There are few level streets in Oporto, which makes a simple walk a mini-workout. An added challenge is the wavy cobblestone surface.
Love the distance caught in the photo – down the river & out to the ocean.
Looking east along the north bank. Note the funicular track on the left.
I didn’t catch the funicular in action, so borrowed this internet image. CRAZY accordion bottom!
Well, there might have been a café here at one time. There are a fair amount of homes in disrepair and unoccupied. A discussion with a local couple revealed this is changing with the recent implementation of a property tax. This is making it more ‘painful’ for owners to leave homes vacant, and a renovation boom is happening.
Creative way to ‘pretty up’ an otherwise pretty ugly sight.
Tile work is every where, but usually just as an accent. This is an unusual over-all design.
Mid-century art work at the entrance of the café where we had our Little Frenchie.
Sad story here. This sculpture commemorates a 1947 tragedy when 3 returning fishing boats were caught in a change of weather. Within sight of the shore, families watched as 152 perished, resulting in 72 widows and 152 orphans. There were men and women on the boats. The story was relayed to us by our waitress in a café just up the street. Her Grandfather was one of the fatalities. – Laura
Truly, our experience has been that the people of Oporto are delightful.
This jeweler made a sale of a souvineer for Laura. It was originally his grandfather’s shop, his name overhead on the plaque. Unique to Portugal is silver filigree jewelry. It is very popular and reasonably priced (I think), considering it’s handmade.
Close up examples of silver filigree. This particular earring design is by far the most popular.
This mother-to-be gave up a career in banking (stints in London and Hong Kong) for the slower life of her hometown. She owns this vintage shop with some rare 60’s and 70’s items, among other things. One will find unique little shops on many smaller back streets. Odd for us were the number of shops that have only Portuguese-made items, clothing stores included.
This is a typical produce market. The sign suggests it’s been there a while.
Sold! Dave bought a small hand-made souvenir.
A game of giant checkers in the park. Or many just a place to sit while I finish my ice cream cone 🙂 Laura
Peaceful, but noisy, the Portuguese don’t shy from protests. No photos, but walking home Sunday evening we ran into an arena emptying out from a political rally.
The older crowd below was protesting in front of a bank.
Couldn’t identify the cause of this young group banging on make-shift drums and blowing air-horns. Maybe they’re just in training.
Oporto is a city of college students, and a tradition of the University of Porto is the wearing of black every day. The uniform is called traje, and while it is not mandatory, there are some academic activities that require it. Originally women wore a pink dress but currently the men’s and women’s uniforms are similar, except that women wear a skirt. We’ve had some warm days, but they’re still covered head to toe in black, with a large cape-like blanket over their shoulder. They were the inspiration for J. K. Rowling’s design of the Hogwarts students clothes, as she lived in Portugal when she started to write the first book. Below is a group in pep-rally mode, with an example of the traje being worn by the 3 on the far left.
You KNOW these ladies know what’s going on in the neighborhood – they have the perfect perch to keep an eye out, and catch up. You can just feel the ‘community”.
Yes, there is a lot of public making out. And yes, it was weird to take their photo! – Laura
A short walk north of our place is an enormous 45 acre roundabout park. In it’s center is this memorial – the Praça de Mousinho de Albuquerque. The park roughly separates the new and old parts of town and is the largest in Porto. It is dedicated to the heroes of the Peninsular War (1808-1814), with the following symbolism: the Lion, representing the alliance of Portuguese and British forces, smashes the Eagle, symbolic of the invading French troops.
Had a short conversation with this gentleman, the original owner of this 40-something year old car – super mint condition. He was proud of it, for sure. He’s a writer who’s spent some time in Germany, and he had a photo of himself probably also 40 years ago. Same hair, just different color. Laura
Countries, regions and even cities have food specialties. Port has their own sandwich called the Francesinha, which means Little Frenchie in Portuguese. It’s made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguica (a smoked sausage), fresh sausage, steak or roast meat. It’s covered with melted cheese and a hot tomato and beer sauce. Served with fries, and optionally with a fried egg on top, it’s between 850 & 1100 calories without the fries. We were told as bad as it is for you, we needed to try it – it’s that good. When we ordered our obligitaory Francesinha, Dave asked for a glass of red wine. Our waitress noted, ‘Oh no, you must drink beer with the Francesinha.” Beer it was, I think his first of the trip. Though the sauce is tomato based, it struck me more like a gravy. We split the order and had a salad as well, as if that would negate the calories. Some places put the fries under the sandwich. Glad we tried it – it was good – but wouldn’t (couldn’t!) make a habit of it. – Laura