23 hours of travelling and we’re finally in Porto, Portugal.
Porto, and I’m guessing the rest of the country is one of those places where you just can’t quite get your head around how old it is. How many people over 100s (and in Porto’s case 1000s) of years would have meandered over the cobblestones on the narrow winding streets. Another thing about Porto is that it is up and down meaning that they built the hub of the city on the top of a hill and used the river Douro as their lifeline, so there is a lot of uphill and downhill. We commented to our tour guide that people must be very fit and he replied, “Ah yes, but there is also lots of food here with large portions, so….”
We arrived late in the afternoon and checked into the Prestana Vintage Hotel – see the yellow building in the middle of the photo above? That’s it.
And this is our room (below)
It was about 1.30am Perth time when we checked in. Maria, the beautiful woman behind the counter welcomed us by offering us a glass of port and started to circle ‘must see’ monuments on a map. I said, “I have to stop you there.” As I fanned myself with our reservation confirmation, I explained that we’d had a long journey and was incapable of taking any of the information in. She’d clearly seen this before and showed us up to our lovely room. We could have slept there and then, but we wanted to push on and go to bed at an appropriate time, so a little walk was had along the water, over the Don Luis Bridge and over to the city of Gaia where we sat and had our first beer of the trip.
There were some young lads climbing up on the bridge and shouting for everyone’s attention that they were going to jump. We later learned from our guide that they ask passers by for one euro to jump.
They were obviously a little skint that day as they stood on the top of the bridge for the entirety of our 2 beers without jumping. We were commenting that if we were in Australia, they probably would have been arrested, but not here, anything seems to go in Porto. People were jumping into the river and swimming where tour boats were coming and going from – it would be akin to swimming in Circular Quay – not in the shipping channel, but just close enough to make people look.
And speaking of nanny states….. there is obviously no 5 knot rule up the Douro. Not only do tour boats go at whatever speed they please, there were jet skis fanging between the bridges doing the jet ski equivalent of a wheelie….. it gave us something to talk about.
As the afternoon turned to evening our bodies very quickly reminded us that we were still in a very different time zone and we were going downhill fast. A quick dinner was had and we made our way back to our hotel before we found ourselves asleep on the footpath.
Another bridge shot. This was taken from where we sat for dinner. It was fantastic for people watching and watching the light change as the sun went down.
A short walk back to our hotel and ……. sleep 💤