by Erin Elaine
Porto is a beautiful city in the northwest of Portugal, where the Duoro River meets the Atlantic. It is a very beautiful city known for its bridges and its port wine. I loved being near the water and exploring the multitude of bookstores. Julie and I had a great trip! Not too bad for a 1 hour flight costing around 40$ roundtrip!
The prices in Porto were so cheap! This is a bill for 2 coffees (in the central plaza) and it was only 1.70 total, or 2.20 in American dollars. We were outright shocked when we saw the bill.
The waterfront was so beautiful, and the bridge is pedestrian friendly! We were warned that the sidewalk width is variable, because it seems narrower when you’re returning from the south side after visiting the wineries. 😉
Speaking of wineries…
The grapes for port wine are grown only in a region near Porto. It’s like Champagne in France – any grapes not grown in that specific region don’t count. If your sparkling white wine isn’t from Champagne it’s not champagne, it’s just sparkling white wine. And if your dessert wine isn’t from Porto, it’s not port, it’s just dessert wine.
Port wine is very very sweet and delicious. For only 4.50€ we got a tour and a tasting. When we arrived, the next English tour wasn’t for another hour, so we had a tour in Español! I actually understood most of what the guide was saying, so I was very proud of myself.
This is a very famous bookstore in the middle of Porto. Apparently this bookstore was one of many things in Porto that helped inspire J.K. Rowling to write the first Harry Potter book while she was living here years ago. It’s a gorgeous bookstore. If their English section had been larger I would have spent quite a long time in there.
We went on a one hour boat tour that showed us all 6 bridges of Porto (some of them are insanely tall) as well as a bit of the bay, before returning to the dock. It was very cold and windy but beautiful.
The Photography Museum (housed in a former prison) made me a little giddy. So many beautiful old cameras, dozens from before 1900. Maybe someday I’ll learn to use one similar to these.
On the last day we ventured to the coast. Now I’ve seen the Atlantic Ocean from the other side! It was pretty grey and dreary, but nice.
All in all, it was a really great trip. We saw a ton of stuff and had a lot of fun. The 2nd night I spent 4 hours eating dinner with a bunch of people from my hostel. I met people from Australia, Chile, Brazil, Poland, Japan, Finland, Portugal, and more!