Post Camino R&R Day 2 – Porto

Rain, rain and more rain in Porto on my second full R&R day.

It seemed like it had been raining all night and today’s weather forecast gave little hope. Yet, the weather turned better than expected. Sure, Porto is a serious contender to Melbourne for “Four seasons in one day”. Between sunshine and warm weather, there were downpours. Not drizzle, serious rain.

Despite the wet periods, I did 6+ hours of walking to some of Porto’s major tourist attractions.

First, and also later last, Mercado do Bolháo, the old public market. Housed in a huge building covering a whole city block.

This is how the markets look from the inside once you walk through the gates. One central courtyard and two storeys on the perimeters.

Mercado do Bolháo had seen much better times. A great part of the building was propped up and vacant.

There was some work happening and what looked like a construction / project office. But not to any serious extent from what I could see.

Plenty of fruits and vegetables for sale. This bloke looked a bit overwhelmed with choice.

I particularly liked this vendor. All my favorite fresh food goodies were there. Chili, garlic, onions, shallots… What’s not to like about that?

Olives. A Portuguese as well as Spanish favourite.

I could not resist this. Portuguese egg tarts, called natas, for 50 cents each. I bought two of them and had them later with a coffee. Yum.

Pão aka pan in Spanish aka bread in English. 8 Euro cents a piece. That would not break many banks.

I just had to include this pic from the fish and seafood section of Mercado do Bolháo. Yes, it is a long and slimy octupus. Or maybe more than one. Cute, hey?

After leaving Mercado do Bolháo, and after today’s first downpour, I stumbled onto the Porto street cars.

There appear to be two different street car routes although the two street cars below ran the same route.

I then spent 3€ to climb the Torre Dos Clérigos, the Clergymens tower. Recommendation by Eugejia yesterday to come back and do. So I did.

As you can see, here I was so lucky with the weather. Great views in all directions as Torre Dos Clérigos is also on a hill. The tallest point in Porto.

View south across Rio Douro towards that other town Vila Nova da Gaia.

Porto’s Cathedral on this side and the old monastery on the other side of Rio Duoro.

Consumer warning…

A couple of selfies from up on Torre Dos Clérigos are coming up, with me grinning.

Looking east along Rua Clérigos, a highly appropriate name.

Looking down at those olive trees with the shopping center underneath from yesterday’s blog.

The skinny white building in the middle of the left block below is the Livraria Lello. It is the bookshop I mentioned in yesterday’s blog. And where I will go next.

The tower has a narrow walkway around it just underneath the bell.

Yes, Livraria Lello was next. You first buy a ticket to gain entry to the bookshop. Then this. Yes indeed, you queue.

Inside Livraria Lello looking out. Yes, they did let me in…

So, was it worth the trouble, wait or even the money?

Nah. If you are a Harry Potter fan perhaps. Which I am not. I think that the staircase featured in one or more movies. And JK Rowling used to hang here to read, write and drink coffee.

A selfie with that staircase.

Livraria Lello spreads over 2 storeys with a grand staircase connecting the floors. Looking down from top level.

The staircase is amazing though. From here it looked like an upside down bridge crossing any of the Venice canals.

And from this angle the staircase is just majestic and beautiful.

Moving right along… After a coffee with those lovely Portugese egg tarts, I wandered down towards Rio Douro.

I stumbled onto this vantage point which only provided “access allowed to tourists”. According to the sign. Pity if you’re a local. These people must all be tourists then

Mind you… The outlook looked like a dumping ground for rubbish, drinkers and maybe homeless people.

I zig zagged my way down towards the river…

…and away from the touristy area underneath Ponte Luis I.

A local man got the birds fired up by pouring crumbs onto the stone wall.

I wandered west along Rio Douro. A few photos of interesting buildings along the way.

Propped up what’s left of this building. Still, looked like a public hazard to me.

I then wandered to the next tourist attraction, Palácio de Cristal, the Crystal Palace. With its adjacent Jardins de Palácio de Cristal, its gardens. The gardens were nice…

…with great views here to the west with the Atlantic Ocean there in the distance, but…

…the Crystal Palace is no more. This sports stadium from quite some time ago is there in its place. Quite a deceiving name I would say.

Afterwards, wandering back towards the hotel, there was another downpour. Hunger had arrived and I was now ready for a feed.

I didn’t know whether the Mercado do Bolháo would still be open. Or more to the point, whether the food places I saw there in the morning are still serving lunch.

I couldn’t be more wrong. These lunch places were buzzing. I took this photo as I left and many of the diners had also left by then.

This was the menu and not just for tourists. From what I could see, everybody received the same menu.

My choice for the day. Bacalhau grelhado. Which translates to grilled cod. Fried salty cod would be more correct.

The price was right. 5€. Although with a beer and bread / pão, the total added up to an “astronomical” 9€. While the Spanish never charged for bread, the Portuguese do.

Superbock is a Portuguese beer “since 1927”. Likely modeled on German and Dutch lagers and seems popular here. OK beer to me but it will not become a favorite.

As I finished my late lunch some time after 3pm, I strolled back to Hotel Seculo and my hotel room. Seculo means century by the way…

I had walked a lot today, my guess would be up to 15km, so I thought that a siesta would be in order. Nice it was.

The weather forecast for the evening and overnight and tomorrow was… Yep you guessed it, more rain.

During a stint of temporary sunshine again, I decided to walk up the street to the local supermarket. I wanted to get provisions for the next couple of days and also for my train trip to Tunes on Thursday.

There is a small park up the road called Jardim de Marquês de Pombal. The local metro station called Marques is underneath the park.

The rain restarted not long after I returned to my hotel with my shopping.

That’s it. Dinner will be crackers, cheese and beer in the hotel room. I didn’t particularly fancy getting drenched again.

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