7th October 2018 – 12th October 2018
Well what can we say. We absolutely loved Porto, it is second only to Paris in our opinion. It is a place we could have stayed much longer as there is so much to explore and just to immerse yourself into. Some cities we visit have a great vibe, it is just a feeling but Porto certainly had it. Porto is one of the oldest European cities and it’s historical core proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Our first trip in, a bus ride away from where we were staying. We left Chloe sleeping in the van and luckily the van sheltered by trees and the weather not too hot so we knew we could leave her for afew hours. Now the buses in Portugal are a law unto themselves, standing literally in the middle of the road and waving my arms like a mad woman for the bus to stop, the bugger just drives on past. Swearing and shouting and saying, what are we going to do do now and not wanting to wait another hour until the next one, we were contemplating our options when another bus comes thundering along the road and with my mad woman actions again, it stops. 30 minutes later we are in Porto. It is Sunday and the sun is out and we stop firstly for coffee and a gorgeous Pastel de Nata oh how we love these custard tarts. You can just wander the streets for hours, just enjoying the City. Some of the shops were open and I wandered into one and to my complete and utter excitement I see a cushion that had an illustration of ‘Mona’. ‘Mona’ you ask, yes the famous ‘Mona’ created by my talented friend Sonia Holleyman. Sonia is a illustrator of childrens books and created ‘Mona’ into a series of books followed by a TV series and film. I ran out of the shop shouting to David and showed him the cushion, told the shop owner hoping he would give me the cushion, but alas no. We found the main railway station to see the amazing tiles inside the main hall, Clerigos Church and Tower with it’s stunning blue and white tiles and the Livraria Lello. The famous bookshop and inspiration for JK Rowling. We did not get to go inside on this trip. The queue to get in was way too long. After a lovely lunch over looking the Douro river we headed back to the van for a siesta. The next day we were due to leave but we decided to stay another day to visit Porto again. This time we crossed over the famous Ponte de Dom Luis bridge and then got a cable car to the quayside. We meandered up to the famous Taylor’s Port House, had my photo taken but unfortunately David felt unwell and we cut the rest of the day short, headed back to the van where David spent the rest of the afternoon in bed and I visit the zoo. (He’s fine now). We could spend a whole week in Porto and will be back, we loved it. The next day David was well enough and we set off South. We stopped at Nazaré famous for the tallest wave ever recorded being surfed and a mecca for surfers due to the the presence of the underwater Nazaré Canyon which creates the height of the waves making them much larger on this stretch of the coast. It is also famous as a fishing village and the old tradition of drying the day’s catch on the beach is still visible with the older ladies in their traditional clothes, selling the dried fish. The next day after afew hours drive we stayed in Tornada e Samir do Porto, Chloe enjoying a long evening walk on the beach into the little town where we enjoyed a beer and a cider and watched the sun go down. Our final destination before we hit the Algarve was Alcacer do Sal, we stayed here last year and it is a lovely traditional Portuguese town. What I had missed on our last visit though was the most wonderful shop, yes another shop ! But this shop sold everything you could possible require for a horse and it’s rider. Beautiful leather saddles, leather clothing, reins, boots. Oh if only I could buy something, but no room in the van ! Not sure what I would have bought though, I don’t own a horse !