TDP2021: Day7&8 – Porto

This entry is not TWIKE-travel related. It serves as a teaser to anyone who hasn’t been to Porto yet to visit ASAP.

My first visit to Porto was 1991 – a very long time ago and I was curious as to how the city had changed. (spoiler alert: a lot)

But before we start with any serious city visit anywhere in Portugal, we need to first stop by at one of the many, many pastelarias. If there is one very clear and present danger in this country, it is to get hooked on the vast selection of pastries…which is very likely to happen.

Portuguese yellow gold - I want them all!

Portuguese yellow gold – I want them all!

 

So, here we go. Nom nom nom.

Ahh - Portuguese breakfast drugs

Ahh – Portuguese breakfast drugs

 

Well prepared, coffee, freshly pressed orange juice and two helpings of pastries, it is time to start walking to get rid of the many calories again.

This is how it should be in towns...

This is how it should be in towns…

 

The town remains a gem and nowadays is dressed for success as most of the old buildings are either renovated or in being renovated. Only very small patches of the ‘old’ Porto I got to see a long time ago remain.

Postcard picture of Porto's old town

Postcard picture of Porto’s old town

 

Port wine and sea food is the thing to go for here. I am a huge fan of Port wine… lots of fun awaits!

Port wine makers

Port wine makers

 

Although cooler than expected, Porto shows itself from the best side – and is always worth a visit.

Another angle

Another angle

 

Given a little more money and time, I’d have many places to visit – one of which is the private bar window overlooking the river and the old town:

This is my kind of bar, right there

This is my kind of bar, right there

 

Ok, ok, this weren’t emissionless.ch if there weren’t a quick reference to EV’s or charging infrastructure: there are multiple accelerated and fast charging stations all over the city. I liked the fact that they were mostly integrated in buildings or on existing parking infrastructure…but this one I liked most: it was a converted petrol station:

Quick charging everywhere

Quick charging everywhere

 

The charger itself was very weird – super-wide DC voltage charging plus AC and DC/AC combined charging now available (see me wondering if this might be a thing in the future here)

Wow, that's a wide voltage range!

Wow, that’s a wide voltage range!

 

For our first evening in Porto we chose a very small and local restaurant for the one thing you have to eat when you are here…

Our restaurant this evening

Our restaurant this evening

 

…if you come to Porto, there is ONE thing you must try – Francesinha. It’s a sandwich with various types of meat, covered with molten cheese and topped with an egg and doused with copious amounts of a beer-based gravy.

In all its gravy-based glory

In all its gravy-based glory

 

You have to drink a beer with it to complete the taste and dunk everything in the gravy. Should you be running dry… the restaurant owner is very happy to douse everything again …and again…and again!

Just keep adding gravy!

Just keep adding gravy!

 

Food related, we can report that there are lots and lots of options… The only thing that made everything a little difficult was the fact that pandemic-related regulations mandated restaurants to no longer serve customers after 10.30 pm which is a relatively early hour in Portugal. That in it self wasn’t much of a problem for us … but as more patrons had to be served in the time available it was not too easy to get a table at prime time.

Enjoying dinner in Porto

Enjoying dinner in Porto

 

Creature comforts in Porto

Creature comforts in Porto

 

I dedicated the last day to Port Wine. A must as this is a product that rivals my love to G&T.

Learning about how port wine is made

Learning about how port wine is made

 

Instead of going for the cheap €5 ‘tastings’ which are nothing else than 10cc glasses of industrial-grade Port at questionable temperatures, you should invest both the time and money in a Port wine ‘flight’ at one of the smaller Port wine brands with a knowledgeable sommelier who can explain the details for each wine and go for a good selection throughout the decades.

My selection below was from 1996-2011.

My port wine selection for today - exceptionally good stuff

My port wine selection for today – exceptionally good stuff

 

I obviously wanted to purchase some port after my tasting and was pleasantly surprised that I – at a certain point in a not too distant future – would be able to spend a decent amount of money on one of my life’s pleasures.

Good options to spend lots of money!

Good options to spend lots of money!

 

As last year, mass tourism wasn’t back to any normal level and we thus were able to enjoy the city without the masses – nice!

Porto without the masses

Porto without the masses

 

My family then decided it was time to give me a ‘present’ – Top Gear-style. Given that I was traveling with a TWIKE, they at least took weight into consideration and felt it was important to make my TWIKE lighter for ‘considerably less consumption’ during my next stage.

This is what they got me:

My family's Top Gear style travel present

My family’s Top Gear style travel present

 

Our time in Porto went by much too quickly. On our last evening we went to the other side of the main bridge and took some pictures before having another very tasty dinner in the old town.

Evening impressions from Porto

Evening impressions from Porto

 

Since my family had to get a PCR test the day after to be able to check in both into our place in Lisbon and on the Algarve, I will be driving to Lisbon on my own and meet up with them there – after a relaxing day on the road. I’m really looking forward to the trip tomorrow as it will take me to some very nice places I’ve either been 30 years before or have been strongly suggested to me!

Again: Visit Porto – you won’t regret it.