14 May Miraculous Porto, part III
My sinceriest congratulations on making it to the third (aaand the last) part of “Miraculous Porto”. The first part is HERE, second one THERE. Big dankeschön for your patience. I’ve been quiet for some time, but there is an excuse – I was enjoying the hottest sun in Florida, Miami for almost two weeks. Without computer. Afterwards I had to get back to European life, time zone and feeling that I am back, which took me a while. But you will certainly hear more about it later.
They see me rollin’ they hatin’
Just like I’ve promised previously, I am going to tell more about my trip to the Atlantic Ocean, special street in that area and a place, that brings sights, which will take your breath away. Let’s start from the ocean. It has to be seen during your trip, no excuses. Beaches are clean and empty (probably because I was there not on the most popular season of the year), wind is strong, so take your jackets, kids! After I told my host I was going to visit the ocean, his eyes became bigger and pupils expanded. He started narrating about fishermen street and wonderful dishes they do, about receipes traveling from generation to generation and many other things. I barely could catch his words – that fast he was talking. It seemed he was telling stories about unicorns, rainbows and muffins – that’s how excited he looked. Well, I was planning on visiting that street anyway, but after such a tirade I planned it for the next day.
In the morning of the next day, after traditional Pastel de Nata + croissant breakfast, I was on my way to the bicycle rental just next to the Douro river. My plan was to cycle to Matosinhos (fish dictrict). Bicycle shop was not only small, but also full of bikes and people. Some were choosing bikes an adjusting seats, others were paying and looking at the employees with a questioning sight in their eyes. “Hello, wait a little, please. You will be next” – says an employee approaching me every several minutes. I am not invisible, I am not forgotten – nice. When my turn comes, employee explains the main rules, gives all information, provides map and suggestions where to go. When bike is rented for a day – 100 euro deposit is needed, when for a longer time – 200. It can be frozen on credit card’s account or “saved” in the rental until you are back. It is not worth renting bike for an hour or two, just take a look by yourself HERE. And, naturally, next to this you must provide ID or a passport. After this you are ready to go. I sincerely recommend you to dedicate at least one day for cycling out of Porto centre. It would be quite difficult in the city due to slippery, rocky ground and many hills, but you can try, because.. YOLO, noone’s gonna teach you how to live, right? 😀 Road to the Atlantic is rocky from time to time as well, especially at the beginning, so I had a lucky chance to fell like a baby from my bike during first minutes of ride. But later than that it is smooth and easily cycled. Rental place and fishermen street are only 9 km apart, so don’t hurry. Take a look, get lost, discover, admire ocean and seagulls stuck in space due to wind stronger than them. After reaching the destination – Rua Heróis de França in Matosinhos, I understood what mistake was done – I didn’t really check which restaurant was worth visiting [more than others]. All looked good, all looked full and fun, all menius looked more or less the same,I felt lost. At the end restaurant with the whitest tablecloths was chosen. ‘Cause what was I supposed to do?!
Empty like my head sometimes
..and then I was lost among tables to sit and lastly fishes to eat. Which shall I order? Which shall I try? It seemed, that I am going to get crazy if it continues longer. Then face of the host in the cloud above my head appeared saying „I strongly recommend you to try sardines.“. So I order them. I see chef baking them on grill, spices, not even 15 minutes passes and *tadaaam* I am trying it. Taking this shiny sardine, bite almost half of it and, oh gods, it is not eviscerated. Haha, that’s okay. Experience is experience. Sooo.. just so you know – not all fishes are being eviscerated, Learn from my mistakes and check before eating. 😀 I like fish, but I was disappointed by those yummy looking sardines. There was almost nothing left to eat after taking all insides of a fish and meat tasted strongly bitter. Maybe it’s just me, but if you try it, let me know what you think.
Now about wonderful sights, that I promised last time. The place was recommended by this local guy I lived at on the first days. I would have never thought or find this place on my own, because great panorama is seen from… the terrace of a five stars hotel. “Who’s going to let me in there? I am just an ordinary citizien, who doesn’t even live there. *sad*” – would you think. But the cool thing is, that everyone is welcome. Terrace belongs to the resturant of “Yeatman” hotel, so you can order some wine while enjoying the view. And this is what I was doing – enjoying the evening view and waiting for the sunset, when one of the nicest waiters came, presented the meniu and gave some time to choose. Before opening the card, I was ready for crazy prices containing two-three numbers, 5* afterall. thug life and stuff. But glass of the most expensive wine cost something like 15 euro. Decent, this got my approval. Moreover waiter comes bringing extra snacks to drinks. That’s OSOM. Waiter is so polite, that, well.. decide on your own. Everything sounded more or less like this:
Waiter: Here is your order. Thank You.
Me: Thank you.
Waiter: Would you like something more? Is everything okay? Thank You.
Me: No, thank you. Everything is fine.
Waiter: Okay, thank You. Thank You.
I have never said and heard so many “Thank you” in one minute in my whole life.
They see me tryin’ they lovin’
Portugal and Porto in particular is a great place to learn more about wine. The biggest vineyard is in Douro Valley, but it takes one extra day (because there is a lot to try and see) and a vehicle to visit it. If you have no time or wish to go that far, Porto offers many options in the very center of the city and Vila Nova de Gaia. Wine cellars can be found in “Yeatman” hotel or just anywhere next to it by the Douro river. It is easily noticed, that most tourists gather in the cellars of “Sandeman”. The place gives priority to Towny and Ruby wines, one can also take a look at the private and old wine collection. More infos over here. If one is more interested in the history of wine and Douro region as well as in Portugese history, choose Ferreira caves. I am talking here blah blah, but you are big kids now, so choose what YOU like. Link to the best rated wine tours HERE.
Now let’s imagine you want to go out of Porto for a day. In that case I would suggest Lisbon. If you wish a town nearer, choose Braga. City (just like whole Portugal) is highly religious, so there are several good looking churches you can visit. If day is hot, swim in one of many fountains. Like museums? Visit one of 8 (quite a lot for a city which has total area of only 183,5 km²), a cozy, rocky old town, several parks or municipality from XVIII century. Prefer shopping? Possible as well, city has a big shopping center.
Here is it – the ending paragraph of my Porto series. Is it worth visiting? Sure! What is worth doing there? Get to know the city center, visit both sides of the bridge, let the wind hustle you on the Dom Luís I and lose half of your energy while climbing stairs to the second floor of it; try tradicional food, desserts and wine, meet the sunset on the beach or comfy “Yeatman” chairs, dip your toes into the Atlantic Ocean (or fountain :D), discover city at night, try fishes and get soaked in the smokes of grilled food… and I am gonna finish my post with those mysterious dots. I am already setting my mind on other posts, on describing even more adventures from other trips. Get ready for some unusual stuff!
P.S. have any questions or suggestions? Let me know it here or in the comments.
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Dat terrace view