Where We Be
Porto, Portugal
During our transit day to Lisbon and Sintra we
made time for a short visit to Porto. This is
Portugal's second largest city, and doubtless
deserving of more time, but even a few hours
is enough to appreciate its historic riverfront
area. From Sao Bento train station -- a historic
site in its own right -- we walked down, down,
down to the Douro River. Upon reaching the
riverfront we walked along the restaurant-rich,
tourist-friendly Cais da Ribeira and got our first
view of the Ponte de D. Luis Bridge -- an iconic
symbol of Porto. The whole area near the river
is the beating heart of Porto, and it’s the one
thing we really wanted to see during our visit.

Crossing the lower tier of the bridge to the far
side of the river, we walked along the Cais de
Gaia to Sandeman’s bodega – one of the best
known of Portugal’s port cellars. Here we had
time to sample a tawny port and a white port for
€3 each, along with some fresh bread and olive
tapenade. Sipping a port in Porto just seemed
like the right thing to do.
Porto is the home of port wine and has a thriving riverfront area.
A quick visit was all we had time for but we enjoyed every minute.
An hour-long train ride from Guimaraes brought us to Porto's
Sao Bento Station -- a lovely station with blue tiled panels
As you can see, the train station is a tourist site in its own right!
The station's tile (azulejo) panels
depict scenes of the history of Portugal
There are some 20,000 tiles all told -- the work of Jorge Colaço, the most
important azulejo painter of the time. The station was inaugurated in 1916.
Sao Bento is not only beautiful but also convenient, being located right in the center of the city.
We stowed our bags in a luggage locker and took off for two or three hours of sightseeing.
Stepping out of Sao Bento Station, we got
our first look around at the city proper
Just north of the station is the Church of Santo Antonio dos
Congregados, attractively decorated with blue and white tiles
We headed away from the church (south),
walking downhill towards the Douro River
Eventually we reached the riverfront and walked along the
Cais da Ribeira for our first view of the Ponte de D. Luis Bridge
Climbing up to the bridge's lower tier, we got a
good view of people happily dining along the riverfront
As we crossed the lower tier of the bridge,
the views of Porto just got better and better
We can see why so many people fall in love with Porto,
with its old town clinging to the hillside above the riverfront
This is the view of the iconic bridge
from the far side of the river
We walked a short distance along the Cais de Gaia to Sandeman’s – one of the best known of Portugal’s
port cellars, or bodegas. Here we had time to sample a tawny port and a white port for €3 each.
For centuries these traditional Portuguese "Rabelo" boats
carried port wine from the Douro Valley to Porto cellars
Sandeman's offers great views looking back
across the river at the city's historic center
We recrossed the bridge and climbed steep stairs up, up, up
to the top tier for a few more fabulous photos of Porto
We were on a short timeline this trip, but we'd love to come back
and stay a few nights in Porto -- preferably along the riverfront
Clérigos bell tower is one
of the city's landmarks