Friday, March 1, 2013

Return to Portugal

A city of cathedrals
Porto from the river.
An amazing wine shop/bar.

It's time for Portugal again. Our dog has improved. My godfather's health is improving. And now I'm ready to return to O Porto, albeit only in memory and in pictures.

For those of you who lost the thread of that journey, on our fall trip to Galicia my husband and I went with friends Terri and David to the old city of Porto, for three days and two nights. Porto is like an aging beauty queen: Despite the make-up and glittery clothing of main streets and the wharf side cafes and shops, you can see the "wrinkles" on back streets. But Porto has an air of grandeur, of lost days of glory still sparkling on tiled walls and statues, on the gleaming waters of the Rio Douro where boats bob on rippling water and reflections of colorful buildings on the far bank shimmer below on the wet surface. Just writing about it brings it all back. You can see why:

A city of statues.

The wharf-side

A back street.
The far bank.

You can scroll back to read the earlier post about our first day there and where we stayed. And also the fabulous restaurant where we ate: O Forno (which means "the oven"). Also, in the earlier post you can see the lovely tile work of our hotel and the wonderful garden grounds.

The second morning, when we headed out to sightsee, we noticed a school across the street, and several young girls were crowded at the window, waving at us. Then the teacher must have told them to sit down, because a moment after the picture below, they all vanished.

On our way to the wharf, we passed the wine shop you see above, at the beginning of this post, and again below. The owner is from Brazil. The shop was absolutely tiny, with a small bar that would seat four at most, and the shelves were lined with every kind of bottle of wine you could imagine. We stopped by on the way back and enjoyed a glass of port. I am not really a port drinker, but it was good to try. After all, Portugal is the inventor of port.

Rajan photographing the wineshop.

School of curious girls.

On our way up the river.
Once we got to the wharf, we could not resist the call of the river. So we boarded a boat for an hour-long river cruise.

And what wonderful sights we did see! Below are just a few samples.

Leaving the wharf.

I love the woods behind buildings.

A hidden castle in those woods.
So much color!
Awesome bridge for sure.

 For every one of these, we have oodles more. It was a splendid sight up and down the river.
A truly grand view.

Two rather interesting boats, we thought.

With the wind rippling against our faces and the smell of freshness surrounding us, once we returned to land, we were hungry. So we ate at a charming little restaurant with great atmosphere at the wharf—its name eludes me, alas.

The restaurant.
Our server.

The atmosphere.
 And then we walked around the city some more, before going home. Later, of course, we ventured out to eat a late supper. And then the next morning we left so that we would have time to stop in the city of Tui on the Spanish side of the Rio Minho (Portuguese) or Rio Miño (Spanish). Tui, in Spain, is an old castle town with a huge cathedral, and is across the river from Valença, an old fortress town in Portugal. But that will have to be for another day.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this little (and limited) trip to Portugal.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed it a lot! Glad your dog is better and your godfather's health is improving :)

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Thanks, Catherine!

Rosi said...

I love traveling with you to places I've never been. Someday... Thanks for the journey, Mitty. It was lovely.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Lovely pictures, Elizabeth. Glad your dog is better.

Teresa Cypher said...

The photos are beautiful, Elizabeth--and your "tour" is a delightful journey. You always take me to places I'd have never laid eyes upon. Thank you. :-)

Julia Hones said...

Beautiful pictures! I am glad to know that your loved ones are better. Hugs.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Rosi, I'm glad you liked the journey. I know you love Europe.

Rachna, thanks for the good wishes for Cezar. He's better, but he still wobbles when he walks. I think his balance problem is probably permanent. Glad you liked the pictures.

Teresa, glad you like the pictures. Your beautiful photographs affect me the same way. Especially the recent one of the moon shining through bare branches. Stunning!

Julia, glad you enjoyed the pictures. And thanks for the thoughts about my dog and my godfather.

Victoria Lindstrom said...

What lovely photographs, my artist husband would be drooling if he saw these! You have a wonderful way of sharing your travels, Elizabeth. Thanks! (Oh, I'm so glad your dog is feeling better!)

Shannon Lawrence said...

I'm so glad to hear about the improvement for your dog and your godfather!

These are lovely. It's amazing to see the houses going straight back from the riverside.

Shannon, visiting from Writing From the Peak

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Victoria and Shannon, thanks for the good wishes. So glad you enjoyed the photos.

Stacy Henrie said...

Thanks for sharing these pictures! What a cool trip. Have you thought of setting a story there? :)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I would truly love to visit here someday :)

P V Ariel said...

Hi Good to be here.
Well narrated with eye capturing pics.
I have a small suggestion, the background color is giving trouble to eye difficult to read especially the one at the side bar, and ha of course about the write-up about you, i just blocked it and read pl. chage the background color or the font color.
I am here the first time.
will come again to read more
Thanks for sharing
I am
Phil @ Philipscom
An ambassador to A to Z Challenge @ Tina's Life is Good
And My Bio-blog

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Hi, Stacie, thanks for stopping by. I love your idea of basing a story there. I've written poems to Galicia, but not stories. I'll really think about that.

Thanks "Optimistic". You won't be disappointed if you do go.

P.V., I really appreciate your comments and suggestions. I was in the mood to make some changes in the lay-out, so let's see how these work. Glad you liked the writing and the photographs.

Jess said...

Thanks for sharing your trip and photos! The blog looks great :)

Murees Dupé said...

Hey, I just awarded you the Liebster Award on my blog.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Jess, I'm glad you liked the pictures. And thanks for the feedback on my blog.

Murees, Thanks for the award. It will take me a few days to follow all the rules, but that was very nice of you.

Carol Riggs said...

What lovely photos, all those colorful houses huddled by the river. :) Have a great week!

Valentina Hepburn said...

Elizabeth, I felt I was there. Beautiful photos and lovely story telling. Thanks for sharing your time there.

Tanya Reimer said...

Loved it! Even got my kids to come look at your photos. So cool. Thanks I needed a trip.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Carol, I'm glad you liked the photos. Most of them are by my hubby; his hobby is photography—black and white; but I think he takes pretty good color pictures, too.

Valentina, I'm glad you felt that way. I love to read travel articles that put me in some other place.

Tanya, you're welcome, and thank YOU! I hope your kids liked the photos as much as you did.

LD Masterson said...

Beautiful pictures.

I just followed Murees over from her blog. I'm visiting all the other recipients of the Liebster Award, just to say hi. Hi!

Jaime said...

Your photos are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

LD: Thanks for stopping by. So glad you liked the pictures.Sorry I haven't put up my list yet from the Liebster Award Murees gave me. Hopefully later in the week . . .

Hi, Jaime, thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked the photos.

Jennifer Richard said...

I really loved your image,very beautiful and and great tourist place.