Portugal: Porto


Who knew that Porto, Portugal was all about Port Wine? Silly me. I thought it was all about the fact that it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
So, just what is a UNESCO World heritage site, anyway? 
  1. UNESCO World Heritage Site
  2. A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as being of special cultural or physical significance.
  3. The programme catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund.

OK, back to Port wine...
Our "Welcome Port" at our AirBnB
It  was lovely. And memories of sipping Port with my dear Uncle Andy came rushing back with that first drop on my tongue. 
Auto-shot vending machine for tasting Port
When in Porto, make time to visit one (or two) of the Port Wine Distilleries. They close around 6pm.
We visted Burmester and Sandeman. They offer tours in different languages throughout the day. Most are located along the Douro River. We walked across the bridge to get there. No big whup.
photo credit:http://catavino.net/bodega-profile-the-house-of-sandeman-doc-douro/
Another "must" is The Majestic Cafe. 
Circa 1921, the Majestic's Art Nouveau decor is a perfect accompaniment for the glass of White Sangria you will order when you get here. Trust me on this one. It will change your life.  Oh, and the food is pretty good too - not to mention the outstanding sevice. Yes, tourists abound here but so do the locals and it's not to be missed.

Any Harry Potter freaks out there? I thought so. I understand the the author of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling lived in Porto in the early 90's and was inspired by this bookstore. For those of you who are 'into' Harry Potter, you get it. 

For the rest of us out there, we are fascinated by its architectural beaurty. 
Livraria Lello.
Porto's public transportation system is OK. A city built on a hill, there are buses, trolleys and and Metro system. We didn't use it much as Porto highly walkable.  We hailed a cab when we arrived from the train station though as it's less of a hassle when you have luggage.

If you get the chance, take the Trolley 'Linea 1' to Foz. It's a beach community with great little restaurants, spectacular views of crashing waves and working fishermen.
Lunch in Foz. It was fabulous. Really.
Bottom line? If you get a chance to visit Porto? Do it. It's a 3 hr train trip from Lisbon and you won't regret it. You can reserve your train tickets online. I've used RailEurope.com and have not been disappointed.

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