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Sat May 11, 2019, 06:39 PM

Just got back from a place we'd never been to before: Porto, Portugal

Last edited Sun May 12, 2019, 04:13 AM - Edit history (1)

I have never had anything remotely work-related there before, so this was a first for me and my wife, who, fortunately, decided to tag along. It's a 2 hour 40 minute flight from here, so it's not some quick jaunt you do on a moment's notice.

We got there in the evening in the middle of a fog so thick, the pilot had to land on instruments. The taxi ride into town was not much better, and we saw nothing of the town or the area. On Friday, I had my work stuff to do, and my wife went exploring. Today, our flight back to Germany wasn't until the evening, so we took the day to explore, and this time, the weather played along. 22° (low 70s Fahrenheit) and sunny.

Don't visit Porto if you don't have legs like a mountain goat. It's an old city on a steep hill that goes almost straight up and down. We had breakfast as a small café full of locals, and we found out why pretty quickly. We had a croissant that was honey-glazed (with honey, not sugar) and a thick, warm, eggy interior. It was so hot, it can't have been out of the oven for more than ten minutes. I had a lemon tea that was more lemon than tea, and tasted fabulous, and we both had fruit salads where everything was fresh.

We then went looking for a local sausage for our neighbor, who likes that kind of thing (I don't eat sausage). They also has had bread and cheese, and an English-speaking local couple spoke to us and asked if we understood English (my wife and I always speak German to each other). They both work for American companies (one was Oracle, I forget the other). They said we were in the right place. The shop was so old,their grandparents had shopped there from the grandparents of the current shop owners (!!). We tried some thick black rye bread that had the consistency of a thick brownie. Then some spicy sheep's cheese, which we also sampled and took home a slice. Then I saw an ice cream place I just HAD to try, and they had some tangerine sherbet that was worth the price of the plane ticket.

For lunch, my wife wanted to return to a little "hole in the wall" she had found the day before. We had a typical Portuguese dish that she had discovered on her own there. It was small pieces of cod, baked, with thin rectangles of tan bread and an over-easy egg in a bowl. Then the server returned with the broth to pour over it, which was a light broth heavy with coriander. The perfect lunch, and the main course was €7.50, or not even $9! We got seats outside next to a wall overlooking the Douro, the river that leads out to the sea from the city, and the only off part is that we had to shoo away curious (or lazy) seagulls that flew up to perch about three inches from our food, hoping for a handout. Further on down the wall, some woman was trying to do Karaoke, singing Brazilian sambas, but she couldn't hit the notes right, and few things are more painful to listen to than Mais que Nada, Agua de Beber or The Girl From Ipanema when sung off key. Astrud Gilberto she was NOT!

Porto has dozens of old buildings with their porcelain/mosaic façades, some beautifully restored, some not. They make no bones about being saved by EU money, and my wife said she didn't mind her taxes going into restoring beautiful cities, as long as the money didn't flow into the pockets of corrupt state employees (as something like 85% of it does in places like Romania and Bulgaria). You can certainly tell that Portugal would have probably sunk into third world status without the EU. THIS is what the EU was meant for, not limousine-riding bureaucrats in Brussels and Strasbourg living it up and drawing tax-free €10,000 monthly pensions from our taxes. In Porto, they actually are doing something for themselves. I wouldn't want to live there now, but I perfectly understand why many from northern Europe like retiring to the region. The cost of living is quite cheap, the food is good (if you stay away from the tourist places!!), and there is a LOT of old culture that has left some impressive monuments. Portugal may be a poor country now, but 500 years ago, it was the center of a booming empire that spanned the globe, with Brazil, Angola, Goa, Macao, etc. Some vestiges do remain.

By the way, my wife forgot her pin code for her phone, and I didn't take a camera, so no pictures, sorry! Just look up Porto, Portugal. I'll bet there are more pictures than you could look at in a week.

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Reply Just got back from a place we'd never been to before: Porto, Portugal (Original post)
DFW May 11 OP
dhol82 May 11 #1
Hamlette May 11 #4
dhol82 May 11 #6
GeoWilliam750 May 11 #7
DFW May 12 #10
pangaia May 11 #2
mountain grammy May 11 #3
defacto7 May 11 #5
GeoWilliam750 May 11 #8
DFW May 12 #9
Lars39 May 12 #11
DFW May 12 #12
Lars39 May 12 #13
CaliforniaPeggy May 12 #14
DFW May 12 #15
CaliforniaPeggy May 12 #16
DFW May 12 #17

Response to DFW (Original post)

Sat May 11, 2019, 07:49 PM

1. This is now on my list

Visited in the Lisbon area a number of years ago and loved it!
Portugal has a lot going for it.

