A Whistle-stop Tour of Porto – Travel Diaries – Part 1

MLB is one of my dearest girlfriends. We’re an unlikely pairing for lots of reasons; and for many years our friendship was a dinner-once-a-month affair, that was always like we’d only seen each other the day before; we just had that natural, easy friendship and, happily that once-a-month thing is more of a once a week thing now.

Last year she went travelling for a few months and I missed her terribly, I’m so happy she’s back and I’m so happy I have a friend like her! When the end of her trip drew near, she wanted to go out on a high, and so, she dropped me a text asking if I fancied meeting her somewhere. We landed on Porto for a bit of a girls holiday full of meandering, partying, a bit of sight seeing, and catching up on all the missed months of dinner!

I was so excited to see her again; MLB is a real tonic, and I always come away from seeing her a little lighter, and grateful for such a special friend.

First porto of call [sorry]: Pasta Del Nata whilst we sat in the square watching everyone gather and chatter for their morning coffee.

We decided that we’d hop on an open top bus to get our bearings and explore some of Porto at speed – and if like me, you’re a sucker for beautiful buildings, then one of Porto’s open bus top rides is going to satsify your need for pretty old buildings and unique architecture like nothing else – like these azulejo tiled buildings which crop up, and historic church towers.

One of Porto’s main attractions is, of course its famous Douro valley – you can take extensive wine tours down the Douro river, or you can opt for a 45 minute hop on boat tour which will take you a small way down the river – worth noting, if you’d like to enjoy food or drink on board these, they don’t take card, so you’ll need to have cash ready!

You’ll see LOTS of bridges – including the Maria Pia Bridge designed by Gustav Eiffel in 1877 – the last thing he worked on before he oversaw the building of the Eiffel tower.

After a busy morning drinking in the architecture and the guided tour whilst the sun kindly shone away for us, we decided to head for lunch and have our long, overdue catch up.

We stopped at one of the many little restaurants that are along the riverfront – the food was not a memorable affair – neither was the place, really, apart from when we got colossally shat on by a bird. We were COVERED. It took about 20 mins to clean up. Insta vs Reality, hey?

Deciding it wasn’t worth risking to see if target practice had been extended, we gathered our wine and glasses (with the OK from the restaurant owner), and meandered to the river front to watch the world go by and take in Portos famous coloured houses…

We sat side by side, catching up on all the news we had for each other, watching boats, people and fish all swim by whilst we enjoyed the last of the Vinho Verde…

After our long day of pottering, we headed back to the hotel ready for a night out. We partied a LOT whilst we were there, I felt like I needed a holiday once I was back, but it was just so good to forget all of our troubles and spend the night dancing and drinking porto tonics. Don’t believe everything a PT tells you though… ;-).

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