Thursday, June 23, 2016

Porto - Day 12

Friday, June 17, 2016
After saying some last minute goodbyes at breakfast, I headed out to embrace the day. First to the city market. I love visiting these in foreign cities because most in the U.S. (as in Louisville) have been sacrificed to progress. 
However, when I visited this market again today, I wonder how long it can hold out. Only about 1/3 of the stalls are occupied and they are very small.
And the types of merchandise people sell have a very small profit margin - especially in the quantities they can stock.
But the unusual things they sell! If you really want fresh chicken, how about a live one!  
Or one recently killed with its head still intact.
This woman is selling basil plants. (They look nothing like my basil.)

People celebrate the Festival of St. John (June 23) by giving basil plants to loved ones with little poems attached.
Who knew that olives and candy go together?
And after tasting "tripe" (cow's intestines) in a stew last night (a popular dish in Porto), I thought seeing it "in the flesh" was less than appetizing.
Then I walked along the nearby streets, admiring the old storefronts,
saw more churches covered with tiles
and stood at the end of Rua Catarina, the street where our hotel is, and marveled at the pedestrian traffic.
My objective today was to ride local transportation.  First the funicular from the higher part of town down to the waterfront. For a girl who doesn't like roller coasters, this view and ride was pretty awesome.
That's the Dom Luis I Bridge again in the background.
Determined to ride one of the San Francisco-style trolleys, I caught one that went to the beach and back.
I use the term beach loosely because you can't really swim in this rough, cold water.
Then I had lunch at a little cafe near the waterfront and decided to take the 50-minute yellow bus "hop on hop off" tour because it would take me to the Serravales Museum, which is outside of town. However, I ended up on the bus for 2-1/2 hours. First the driver did the same downtown route twice. By the time he made it to the museum, it was really too late. But I did get a photo of the giant trowel in front.
The bus did enable me to see some other parts of the city, but none as interesting as the city center.
I enjoyed taking photos of the homes along the way -- the tiny houses that once belonged to fishermen
and the 18th century apartment buildings with their wrought iron balconies, an image that is associated with the city.
After the tour, I walked over the bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia. It is where much of the world's port wine is sent to mature. After the port wine is produced in the Douro  Valley, it comes here to age in the "lodges." Consequently, these lodges give tours and tastings, but I passed for today. I did check out some art vendors along the riverwalk. Back to the Ribeira on the Porto side, it was becoming very crowded with tourists and even some kind of motor-cross competition, so I decided to head to the hotel.

Tonight I treated myself to dinner at the famous Majestic Cafe, the circa 1900 hangout for the local intelligencia and now popular tourist attraction.

Had Mediterranean Sea bass and Portuguese wine.
A great ending to Porto.

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