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Published: June 27th 2018
Palacio da Bolsa
The central mosaic on the floor of the main hall.
First thing in the morning, 6.30, I'm up on the sun deck admiring the view of Porto across the river from Gaia where the cruise ships dock. There's a heavy mist rising from the water with the heat of the sun, and beyond the famous Dom Luis 1 bridge the view has a mysterious air.
We start our river cruise with a ‘sumptuous breakfast’, one of 3 available - Early riser (6-7.30), sumptuous (7.30-9), and late risers (9-10.30). Very civilized if you like breakfast! If you want to take the tours, every day bar one means getting up to go out between 8 & 9. Although lunch is provided on return most people ate at least something from the buffet.
Each day there was a choice of 2 trips, usually one walking and the other on a bus.
Morning tour - we chose an overview of Porto as we had not been before.
Ana, a local, was our guide and Jeroachim our driver who apparently will be with us all week. The buses are taken to the ports ready for the next trip whilst the ship sails for half of each day.
We drove up through the city of Gaia
to the Dom Luis 1 bridge and across the lower level, luckily quite slowly so i was able to take film / photos. Our first stop was at Palacio da Bolsa the old stock exchange so quite a lot of history.
Would not have thought to visit such a place but it's currently used for town meetings and function hire - mosaic floors, frescoes, court room (with ball and egg art Katherine Grosse), Arab room to show splendor, gold leaf abounds in there but apparently Arab scripts not genuine as done by local craftsmen.
On to drive around the town and stop at a Tower as meeting place, with half hour free time. The Lello bookshop was just around the corner so we looked at the outside but did not pay 5€ to go in and see the staircase that is supposed to be J K Rowling's inspiration for Hogwarts. Took photos and a selfie for fans I know. In our wanderings we found souvenirs, especially handmade by locals, they are unusual and good prices.
Last stop Sao Bento station, blue n white tile scenes, and from the walk back to the bus was only place we could see cathedral
Sticking his head out of the lowered wheelhouse
without crane in view.
The afternoon was spent cruising up the river to Porto Antiga, with just a café by the quay. We did go through two locks and it was interesting to watch the crew prepare the top deck and call directions to the captain in the wheelhouse to go into the narrow channel with just inches either side. First Crestuma Dam & next the deepest in Europe, Carrapatelo Dam, 35 m deep. The sun deck cover is lowered and at the second even the wheelhouse was lowered and we exited with captain stood up in the middle hatch which was quite amusing.
** 4.35 pm, I'm getting more bored and fed up and already can't wait till we go home. It's all very well saying this is Paul's choice of trip but he's spending it snoozing and there's little happening aboard. It seems you're supposed to sit around the deck all the while. He's going up to the pool and we have only an hour before we need to get ready for dinner so I shall go have a cigarette. I'm feeling a bit out of sorts because the train ride I'd hoped to do
does not look possible. Due to the festivities this week we will be docked much further up river to regua which means I cannot get a train back to the boat if that is a delay. I think I shall just mosey around pinhao and return to the boat when people come back for lunch.
During the day we went through 2 locks, first Crestuma Dam & next one the deepest in Europe Carrapatelo Dam, 35 m deep. The sun deck cover is lowered and at second even the wheelhouse was lowered and we exited with captain stood up in the middle.
Tot: 3.126s; Tpl: 0.042s; cc: 9; qc: 46; dbt: 0.0359s; 3; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb