Tue 27 Oct - Porto R&R Day 2

Rain, rain and more rain. 

It seemed like it had been raining all night and today's weather forecast was no better. 

However, the weather turned better than I expected. Sure, Porto is a serious contender to Melbourne for "Four seasons in one day". Between sunshine and warm weather, there were numerous downpours. Not drizzle, serious rain. 

Despite the occasional but very regular rain, I did an over 6 hours walk to some of Porto's major tourist attractions.  

First, and also last, Mercado do Bolháo, the old public market. It's housed in a huge building that covers a whole city block. 
This is how the markets look from the inside once you walk through the gates. One central courtyard and two storeys on the perimeters. 

Sadly, Mercado do Bolháo had seen much better times. A great part of the building was propped up and vacant. 

There was some work happening and what looked like a construction / project office but not to any serious extent from what I could see. 
There were plenty of fruits and vegetables for sale. This bloke looked a bit overwhelmed with choice. 
I particularly liked this vendor. All my favorite goodies were there. Chili, garlic, onions, shallots... What's not to like about that?
Olives. Clearly a Portuguese as well as a Spanish favorite.  
I could not resist this. Portuguese egg tarts, called natas, for 50 cents each. I bought two of them and had them later with a coffee. Yum. 
Pão aka pan in Spanish aka bread in English. 8 cents a piece. That would not break any bank. 
I just had to include this pic from the fish and seafood section of Mercado do Bolháo. Yes, it is a long and slimy octupus. Or maybe more than one. Cute, hey?
After leaving Mercado do Bolháo, where I also encountered today's first downpour, I stumbled onto the Porto street cars. 

There appear to be two different street car routes although the two street cars below ran the same route.  
Next tourist attraction as recommended by Eugejia yesterday was to spend 3€ and climb the Torre Dos Clérigos, the Clergymens tower. Will do. 
As you can see, at this time I was very lucky with the weather. Great views in all directions as Torre Dos Clérigos is also on a hill. 

View south across Rio Douro towards that other town Vila Nova da Gaia. 
Porto's Cathedral on this side and the old monastery on the other side of Rio Duoro.   
Warning. A couple of selfies from up on Torre Dos Clérigos are coming up, with me grinning. 

Looking east along Rua Clérigos, a highly appropriate name. 
Looking down at those olive trees with the shopping center underneath from yesterday's blog. 

The skinny white building in the middle of the left block is the Livraria Lello, the bookshop also mentioned in yesterday's blog. And where I will go next. 
A narrow walkway around the tower just underneath the bell. 
Yes, Livraria Lello was next. You first buy a ticket to gain entry to the bookshop. Then this. Yes indeed, you queue. 
Inside Livraria Lello looking out. 
So, was it worth the trouble, wait or even the money? Nah. If you are a Harry Potter fan perhaps. Which I am not. I think that the staircase featured in one or more movies. And also that JK Rowling used to hang here. 
A selfie with that staircase. 
There are obviously 2 stories given the staircase and here we are, obviously, looking down. 
The staircase is amazing though. From here it looked like an upside down bridge over one of the Venice canals. 
And from this angle the staircase is just beautiful. 
Moving right along and after a coffee with those lovely Portugese egg tarts, I wandered down towards Rio Douro. I stumbled onto this vantage point which according to the sign had "access allowed to tourists". 

Pity if you're a local. The site looked very much like a dumping ground for rubbish, for drinkers and possibly homeless people. Must all be tourists then. 
I zig zagged my way down towards the river...
...and away from the touristy area underneath Ponte Luis I. A local man got all the birds fired up by pouring crumbs onto the stone wall. 
I wandered west along Rio Douro. A few photos of interesting buildings along the way. 
What's left of this building is seriously propped up. Looks like a public hazard to me. 
I slowly took myself to the next tourist attraction, Palácio de Cristal, the Crystal Palace and Jardins de Palácio de Cristal, its gardens. The gardens were nice...
...with great views here to the west with the Atlantic Ocean there in the distance, but...
...The Crystal Palace is no more. This sports stadium from quite some time ago is there in its place. Quite a deceiving name I would say. 
Soon thereafter, as I wandered back towards the hotel, looking for a late lunch as time approached 2.30pm, there was another downpour. 

I didn't know whether the Mercado do Bolháo would still be open, or more to the point, whether the lunch places I saw there in the morning would be open. 

I couldn't be more wrong. These lunch places were buzzing. I took this photo as I left and many of the diners had also left by then. 
This was the menu and it was not just the  menu for tourists. From what I could see, everybody got it. 
My choice for the day. Bacalhau grelhado. Which translates to grilled cod. Fried salty cod would be more correct. 
The price was right. 5€. Although with a beer and bread / pão, the total added up to 9€. While the Spanish never charged for bread, the Portuguese do. 

Superbock is a Portuguese beer since 1927. It is clearly modeled on German and Dutch lagers and seems very popular here. I found it OK but it will not become a favorite. 
As I finished my late lunch some time after 3pm, I slowly wandered back to Hotel Seculo (which means century by the way) and my hotel room. 

I had walked a lot today, my guess would be up to 15km, so I thought that a siesta would be in order. Nice it was. 

The weather forecast for the evening and overnight and tomorrow was grim. Yep you guessed it, more rain. 

During a stint of temporary sunshine again, I decided to walk up the street to the local supermarket. I wanted to get provisions for the next couple of days and also for my train trip to Tunes on Thursday. 

There is a small park up the road called Jardim de Marquês de Pombal. The local metro station called Marques is underneath the park. 
It didn't take a lot of time after I arrived back at the hotel with my shopping before the rain started again. 

That's it. Crackers, cheese and beer in the hotel room for dinner. I don't particularly fancy getting drenched again. 

No comments:

Post a Comment