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Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto » Paredes December 3rd 2023

A recent trip to Paris Baguette, a newish French bakery in downtown Pleasant Hill, yielded a plethora of pastries and French delicacies. Among my favorites are the mochi donuts and the Pastel de Nata. From Eater Seattle: Pasteis (Pastel) de nata, also known as Portuguese egg tarts, were url=https://theculturetrip.com/europe/portugal/articles/a-brief-introduction-to-pastel-de-nata-portuguese-custard-tartsinvented by monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon hundreds of years ago. At the time, monks and nuns used egg whites to starch their clothes (the past was a strange place), so they had a bunch of yolks lying around. Someone came up with the idea of putting egg custard in a pastry shell, sort of like a miniature pie, which is browned on top and sometimes sweetened with flavors like cinnam... read more
Love the Pastel

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto September 6th 2023

This morning we walked down to the tram terminus out the front of the Igreja de São Francisco. The church is just around the corner from Pálacio da Bolsa so this was our third time in this area of the city! We arrived just as a tram headed off but, fortunately, didn’t have to wait very long for the next tram. We had assumed that our Porto Transport Cards would cover the trams as it did in Lisbon but, no, we had to pay to ride out to the Foz do Douro District. The tram ride along the river was very tame compared to the rides that we did in Lisbon. There is another line here in Porto and we think it might be a bit hillier but Tram No. 1, along the river to Foz ... read more
Tracey getting off the No1
Tram No1
Waiting for the big one

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto September 5th 2023

This morning it was the Pálacio da Bolsa Take II. This morning we thought we had a cunning plan. Arrive soon after opening at 9.30am to queue up for the English-speaking tour at quarter past the hour. Well, that was the plan. We arrived at 9.40am and joined the end of the queue which was fairly short at this hour of the morning. Great, we thought, we should be a shoe-in for the 10.15am tour believing from our reconnaissance on Sunday that the tours rotated all day through Portuguese, English, Spanish and French on the hour, quarter hour, half past the hour and the three quarter hour. And that optimism lasted until we were able to see the board inside listing the tours and the number of people already booked. Wouldn’t you know it, the English-speaking ... read more
Palacio da Bolsa courtyard
Sala do Tribunal
Sala do Tribunal

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto September 4th 2023

Today we joined a bus tour to the Douro Valley. Bernie was very keen to get out into the countryside to learn more about Portugal’s wine and port industry in the Douro Valley. Since I am still not drinking, I was less interested, but saw it as an opportunity to leave the navigating to someone else for the day AND enjoy a rest from slogging up and down the hills in Porto!! We had to walk down to the meeting point opposite the town hall by 8.10am so the early start was a bit unpalatable! Once we were all accounted for, loaded onto the bus and motoring out of Porto Igor introduced himself – ‘I bet when you booked this tour you didn’t know it was going to be with John Wick?’ Ha, ha, he did ... read more
Sandeman Silhouette
View from Quinta St Julia
View from Quinta St Julia

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto September 3rd 2023

The gulls are very vocal here in Porto and the soundtrack is making us feel like we are in an episode of Wycliffe. Visually, though, the sights are nothing at all like Cornwell, ha, ha. This morning we ventured out heading in the general direction of the Igreja and Torre dos Clerigos. It is easy to be distracted though. First by the city’s magnificent Câmara Municipal do Porto (town hall) and then by São Bento Station. The station was on our list, but not on our list for today because our spreadsheet said it was closed on Sunday. It wasn’t, so we went in to take photos of its beautifully tiled front hall. Designed by Jorge Colaço in 1930, around 20,000 blue and white tiles depict historic battles and the history of transport. Next we were ... read more
Porto Town Hall
Igreja de Santo Antonio
Sao Bento

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto September 2nd 2023

Ah ha, I solved the problem of the flooding shower and it’s nothing to do with the shower curtain! The fixed shower screen is inserted on top of the shower base rather than inset into the shower base. This results in the water flowing down the glass onto the shower base and then along the ledge and straight out the front of the shower onto the bathmat. Before Bernie showered, I rolled up a face washer and put it on the ledge. Bernie managed to shower without flooding the bathroom floor. Shame to work out the solution just when we were having our last shower here. We hit the breakfast room right on 8.30am for a quick breakfast. I can forgive the B&B their dodgy shower screen because they offer fresh orange juice for breakfast. You ... read more
View from Miradouro da Rua das Aldas
View from Miradouro da Rua das Aldas
Pont Luis 1

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto July 14th 2023

Our first sight of Porto was early evening, bustling crowds crossing Ponte Luis (bridge) on two levels, alongside cars and trams, and a funicular railway lifted you to further heights, whilst cable cars traversed the Vila Nova de Gaia bank. Colourful houses piled high above each other, intertwined by cobbled streets. It was delightful. Music came from all directions, the bars and many street entertainers, soft, sultry, jazzy sounds, and not a bad voice to be heard. In the evening the crowds gather across the river to watch the sun going down, quite an event, there must have been several hundred people on a hill, listening to music and applauding the sunset. Our campsite for the night was certainly not so romantic, a tiny car park. We got in with the help of a guy named ... read more
No 1 Tram
Ponte Luis Bridge
Our camping spot-the car park!

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto » Paredes February 2nd 2023

My trip to the Lisboa area, and Porto are, as they say, "Up in the air" for now. My friend has not yet closed on her beach home in Cascais, due to many issues related to closing the sale. So, as always, I have a Plan B just in case. So, after a few days in Munich, I will either take the train to Slovenia, then maybe on to Athens, or perhaps make a little side trip to Albania. The train from Munich to Ljubljana is rather short, just over six hours. And very affordable. It takes about the same amount of time as flying. In fact, travel experts are suggesting I fly into Venice, and take the bus! I don't think so! Actually, I ended up in Lisboa on Monday. I decided that heading south ... read more
Love the Quinta do Noval ports
A beautiful city

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto » Santo Tirso November 11th 2022

Rather than explore all of the wines and regions of Portugal, I will focus on the Douro Valley, home of the most famous Portuguese wine, port, and more recently some enticing red wines. In fact, my trip up to Porto from Lisob is designed to do just that. Focus on ports and red wine. Do not be alarmed if you know very little or nothing about Portuguese wine. I was the same way back in 2001 on my first trip here. My golf buddy and travel mate, Mr. Mike made sure I got a deep and informative introduction into Portuguese wines, particularly vintage ports. We spent most afternoons, after 18 holes of golf, tracking down vintage ports. The two names you may be familiar with are port (of course) and Vinho Verde. But Portugal has 14 ... read more
My all time favorite
Beautiful Porto nights

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto November 11th 2022

First some wine basics for the region: DOC (or DOP): DOC stands for Denominação de Origem Controlada and means the wine comes from a strictly defined geographical area with recommended and permitted grapes and maximum vine yields (to control quality). Technically there are 31 DOCs in Portugal, although 3 of them overlap, making it seem more like 28.... read more
Sandeman
Taylor Fladgate




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