#tiles #azulejos #lookingup
May 22, 2016
Things are “looking up” after a much anticipated 2 day rest in the charming city of Porto. The facades of the buildings are unique in character – from bright colored tiles, painted corrugated steel or stucco and balconies streaming with laundry.Not to mention the Duoro River, port wines and sardines.
Rumor has it that more people start their Camino here so we expect a crowd.
We noticed last Spring that our travels would take us from the Pacific Ocean at China Beach, DaNang, Vietnam west to meet the Atlantic Ocean somewhere…
Bingo! On October 24th we reached the Atlantic in Porto, Portugal some 10,000 miles and 24 weeks later.
Slept in our 102nd bed since leaving home.
*Top photos are from Vietnam – bottom are from Portugal.
One month in the same location started to drive us to drink – we had a thirst for something sweeter, richer and lasting…
Bill had it all planned and would have the car waiting at the house so we could leave as soon as school let out. I was surprised to return home with Bill nowhere in site. A half hour later he showed up huffing and puffing – carless – damn Spaniards CLOSED the Hertz office for siesta! Spain has “siesta time” down in spades. No wonder their country is in an economic meltdown. We were told to return the car and pass the keys through a hole in the door – it would be Sunday and they are closed.
Three hours later we picked up the car….
We wondered hither and yon – the GPS our Ouija board. Where would we find fulfillment?
Speaking of Hertz – the GPS was in cahoots with Portugal (we’re sure of this) and conveniently failed to mention the hidden exit where extranjeros pay for, in advance, a card reader that gets you through the next 25 or so tolls manned only by a camera. No need for souvenirs – we will have enough tickets to wall paper our bathroom.
The historic center glowed for it was dark before we rolled into Porto, Portugal. Famous for their port wines! Something sweeter, richer and lasting…
We found a hole in the wall Italian restaurant where there they have mastered to art of gin and tonics (the only drink options were gin and tonic or port wine). The tonic water was sold separate from the gin and held a badge of honor on the menu, the price reflecting the same. We opted for “1724” manufactured in Argentina, no less, at 1724 meters.. The mix master set up a table next to ours and carefully crafted the finest gin and tonics – swimming pool sized – Bill’s fresh cool cucumber – mine spritzed with orange zest and berries. Ahhhh….
As strange as it sounds we had port with dinner – a tawny and a ruby – quickly learning that port goes with everything! This is a fine example why a person should go out and explore the world. If you didn’t leave the USA you’d only be drinking it after dinner.
Porto was magical. We needed more time. No wonder it was named a World Heritage site. A triple hitter with it’s historic city center, Duoro River and the Atlantic Ocean.
It is the oldest name “protected” and quality “controlled” wine district in the world. Thanks to the king in 1756. It seems that the industry was begun by a Scotsman. We enjoyed some winery tours right on the river and purchased 2 bottles from the oldest port winery in the world to share sweeter, richer…..