Dom Luis I bridge, which we could use to get to the attractions on top of the hill in Porto.
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Catherine and the Douro.
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Ruins of houses as we cross the bridge.
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The outside of the cathedral.
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A fado group was busking outside the cathedral.
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Inside the cathedral. They have daily mass and confession, but when we were there it seemed that people were just coming in and sitting down for a bit, then leaving. You could pay to get into the cloister, but we decided against it.
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Views of the city as we walk around.
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The famous São Bento train station, with depictions of the history of Portugal in tile around the station. It was beautiful and impressive. It is a working train station, and is thus very busy with people seeing the artwork and people getting trains.
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A very nice lunch across from São Bento.
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However, I was less than sure about the restroom...
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Porto is a beautiful city. It’s hard to describe what it feels like, but there’s a distinct feeling created by the architecture and the types of businesses in this area.
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Vestir bem, e barato, só aqui (dress well and cheap, here only.) We couldn’t find any specific business this sign related to, but it was very fitting with the rest of the signs and feel of Porto.
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Walking back towards the bridge to return to Gaia. We had our Sandeman port tour at 5:30 and needed to get back in time.
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Our tour guide wore the costume of the Sandeman Don, a logo that combines the traditional Portuguese student cape (which represents their Ports) with a traditional Spanish hat (which represents their Sherries).
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The tour was very interesting. There are several different sizes of barrels and vats which are used to produce red, white, or tawny ports.
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They also make vintage port, which is aged in bottles. The oldest we saw was from 1904.
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We got to taste a white port and a ruby red port.
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Some “sneaking and plotting” pictures, and some that give a good idea of what the House of Sandeman looks like.
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We went to dinner at an Italian restaurant. Catherine got a pizza diavola, and Daniel got a pizza with eggplant and garlic. It was delicious, but they were too big to finish. We should have only ordered one. The dessert was also very good.
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Some pictures around Gaia as we prepared to leave. It has been a beautiful stay in this city and we hope to come back again someday.

Posted by danielcatherine 09:46 Archived in Portugal Tagged signs cathedral port porto don neighborhoods sandeman Comments (1)

Portugal Day 6: Batlioteca and the Footsteps of the Romans

overcast 69 °F

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Walking up to the University of Coimbra was a bit of a climb, but we were able to get there pretty quickly using a direct route up stairs.
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Many of the buildings at the university date from the mid twentieth century, and were built under the rule of António de Oliveira Salazar, the dictator of Portugal who had been a professor at the University. These buildings, our AirBnB host told us, are controversial because houses were demolished to build them. They have a very uniform feel, and seem to form an imposing entry towards the old square of the University.
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Views of the old square, which is located in a former royal palace.
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Us in the square.
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The first part of our tour: knocking on the door of the chapel.
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Inside São Miguel chapel. It was a royal chapel but is now used by the university. They have masses regularly, which prevents tours from going through, but we were able to go in.
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A striking picture of the courtyard.
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The Joanine Library, which also includes the Academic Prison. The prison was used when students and faculty were convicted of crimes in order to prevent university scholars from having to associate with “common criminals.” The lower level of the library is used for storage of older books. The upper level is the room where students would have studied, and where there are beautifully decorated shelves and paintings. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures in that room. It is also famous because there are bats that eat the insects that could damage the books. The bats live behind the shelves and eat moths and other insects at night. Pieces of paper are set down on the tables to protect them from bat guano.
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The inside of the royal palace. One large room is used today for students who are defending dissertations: there was a student doing so when we toured.
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Some last views of Coimbra before we left. Also, a couple pictures of our car and our AirBnB.
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Next we visited the Roman ruins of Conimbriga. Coimbra is named after Conimbriga (in Roman times Coimbra was called Aeminium, and was renamed when Conimbriga was razed by the Suebi and the residents fled to Aeminium.
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The ruins are fascinating: baths, houses, mosaics, and other buildings.
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The Roman influence continues, in the form of gelato.
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We then drove to Porto. We are staying at the House of Sandeman, located immediately above their tasting room and port cellars. Our room is very nice and comfortable, despite the somewhat creepy painting.
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FA87183E-304F-4108-B463-527C693B349A

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Porto is beautiful. At night, it feels like a city for making plots and schemes.
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We went out for dinner and a couple drinks. Catherine tried bacalhau com natas (cod with cream) for the first time, and really liked it. It was a beautiful night of talking and walking near the river. We can’t wait to see more of Porto tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 12:40 Archived in Portugal Tagged palace bridge university port royal porto library bats chapel romans coimbra gelato conimbriga sandeman Comments (0)

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