Thursday, October 31, 2013

Walking Discoveries and Map of Porto Centre

Porto is a lovely, old and rough-hewn city and I have very much enjoyed my visit here last March. The city centre is easily walkable which I adore. I am a great fan of walking. Walking is actually what I do best when travelling, I walk from one square to attraction to another, and it is no secret that I indulge in food, thus after sampling different types of local delicacies, it makes me feel good that those calories are going somewhere else other than to my (bulging) stomach and (flabby) arms. However, if you are mobility challenged, there are the old world trams and modern sightseeing buses to bring you around.

Map of Porto Centre
Information: Porto Tourism Website

Right click on the map and open in a different window and click on the map to zoom in.

In this trip, I have walked sooo much. I may not have covered every nook and cranny of Porto but I have discovered many places worthy to be seen and experienced. Below are some of the major places in Porto that you will encounter when you visit the city, and I have as well included links of previous blog entries of their nearby attractions.

Liberdade Square and Aliados by Day

This is the core centre of Porto.

Nearby on the corner of Praca da Liberdade is the beautiful blue-tiled interior Sao Bento Train Station, and on the other corner of the Praca is the street, Rua dos Clerigos that will bring you to the Clerigos Street Market, Harry Potter bookstore: Livraria Lello & Irmao, and further ahead is the lively Carlos Alberto Square where the quirky slash arty slash vintage Porto Belo Market is held.

From this square as well you can see the alley to my hotel, Grande Hotel de Paris Anno 1887 which I fondly call the Museum Hotel because it is the oldest hotel in Porto and showcases museum-worthy pieces and news articles about the hotel.

Monument to King Peter IV on Liberdade Square (Liberty/Freedom Square).

Infante Dom Henrique Square

Located in the southern part of the centre, you will get to this green square, the Infante Dom Henrique Square just before reaching the Cais da Ribiera (river boulevard) where you can sample the beautiful views to Vila Nova de Gaia while relishing the city’s celebrated calorific sandwich, Francesinha.

One of my regrets was not having visited Palacio da Bolsa. Beside the palace you can find the Old Tram 1 that will bring you along the coast to the mouth of the Douro River.

This is actually a market hall for theater arts, workshop and music.

Rua 31 de Janeiro and Igreja del Santo Ildefonso

The church is located in the western part of Porto beside Praca Batalha intersecting the popular shopping street Rua de Santa Catarina. This street is a great place for shopaholic women to spend half a day swiping their cards and drowning in credit.

I have also discovered 2 cafes that I feel affection for. ‘Il Café di Roma’ (beautiful interior) at Rua de Sa da Bandeira and the touristy and pretty ‘Majestic Café’ on Rua de Santa Catarina. If you are a foodie, there is also the Bolhao farmer’s market nearby.

On the corner of Rua 31 de Janeiro and Rua de Santa Catarina, you will find this Art Deco style facades of buildings.

Igreja del Santo Ildefonso.

There is always something to see and do in Porto!

Travel Period: March 2013
Destination: Porto (Grande Porto), Portugal

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Old Tram #1 Ride from Porto to Foz do Douro

Last March I was in Porto, the second largest city of Portugal after Lisbon and the capital of Port wine. One of the (somewhat touristy) things I did there was to take a tram ride. I read that ‘Tram 1’ will take me along the western coast of Porto to Foz do Douro, the mouth of the Douro River where it meets the Atlantic Ocean.

I think this is a perfect passive activity to do to while away the time.

Tram Line 1: Infante, Porto to Passeio Alegre, Foz do Douro

Now I just had a long and lovely starred lunch at The Gourmet Restaurant of the Yeatman Hotel in Vila Nova de Gaia which by the way offers the best panoramic views of Porto, and all I wanted in the afternoon was to take things slow. I will be leaving in the evening back to Amsterdam and I still have a few hours left in the city. Having seen and done a lot in this trip, I quite felt contented and thus deserving for an afternoon of chilling out, basically just doing nothing much, such as joy riding in an old tram =)

Needless to say I came on time for the ride, however, the tram came 30 minutes later. I was nettled, while the Spanish tourists beside me were very nonchalant about it, which made me felt quite ashamed of my impatient behaviour and had me doing an impromptu self introspection. I had to remind myself that this is the south of Europe and everything here tends to go slow. Life here is laid back, there is more to life than a hurried pace so CHILL OFF WOMAN.

You see, I cannot expect for things here to start on time, because if it does, then it is akin to going against the grain. OK, I know I am exaggerating here but situations like these makes south European holidays seem so real and corporal. It is a matter of adopting a different mindset and taking things with a grain of salt.

Lots of tourists in the tram. See, I told you this is a touristy thing =)

Although this man who sat in front of me is a local.

You can find my other travel diaries about my Porto and Douro trip last March below, by city and town:

Porto (Grande Porto), Portugal
Vila Nova de Gaia (Grande Porto), Portugal
Amarante (Grande Porto), Portugal
Vila Real (Douro Valley), Portugal
Viseu (Douro Valley), Portugal

Passeio Alegre, Foz do Douro

So I have arrived in Foz! There are many restaurants and cafes here, and there is as well a boardwalk so this area is a nice alternative and fresher route from busy Porto where you can easily spend a few hours lunching or chilling out at a bay side café or restaurant.


Porto Views during the Tram Ride

I suggest that from Infante (in Porto) going to Passeio Alegre (in Foz do Douro) you take the seat facing the river and for going back, take the seat facing the city. With that you will have the best of both views during the entire to and fro tram ride.

Love, love, love the views of Porto!

Why are hanging laundry in the balcony in this part of the world cool?

Almost there...

The city of Porto has this rugged unfinished feel...

It may be a bit touristy, but the back and forth trip was a nice therapeutic relaxing activity for my last afternoon in Porto.

Travel Period: March 2013
Destination: Porto (Grande Porto), Portugal

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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