Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm the great pretender tourist

I had decided to play the tourist in the city of Porto (Oporto). I had planned to travel by train and then walk around Porto for a few hours, soaking up the atmosphere and taking photos.

Then last night we had a summer storm. To make things worse, I heard there'd be no trains due to a strike, so I thought I'd have to postpone the trip.

Well, this morning it was sunny. I gathered up all my courage and drove into Porto with my smallest dog in tow. 

Lots of things have changed since I moved to the Algarve so I was expecting to get lost at some point. That probability rose sharply because I left my map at home! However, sometimes things work out really well despite us messing up. Just as I turned into a narrow street realising I was lost, I found a space right at this door and parked the car.
Oporto British Club
Oporto British Club

I got out, got C. on the leash and then asked a passer-by the name of the street (so I'd know where I'd left the car). I was at "Jardim das Virtudes" (Garden of the Virtues), a lovely shady place with a view of the Douro River. I took it as a good omen.
Rooftops and Douro River
View of the Douro River
I had seen the "Torre dos Clérigos" (Clerigos Tower) a few minutes before I had parked, so I started walking, hoping to find it, which I did.
Clerigos Tower in Oporto
Clerigos Tower
 These are some of the sights I saw on my tour:

Carmo and Carmelitas Churches in Oporto
Carmo Church (left) and Carmelitas Church (right)

Tiled facade of Carmelitas Church in Oporto
Carmelitas Church - tiled facade

Lion Fountain in Oporto
Lion Fountain

Lello Bookshop in Oporto
Lello Bookshop

Clerigos Street in Oporto
Rua dos Clérigos

Eventually I found myself walking down "Rua dos Clérigos" to the centre - "Avenida dos Aliados". From there I made my way to the train station and then I retraced my steps, stopping only for coffee and cake.

But I cannot put everything in this post or it will take forever. Suffice to say that my excursion exceeded all my expectations!


  1. Did you drive from the Algarve to Porto? How long did it take.
    Is the station far from the centre?
    We are really looking forward to visiting Porto - loved the look of the church with the tiled facade!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hi, I drove from the Algarve to my parents' house near Espinho (about 20km south of Porto) - it took me 5.5 hours, getting on the motorway at Grândola. Oporto train station is right bang in the middle of the historic centre so it's very convienient (trains aren't on strike usually). I'm doing a series of posts on my experience. Keep reading.

      (Note: I removed my previous comment because of the typos it had.)

  3. love the intricate architecture

  4. The tile façade of Carmelitas is beyond anything that could be built today!
    This post gave me a great introduction to the architecture and beauty of Oporto. I've never been off the north American continent so I'm always struck by the prominence of fountains in European cities. Such a nice feature!


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