Post Camino R&R Day 3 – Porto

Weather forecast was for… Yep, you guessed it. Not even more rain could hold me back. I was going seaside today.

When I went down for breakfast this morning at 7.30am, the weather was fair.

When I came back after breakfast at 8am, you guessed it again, rain was coming down good.

Soon enough though it stopped and I was on my way. It was too far to walk to the beaches so metro / tram wasthe way to go. I walked down the hill to Bolháo station.

Note the colour and letter system used by Metro do Porto. Same system as used in NYC and many other cities. Porto metro map below, not including the old street cars from yesterday’s blog.

My trip was on the blue A line from Bolháo to Matosinhos Sul. Some 15 stops. 3.80€ return.

The metro station of Bolháo was fresh, looked new, well lit and modern. No graffiti at all from what I could see.

By the time the metro had reached Matosinhos Sul, the train had surfaced and was now traveling like a tram.

Yes, like this. The tram type looks very much like the Sydney trams and the new St Kilda trams in Melbourne.

The beach. Or beaches. It turned out to be a succession of different types of beaches and rocky outcrops.

Some, like this first and main beach Praya de Matosinhos was swim and surf friendly. Others not so much.

Yes, beach is called praya in Portuguese, not playa as in Spanish.

A selfie in the oh so temporary sunlight.

Two surfers arrived to the beach at the same time as me and doing a warm up routine here.

Same Praya de Matosinhos but photo taken later after a few downpours. Wet sand.

Surf club Portuguese style.

Learn to surf. Although today it started off very flat as you can see. Later it was anything but flat and unlikely to be suitable for surfing beginners. Neither would have been ideal.

After getting off the tram, I arrived at the northern end of Praya de Matosinhos and walked south. Soon it was not just sand.

Suddenly there was this fort like building on a small headland or point.

According to the sign, the fort had a bit of a checkered history including being occupied by the “absolutists”!!?? Right…

There is a story behind this boat… It was not a full scale boat.

Sadly, there were many abandoned and rundown buildings along the foreshore.

This house below caught my attention. It was in a prime position right opposite the beach and much larger than its neighbors. Renovated correctly and it could be a showpiece.

Perhaps too expensive or too much red tape to get renovations off the ground.

The weather was changing and I think we all know what the below means and what is coming up very soon…

Yep, I found shelter as I could see the rain coming across the water. The “view” from my shelter as the rain was coming down.

The weather cleared somewhat after a while and I continued my walk south. However, it was no longer calm. Quite windy in fact. They had cordoned off access to this pier. I wonder why…

Selfie in the wind. It was hard to hold the camera still here.

Lots of washed up rubbish at the southern most point where I walked, some 5+km from the northern tip of Praya de Matosinhos.

I was curious myself to see how far I had walked as I was planning to walk back along the shore the same way. So I switched on Runkeeper to find out. 5+km one way confirmed.

I am not sure what the pilot below was doing on “dry” land. Decommissioned and moved there I suppose.

From this southern point I was close enough to see the most western of the 6 bridges that cross Rio Douro.

Walking back, I noticed that the bike lanes were once painted in a very dark red colour, now mostly faded.

Yes, that thought crossed my mind too. A colour that don’t makes blood stand out after accidents…

Streetscape along Av. do Brasil as this stretch is called.

There were several indoors and outdoor cafes and bars along the beaches. Most of them were either closed or empty. Funny that a day like today.

This cafe had a few customers though.

I just had to do this. Take a photo of the scarce “facilities” along the shore (I saw two during the whole 5km stretch).

Senhoras access the left and Homens access the right.

Yes. I even felt that I had to take a photo inside Homens. Very retro. Old British seaside perhaps.

Looking north from the headland next to the fort.

Then again some familiar “graffiti”…

…yes, the so familiar yellow arrows I’ve seen possibly 1000 times by now. And the seashell on the sign as well. Ahhh Camino.

Mega fishing net as art.

I briefly looked around Matosinhos Sul for a lunch feed but time was a bit early at 12.30pm so I returned back to town on the metro.

And promptly popped into the eateries at Mercado do Bolháo as the market was literally next to the Bolháo metro stop.

I decided to try the competition next door today with a grilled tuna steak. Atum as tuna is called in Portuguese.

Plenty of fish. And pretty tasty. These guys also had pictures of everything on the menu but it never seems to look like what’s on the picture anyway.  My accompanying glass of vino Tinto made me a bit drowsy so I went back to the hotel for a nap.

At 3.30pm during a spell of no rain, I decided to take a local wander down towards Rio Duoro.

This is how it looks down Rua do Santa Catarina outside my hotel towards the shopping district and the river.

There is a stretch of Rua do Santa Catarina, just where the street turns into a pedestrian mall, where all the bulls*it artists seem to congregate:

  • I could see at least 3 hustlers trying to flog watches, original copies perhaps, and umbrellas and who knows what else.
  • There was a blind(?) guy playing accordion
  • There are “the boys” just sitting there yapping and looking doped and asking for money
  • And the more crude beggars who just shove a hand in your face and grunt something indecipherable

I bet there were some pickpockets there as well. What a circus.

I also had a giggle when I saw what some retailers do to attract attention. Dummies dressed up but all 4 with dog faces.

I wanted specifically see and walk on this stone wall, one of the few remaining remnants of Porto’s historical defense wall.

Great views over Ponte Luis I and Rio Douro at the end of that stone wall.

Looking back up the stone wall from where I came.

More views from the stone wall.

A final pic also on Rua do Santa Catarina now looking north and in the busy section. Yes, the weather was closing in… Yet again.

I decided that it will do me and despite walking back to the hotel from here, I did get quite wet. That will definitely do me.

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