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Response to dhol82 (Reply #1)

Sat May 11, 2019, 08:45 PM

4. I want to go see this bookstore

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Response to Hamlette (Reply #4)

Sat May 11, 2019, 09:37 PM

6. Looks like a wonderful grape slurpee concoction



Seriously, awesome place to visit!

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Response to Hamlette (Reply #4)

Sat May 11, 2019, 09:59 PM

7. Next time in Portugal, I am going to see this place!

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Response to Hamlette (Reply #4)

Sun May 12, 2019, 04:13 AM

10. There were postcards with those pictures everywhere

But we never saw the store. My wife said she had been told about it, but it was not in the center of town, and it was not clear how to get there conveniently.

Next time?

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Sat May 11, 2019, 07:52 PM

2. SOunds like a wonderfuly time m a beautofuil place.


I have never been there, but have been 2x to Marvao, to the International Music Festival in late July.
Stunning old medieval village.

Portugal is a special place, for sure...

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Sat May 11, 2019, 08:42 PM

3. Thank you, DFW. sounds wonderful.

And thanks for the reminder on the EU.

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Sat May 11, 2019, 09:22 PM

5. I've never been to Portugal but it sounds wonderful.

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Sat May 11, 2019, 10:02 PM

8. Next time, go upriver

It is beautiful up in the vineyards, and staying at one of the Quintas is nice.

And the egg tarts are SOOOO good.

But as you say, it helps to have legs like a mountain goat.

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Response to GeoWilliam750 (Reply #8)

Sun May 12, 2019, 04:09 AM

9. Today, I'm feeling the effects of yesterday.

There may be a few fingers and toes that are NOT sore.

If I have the same reason to go next year (not impossible), I will stay an extra day if I can, and look into an upriver trip. The only reason I planned the trip as a two day trip this time is that there are only two days a week when there are nonstop flights from Porto to Düsseldorf, and that is Thursdays and Saturdays (I'm pretty sure Crosby, Stills and Nash had nothing to do with it). So we flew down on Thursday and home last night. Any other day would have involved changing planes somewhere.

Being in mid-May, this is NOT a convenient time of year for me, and I really couldn't spare the days off. But sometimes, you just have to just say to hell with the real world. When my wife said she would come with me, I just said, "I'm doing this," so we did.

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Sun May 12, 2019, 11:32 AM

11. First day of Fifth grade with Miz Lashlee.

She showed slides of her summer vacation in Portugal. I remember beautiful fountains and gorgeous old buildings. It was like a National Geographic come to life until I noticed that almost every photo had a little blue-haired lady in it. It was always either her or her sister and I couldn’t tell them apart! Thanks for jogging that memory, DFW.

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Response to Lars39 (Reply #11)

Sun May 12, 2019, 11:35 AM

12. Ah, yes, good old Miz Lashlee! She and I went to different schools together....

Now you know the REAL reason we didn't take pictures. We couldn't find any little blue-haired ladies to pose for us!

Busted!

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Response to DFW (Reply #12)

Sun May 12, 2019, 12:02 PM

13. Lol

Thinking back, the Misses Lashlees were pretty adventurous, given the times and their ages.
I don’t think they went with a tour group either. “Blue Steel”

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Sun May 12, 2019, 01:08 PM

14. What a great getaway for you both, my dear DFW!

I know you had a great time and I loved hearing about the food, yum!

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #14)

Sun May 12, 2019, 01:14 PM

15. Apparently I made one major error

At one shop, they had local artesanal productions of sheep cheese and goat cheese. Our neighbors are big gourmet fans, too, so we gave them the goat cheese when we got back last night. This morning, they were raving about how good it was. I think we gave them the wrong one!

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Response to DFW (Reply #15)

Sun May 12, 2019, 01:21 PM

16. If you don't tell them, they'll never know!





Check your PM in a moment.......

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #16)

Sun May 12, 2019, 02:13 PM

17. They told US

I gave them the best one!

**PM seen and answered. à très bientôt?

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